Office 365: 4-step migration process

by Nick Volpe

Last time, I discussed the benefits of implementing Office 365 in your organization. In this article, I will explain the migration process to Office 365 from various mail system types.

Step 1: Planning and Scheduling

To have a successful migration, we need planning and a timeline. This is not typically something that can happen in 1 day. It takes a few days of planning and strategy. Not all migrations are the same and some have personality. However, we can generally plan around unexpected or unique cases.

To start, we will figure out exactly how many mailboxes need to be moved over. Then, we’ll get an idea of what devices need to be setup for email to calculate how much time the process will take. Exchange migrations are simplest. POP/IMAP migrations involve manually uploading through Outlook to the new account(s).

Step 2: Making Domain/DNS Changes

Once we have the timing figured out, we’ll login to the domain name registrar or DNS host to make the needed changes and “flip the switch” so to speak. This will start routing emails to Office 365 instead of your old mail system. The internet propagation takes a bit of time so we then typically wait a few hours. This is the quickest part of the process but is the most crucial.

Step 3: Migrate Emails

Coming from Exchange, we would have already begun this step in tandem with Step 2 but typically we would do a final push of data to the new service.  Coming from other mail systems, we would at this point, login to your computers and upload email data to Office 365 manually. This step also involves various tweaks so you don’t notice the difference. This includes setting email signatures, auto-complete history in Outlook, and adjusting Outlook settings appropriately.

Step 4: Wrap Up

In the final step, we will work with the client to get mobile devices configured for the new system and work on any follow-up tasks.  We will also evaluate if there are any new features that can be implemented to increase productivity and convenience like shared calendars or cloud file storage with OneDrive.

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