Microsoft Office 365 has an impressive range of applications and user-friendly features available in the cloud. Aside from the popular desktop products like Word and Excel, companies can also enjoy integrations with other business applications like Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, and Exchange Server, just to name a few.
Recognizing the numerous benefits of building an Office 365-based IT environment, many organizations have jumped straight in at the deep end. However, it pays to plan your migration carefully to minimize company downtime and maximize productivity, especially if Office 365 is one of your first forays into cloud technology.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the top challenges facing businesses planning to make the move to Office 365 and how to overcome them:
Although Microsoft Office remains available as a one-time purchase, the Office 365 line of products are subscription-based. This provides the benefits of greater visibility into future costs, simplified scalability, and always having the most recent version of the software. Insofar as the classic desktop applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are concerned, nothing much changes, unless you opt for a package that only includes the browser-based versions of Office apps.
Business and Business Premium packages come with the most recent versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, PowerPoint and Access, but larger organizations generally choose an Enterprise plan, since those plans can support 300 or more users. However, smaller businesses operating in certain industries, such as law or finance, will also find Enterprise packages more appealing, since they offer additional features such as legal hold and advanced archiving.
Since high-profile data breaches and ransomware attacks are making headlines almost every week, cybersecurity has become a prerequisite for doing business in any industry. Furthermore, in spite of all the assurances in the world from cloud providers, it ultimately still falls to you to choose your technology partners carefully and ensure you’re protected by robust service-level agreements (SLAs).
Moving data from one application or database to Office 365 is usually the riskiest part of the migration process. There are lots of opportunities for something to go wrong, such as a data breach or accidental deletion of information. It’s important that you involve key stakeholders in both the migration planning and execution stages while also seeking expert guidance from your IT provider. A professional who understands your industry should also be able to advise you on whether to keep your systems in a private, public, or hybrid cloud platform.
If there’s one thing that can make or break any cloud migration, regardless of how airtight your plan is, it’s the quality of your internet connection. A poor internet connection can quickly lead to costly downtime and data loss, such as inaccessible accounts, data-synchronization errors, and unresponsive apps.
Although many Office 365 products, such as Exchange Online, can work without a top-of-the-line connection, you’ll need ample bandwidth to make maximum use out of services such as OneDrive, SharePoint, or Skype. For example, low internet speeds will result in long loading and data transfer times, while slow connections will make things like internet telephony impossible. The easiest way to overcome this challenge is to get the best internet service available in your area, preferably fiber-optic cable broadband.
Meeting security and compliance demands isn’t the only challenge when migrating large amounts of data over to a cloud-hosted infrastructure. You also need to ensure that everything stays intact and works well once it reaches its destination. Among the most commonly overlooked factors is that your old on-premises infrastructure will still need to be retained for some time, since it can take a while to ensure that everything has been properly wrapped up.
If you’re moving from an on-premise user database, for example, now would be a good time to clean up any inactive user accounts and obsolete data. Office 365 is usually hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform, so you can save a lot of time and money by cleaning house before making the move to Office 365. Again, a reliable cloud provider and Microsoft-certified technology partner should be able to take care of this for you.
Dyrand Systems helps businesses in Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby migrate to the cloud with Office 365 and enjoy the benefits of anytime, anywhere access, lower costs, and excellent scalability. Talk with our experts today to find out how.