In this series, we take a closer look at what it takes to support a successful Office 365 migration including the decisions, strategy, mobility, monitoring, and on-boarding aspects.

Part one of the series.

All you have to do is create an Office 365 tenant, synchronize active directory, migrate mail and sites, and you’re all set, right? Not exactly. People are often misinformed or uninformed about all the decisions required to implement this cloud solution.

Moving to the cloud using Office 365 is not a single decision. It actually requires a lot of decisions – most of which impact not only your IT staff, but your end users and budgets, too.

At Centric, we ask all of the questions required to help our clients successfully implement a cloud solution like Office 365. Below are the most common questions I ask clients to ensure complete understanding of the diverse topics and scale of required implementation efforts:

Which Office 365 Features will you Use?

Before moving to the cloud, it’s important to know what Office 365 features you need or want. Some of the available features include:


  • Office current version
  • Exchange
  • Skype
  • SharePoint
  • Mobile Device and Application Management
  • Information Retention and Management
  • Azure Active Directory
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • External Sharing
  • Sway
  • Rights Management
  • Outlook Groups

Is your Network Prepared?

Does your network have the capacity to migrate existing mailboxes and identities to the cloud while continuing day-to-day business without performance issues? Will that still be the case when users begin to synchronize their OneDrives, too?

Before you start migrating users, be certain your network is prepared by using Microsoft’s tools for Planning and Performance.

How will you Manage Identities?

In most cases, we’ve found that companies are synchronizing their on-premises Active Directory. But is that enough?

If users have to sign-in multiple times they will not use the solution. Be prepared because Standard Azure Active Directory may not provide all the features you need for identity and security management.

To federate with Office 365, you might need to use a third-party identity provider solution.

How will you Manage Mobile and Application Access?

We have also found that most of our clients cannot meet their company’s security requirements surrounding mobile device management using the default settings in Office 365. Look to Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite for enhanced mobile security features.

Who will you Support Office 365?

The most underestimated and under-planned-for category of decisions is around who will support what parts of the Office 365 platform.

Read the administration roles available at the platform level alone to get a better idea of this undertaking. Along with help desk, business analyst roles, developers and other subject matter experts, the support organization will require retraining or re-purposing of existing staff and possibly even new hires, which may prove difficult to find.

How will Users Learn?

Most companies discover the questions they forgot to answer when their users locate and begin to use features that no one planned. To avoid shadow training and hacks that users will find on their own, as well as the security of the company’s data, plan for training: not once, but continuously.

The Office 365 platform is more fluid than static, and changes realized by the support team can be passed on to the training team for circulation to users.

How will you Manage Change?

Because Office 365 is in a constant state of flux, you can expect quarterly platform updates as well as regular updates on additional features. That means it will be critical to rely on a governing body to manage the Office 365 Roadmap and administration console message center.

The purpose of a governance or steering committee is to review current policies and the need for new policies. The committee should meet on a regular basis and include stakeholders from IT and business departments. This is vital to the overall management of the platform – as well as user satisfaction.

More to Come

These questions are just a start. They are examples of the range of questions and topics you need to consider before you leap into the cloud.