What is involved with an Office 365 migration ?

By • March 10th 2016

Whilst every Microsoft Office 365 migration has its own unique aspects, there are some fundamentals which are common throughout.

With each of the many migrations we have carried out for our business clients in Birmingham and the Midlands area, we always start with a thorough fact finding stage; it is vital to understand the types and number of mailboxes; we also need to know about any alias email addresses; any groups/ distribution lists; and much more. With this information, we then compose a Project plan to guide us at Synium through the migration.

1. Set up the Microsoft Office 365 entity for the customer.

As a Microsoft Partner, we can get this set up very easily. Once this is setup, it creates a 30 day trial period for the customer – so at this stage, there is no need for any payment.

2. Decide on the Type of Microsoft Office 365 license the client requires

There are several types of Microsoft Office license, but fundamentally there are 2 which most clients go for: Office 365 Business Essentials – which is an Email-only solution (plus Calendars, Contacts and Tasks) or the Office 365 Business Premium which also includes the latest version of Microsoft Office suite of applications for each user to be able to download and install. You can read more about the different types of license here on the Microsoft website.

3. Create the Mailboxes, aliases, and groups.

We take the information gathered from our fact finding to then create the individual user mailboxes – along with an additional (alias) email addresses – we also setup the group email addresses (Distribution Lists) – and also any Shared Mailboxes.

4. Modify the DNS to amend the MX record.

The MX (Mail Exchange) record within the DNS (Domain Name System) is what tells the world where your Email server is. Once we make this change, the world will then know your new email server is on the Microsoft Office 365 system. This process can take up to 48 hours for the changes to propagate around the world – although in our experience it usually only takes a couple of hours, but because of the uncertainty, we usually like to schedule this change for late in the day, so there is a good change the process is complete by the morning.

5. Migrate the mailboxes

This is the stage that really takes the time. Depending on the size of the mailbox, and depending on the speed of the internet connection. This stage is often done prior to the MX record change, so that the user’s email is already ‘uploaded’ to the Microsoft Office 365 servers. We can either do this stage manually (ie on a mailbox by mailbox method) – or we can automate it with various tools we have available. This whole process is often a good chance for people to review what emails they have in their mailbox – and to have a bit of a clearout. By reducing the size of the mailbox (inc Sent items, Deleted items etc) this can greatly speed up this migration process.

6. Configure the Outlook client (or other email client)

Depending on what version of Outlook is being used, this stage could include upgrading Outlook, and/or installing service packs. We then configure Outlook to point to the new email servers, and the user then has access to all their email, calendars, contacts and tasks.

You can read more about some of our Microsoft Office 365 migrations we have done for business and education clients here.

Microsoft Office 365 for Small Business in Midlands



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