Migrating to Office 365 can be a major undertaking for most companies, involving months of preparation, roadmap planning, mitigating issues in current on-premises infrastructure, and the execution of the actual migration activities. For IT admins taking this on for the first time, there is a steep learning curve. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you on your way.

1. Face The Realities Of Migrating To Office 365

Any organization with established business processes, current on-premises infrastructure, and historical data under management faces a significant planning exercise in evaluating the shift to Office 365, along with a set of discrete tasks in actually doing so. There are numerous critical decisions to make while planning the shift to Office 365—including how to achieve value from doing so, the approach to take, whether to involve an external consultancy, and the selection of third-party migration tools.

2. Set up for how you will use Office 365

Office 365 provides an array of capabilities for enabling communication, collaboration, and compliance for organizations. An early task to complete in evaluating the shift to Office 365 is how your organization will make use of the capabilities on offer.

3. Procure the Office 365 plan that makes sense for your organization

Microsoft offers a number of plans for Office 365, with increasing levels of capability and service coverage. An organization that wants to use a hybrid configuration between on-premises servers and Office 365 must select a plan that supports Azure Active Directory to enable administration tasks and seamless identity management between the two environments.

4. Complete pre-migration checks and develop a migration plan

Delivering a seamless migration to Office 365 is pretty straight-forward once all the thinking work is done. As Microsoft says, most organizations will have to spend a lot more time planning their migration than actually putting it into practice. Here are the tasks to work through in checking your current environment and developing a plan for migrating to Office 365.

5. Migrate to Office 365

Migrating to Office 365 is usually done across several phases, with organizations frequently shifting user mailboxes to Exchange Online first, then migrating other aspects of Exchange, and finally looking at the other capabilities on offer.

6. Drive effective use and achieve business value

Once you have migrated to Office 365, the ongoing challenge is to drive effective use and achieve business value through incorporating appropriate Office 365 capabilities into day-to-day work.

Of course, this brief summary isn’t enough to carry you through your migration. However, the Osterman Research-based analyst report presents a step-by-step guide for shifting to Office 365 to ensure a smooth migration for business, download Migrating to Office 365: A Step-by-Step Guide.