Office365CloudAccessibility, flexibility and resource efficiency are critical elements for success in any business, large or small.

Hardly surprising then that these are exactly the ingredients these businesses look for in the IT systems supporting their organizations.

One package claims to offer all this and more. Microsoft Office 365, a cloud based subscription service, provides easy access to all the usual MS programs, but also delivers the flexibility to use them even when users are away from their desks.

What is Office 365?

Office 365 operates in the cloud (an off-site file hosting service), in this case provided by Microsoft.

Office 365 is in plain English, Microsoft’s cloud version of good old Office. The difference is that with Office 365 files, you upload and synchronize them with something which up until recently was called Windows Skydrive but has now been renamed OneDrive (this is Microsoft’s cloud).

This cloud based repository means you can safely store and access files whenever and wherever you want to. Data security is enhanced and storage costs significantly reduced, so it’s basically an IT no-brainer!

Office 365 functionality

But before you start thinking that this is just a file storage system, do not despair – Office 365 offers so much more.

Nowadays, most businesses need to be able to operate on the move. Long gone are the days of ‘finding out more back at the office and taking it from there.’ Making business work while away from the office is dependent on having information at your fingertips and being able to communicate with whoever is necessary to get decisions made.

Office 365 means you can keep using all the MS programs you need – Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Excel etc. – wherever you need them.

Office 365 also delivers the added bonus of supporting online collaboration, by facilitating real-time co-authoring across all the office products. This file sharing means you can exchange information with co-workers and managers without the administrative burden of having to keep everyone formally in the loop.

Office 365 migration

So when the decision is made to press ahead with Office 365 migration, what is actually involved and what is the best way of managing the transition?

Depending on the size of your business, the complexity of your IT infrastructure and your familiarity with existing systems, you can either go it alone or engage a professional to lead your Office 365 migration project.

The most important element is to plan what you are going to do well in advance of the actual migration. Like any project, if you fail to plan you are planning to fail. So once you have given the project the green light, devise a strategy to meet the needs of your organization, containing the following elements:

  1. Complete a pre-migration clean up – Review users, mailboxes, public folders etc. and decide which should be disabled, deleted or archived. De-clutter with a thorough data audit and also undertake a health check of the active directory. Identify what content really needs to be moved to the new system and be ruthless – the less you decide to move the easier the process will be.
  2. Build a business specific brief – Look at how Office 365 operates and identify any red flags for your particular business, such as regulatory or compliance issues. Find out if you have existing license agreements in place as you may be able to take advantage of discounts on Office 365 implementation costs. Conduct a skills analysis of your workforce and assess the need for additional support for the transition.

The end game


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What you want to achieve is a system which will increase accessibility, encourage collaboration and enhance productivity, and Microsoft Office 365 can be all these things – but only if it’s implementation is managed correctly.

So if you want to benefit from the many advantages of this service, with minimal disruption to your day to day operations, then the best advice is to get a professional on board. They will have sailed through the waves of Office 365 migration before and can navigate your organization through potentially choppy waters into the calm sea of cloud based success!

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