This blog article describes the different types of Office 365 migration consulting services you can use for your email migration project. O365 Consulting services are available in many different forms, and it is important you select the right type to fit your Office 365 email migration project.
As an expert email migration consultant, my views are independent. I have worked on a range of O365 email migration projects – from 10 mailboxes, right up to 40,000 mailboxes. There is no “one size fits all” solution to selecting the right consulting services for your email migration.
This article is aimed at giving you an overview of the typical choices available. I am happy to discuss more details of your O365 migration project, to select the right choice.
Outsource Entire O365 Migration Project to IT Vendor
You can decide to outsource the entire project. Use your favourite IT vendor to run everything. If you are 5,000 mailboxes, then this will likely involve a whole project team being used. You will get a Project Manager, Lead Consultant, Engineer, and others. The most expensive option here, in terms of resourcing. However, you get to off-load all the risk to the IT vendor, as they will be accountable for the whole email migration project delivery. Internally, you will still be responsible for change management, and user communications.
The IT vendor will have a clearly defined risk and scope for their work, as they will not want to be financially exposed by items out of their control.
Examples of dis-advantages of this approach are:
- Lack of involvement from your internal IT team can result in poor knowledge transfer, impacting effective operation support post-migration.
- Budget overrun can occur if internal business reasons cause the O365 email migration project to be delayed. The IT vendor may then charge you a project change control. The IT vendor is on a structured approach, and will not have flexibility to cope with unforeseen events out of their control.
Run O365 Migration Project Internally
You decide to run the project yourself. A project team is formed from internal resources. For technical skills you send key personnel on O365 migration training courses. The costs are lowest for this approach as no external O365 migration consulting is needed. However, the risk is that the project may not succeed due to lack of Office 365 migration experience. With email being a business critical application, it is unlikely you will get approval to run the whole project yourself – due to the business risk.
Your current platform may influence the selection of this option. Different email systems present unique email migration challenges. If you are doing an Exchange On-Premise migration to Office 365 via Hybrid, then Microsoft provide clear guidelines on how to achieve this – as well as support, and free tools. However, if you are migrating from a non-Microsoft platform (eg: Lotus Notes, GroupWise, Google GSuite), then the migration solution will be far more complex, and involve 3rd Party Tools.
Migrations off Domino to O365 are, in my opinion, the most complex. This is because of the differences in the two email platforms, and the changes involved for staff in transitioning from Lotus Notes to Outlook. Coexistence will also be required between Domino and O365, to provide mail flow, common address book, and calendar free busy. As an example, I worked on a Domino to Exchange migration project for a law enforcement agency (14,000 mailboxes), and this took over 12 months to complete.
Some 3rd Party Tools require professional services from the Vendor – this is a reflection on the complexity of the email migration process. For example, Quest Software and Binary Tree both recommend professional services from qualified email migration consultants to implement their Domino migration and coexistence tools.
An O365 migration project can still be run with internal staff, but using a 3rd Party to implement the email migration and coexistence tools.
Hire an O365 email migration consultant
For this option, you use a highly experienced Office 365 email migration consultant. They work alongside your internal IT team to deliver the entire email migration to Office 365. This allows you to benefit from their technical leadership and experience. Your internal IT resources will gain knowledge transfer to help with operation support, during, and post-migration. The cost of this option is far less than an IT vendor running the whole project, as you are paying for only one extra resource. Business risk is reduced as you have the services of an O365 migration expert to ensure you make the right decisions to succeed.
The Office 365 email migration consultant may be used for blocks of time over a longer duration. This allows your business to engage their services for longer, and have access to their experience to help guide you safely to Office 365.
Any type of email migration project has its own challenges. An experienced migration consultant will have encountered most of these challenges, and allow you to follow the best path for your business.
Multiple IT Vendors
Email migration projects can be run with multiple IT vendors. You may already employ an IT company to run your IT infrastructure, for example. Bringing in another IT company to run your email migration to O365 will result in a multi-vendor scenario. This type of project has a heavy management overhead, and can take longer to deliver. It offers the least flexibility if issues are encountered. Each IT vendor will have a defined scope of work, and email migration projects can overlap across these pre-defined scopes – leading to challenging management requirements!
This blog has provided an overview of the different types of O365 migration consulting services available. Migrating to Office 365 is a major undertaking, and I hope this helps you to decide on the best approach for your business. Please get in touch with myself, to discuss your email migration, and coexistence, project requirements further, and how I can help ensure you transition to Office 365 safely. This website has a wealth of free information on it – take the time to read through it.