Office 365 – don’t jump in without a strategyNovember 12th, 2015 by Open Reality
Now that Microsoft Office 365 is a viable working solution for business, more and more small and medium-sized enterprises are considering how to best implement it. There are many benefits to using Office 365 e.g. keeping up-to-date with versions of exchange, SharePoint, Lync etc., not to mention ease of management, reduction in hardware costs and better licensing plans. So to many businesses a migration to Office 365 is pretty much a no-brainer.
Of course there are also some concerns about moving applications and data from your local site into any cloud service; security for your users and your data, performance of the applications and a general acknowledgement that this is a change to strategy and that any change presents a risk which needs to be assessed.
At Open Reality our concern is that there is an assumption in many organisations that a migration to Office 365 “will just work” and that they don’t have to worry about what is realistically a complete change to the way in which their applications are delivered and the location of their critical working data. Going into an Office 365 migration without full consideration of the requirements for networking and performance is like building a house without a set of architect’s plans; it may well work but it’s unlikely to be what you expected.
Once an organisation is in Office 365 many issues manifest themselves to users; Outlook is slow to open messages, emails take twice as long to send, it takes forever to search for attachments that you wish to insert, the list could go on. Outlook performance problems are, depressingly, quite common both during and following migration with variable performance issues.
Of course the performance of any organisation’s Internet access can fluctuate during the course of a working day as demand changes, but the fundamental characteristics of bandwidth and latency will always remain the same. An analysis of the traffic to and from the file servers, the exchange server, and other dependent systems prior to a move to any cloud service can help an organisation plan for a successful migration. You may, for example, discover that actually you need to deploy a hybrid solution retaining the application and data locally as well as migrating into the Office 365 environment; which actually makes you wonder whether you need to migrate at all.
The solution to these potential pitfalls is to conduct a readiness assessment prior to migration which provides you with accurate performance metrics for your applications and network. This will allow you to plan a successful migration and design a working solution that gives you performance and keeps your users happy with their experience. A readiness assessment will also provide you with metrics which you can compare post migration so that you can truly see the performance that you are receiving and will inform you on how to solve further performance issues.
Find out about our readiness assessment from our sister company BrightCloud Technologies Ltd by clicking here.
Office 365 Support
And finally, don’t neglect support. Just because you’re moving your applications into a cloud model doesn’t mean they are going to support themselves. Many organisations still need a partner for the support and administration of cloud-based applications.
To find out more about the support we can offer you pre, during and post-migration click here.