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  • Guide to Effectively Migrate to Microsoft 365

    October 20, 2022

    Your IT setup underpins your success, which is why many small businesses are migrating to an ‘all in one’ platform like Microsoft 365. You want to make the most of your business tools as a small business. If you want your business to operate smoothly and productively, it’s vital to have the right resources available.

    Wherever your staff works – on-site, from home or both – maintaining a flexible working environment can make your team more effective. Employees can collaborate wherever they are. And your business can keeps operating no matter what. However, this isn’t the only benefit of using Microsoft 365. Read on to learn more about the advantages of switching to Microsoft 365 and how you can simplify the migration process…

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    Know Your Reasons and Starting Point

    Communication with your team about the reasons for the migration, and planning for it, builds buy-in. Some of the reasons we commonly hear are:

    • There are no longer suitable free email accounts available, so you have no choice but to change systems
    • Your email linked to your website isn’t cutting the mustard. Half your emails aren’t getting through to customers and suppliers
    • You’ve got too many systems running – it’s costing you a fortune, and data is getting lost
    • You’re growing and need systems that grow with you.

    Know what systems you use now before you start. That way, there won’t be any hidden surprises, and you’ll be able to increase productivity.

    As a small business owner, make sure you find out how your team uses their email, calendar, meeting and documentation tools. This understanding includes what devices they use and the size of their documents. And how they share and collaborate. Do your clients also need access, for example? Digging into how your staff operates will give you many insights and ideas. When you know the scope of your migration project, you can set realistic expectations for yourself and your team.

    Why Use An Integrated Platform

    If you are not sure whether you should make the transition to an integrated platform of business tools like Microsoft 365, here are three key aspects to consider:

    • data integration
    • data security
    • cost.

    Data integration

    Your organisation may have data scattered all over the place. This makes it challenging to find essential data when you need it. This becomes more challenging with the more data and contacts you have. 

    Your organisation’s data and communications are critical to operations. Having everything all in one platform, rather than piecemeal, makes the work day easier for everyone. And it makes it easier to integrate with other systems.  

    Migrating to Microsoft 365 allows you to integrate data on one platform. You are less likely to face capacity issues or storage limitations. Maintaining a server on the premises is a costly option. You will find storing your data in the cloud much more cost-effective.

    Data Security

    Data security is of the utmost concern for you as a small business owner. The cloud is one of the safest and most secure options you can find. The robustness of the Microsoft 365 platform provides confidence. 

    And it lets you and your team be more productive. Wherever your team is located, they can access email and data. You can work and collaborate from anywhere. With the benefit of whatever security level you decide, including two-factor authentication. When you are looking for ways to be more productive, an effective business tool is the key. 

    Cost

    At Tech Seek, we do lots of IT audits of small businesses. One of the most common things we see is the duplication of systems. For example, a company may store files in two or three different ways.

    Using one platform for everything often allows businesses to retire redundant systems. And then you can use extra funds to grow and improve your business.

    Why Choose Microsoft 365

    Often referred to as Office 365 (the old name), there’s a good chance that many of your employees will be familiar with at least some of the available apps, particularly Outlook, Word and Excel. It’s an ecosystem of tools all in one platform. Like Google Workspace, everything is stored in the cloud and includes:

    • email
    • calendars
    • documents, spreadsheets and presentations software
    • video conferencing
    • file management
    • team collaboration
    • and more….

    When staff feel comfortable and confident using a digital workspace, it minimises the risk of errors and ensures a stress-free transition. Microsoft 365 is used by more than a million companies worldwide. If you want to collaborate with external partners, clients or customers, sharing information via Sharepoint couldn’t be easier.

    With a wide range of apps available under the Microsoft brand, you’ll have easy access to Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Sharepoint even in the basic subscription. And there’s a generous amount of storage.

    Every business needs to be concerned about cybersecurity in today’s digital environment. Fortunately, migrating to Microsoft 365 means you’ll benefit from their in-built security, and user access management – like two-factor authentication and Single Sign On (SSO). There are also administrative controls for user accounts. Account administrators can configure each account to suit the needs of each person and type of team member. 

    You pay per user, so it’s easy to scale quickly as your company grows.

    If you’re unsure whether to choose Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, check out this comparison. At Tech Seek, we have lots of experience with both platforms and can help you work out what you need.

    Microsoft 365 implementation Sydney

    Preparing for the migration

    It’s a great idea to consult your team members to work out what they need. A simple technology checklist tailored for your team will do the job. That way, you’re less likely to miss anything important.

    A smart step for business owners is to lessen the shock of the changes on their employees. Don’t underestimate the impact of changes on your business operation. Busy people don’t like their workflow being interrupted. Think carefully about choosing the best time to migrate. Don’t do it in the middle of your busiest season!

    Draw up a simple project plan of what needs to be done, when and in what order. Ask your team if they can see any holes in the program. You’ll build buy-in and identify any critical issues you’ve missed.

    Encourage your team to try the tools to gain early buy-in. Microsoft provides a free trial for a generous number of users. That’s a great way to reduce the changeover shock and ensure a seamless transition. It will also decrease the amount of time the transition takes.

    A smooth transition requires the appropriate set-up of profiles and training for employees. You want to ensure they can find everything they need, such as calendars, email, and documents. This reduces any downtime your operating systems may incur. Make sure you have someone on call to help the team with any teething issues during the transition.

    Getting the Team On Board

    As with anything, you are going to face some challenges with migration projects. Believe it or not, your staff may be your most significant challenge. Most people do not like change. They like to stick with what they know, even if it is ineffective and time-consuming. Almost everyone is familiar with Microsoft software, so that could be an advantage.

    They may not want to learn a new application all over again, as they don’t want to disrupt the way they do things now. It may take time for them to see the value of your migration process, but they will. 

    It’s a great idea to get your team involved in the transition. An important reminder for yourself and your team is that this web-based solution will differ from what you are used to. You may need to develop new work processes that make sense in the new tool. What worked before in your legacy system may now be more streamlined, or just different, with a Microsoft 365 account. Don’t wait until after your migration is complete to begin thinking about the impact on your processes. 

    You can streamline your setup through clear and consistent communication. Your team wants to feel involved and that their opinions matter. You want everyone, including managers and IT services (if you have one), on board for your move to the new platform with zero downtime.

    Choosing the Right Microsoft 365 Business Plan

    As with online software, there are many choices that change over time. Rather than giving you details here, check out Microsoft 365 plans for business. There are options for solopreneurs up to the Business Enterprise level. And it’s possible to scale up between levels as you grow.

    The core applications are available at all levels –  email, video conferencing, file storage, calendars, spreadsheets, documents and presentations, with more features and add-ons at higher prices.

    It can be confusing working out precisely what you need for your team. If you’re unsure which Microsoft 365 plan best suits your business, you can speak to the Microsoft team or the team at TechSeek. Our experienced IT specialists can help you to identify your IT needs and determine which Microsoft plan is right for your business.

    Transitioning to Microsoft 365

    Migrating to a new digital working environment usually takes more time than you expect. Although Microsoft provides good support documentation, it can be tricky to identify the specific processes your organisation needs to follow. You should expect the unexpected because something will go differently than you thought it would.

    Think through how you will back up your existing data before you start and what contingency plans you need. Are you going to do it yourself or get support?

    While migration may feel like a significant job when you do it yourself, having an established process gives you peace of mind. Think about what technical support you have available before you begin your migration process. Then, you can have them on hand if you need them. 

    You’re an expert in your business, not IT projects. Every migration is a bit different. It depends on the type of data, the number of accounts and the apps you’re migrating. Many organisations prefer to outsource Microsoft 365 migration to IT professionals who can handle all aspects of the transition.

    Benefits of Professional Microsoft 365 Migration

    Transitioning from legacy platforms to flexible, modern IT solutions, like Microsoft 365, can be smooth when you have professional support. Using a professional Microsoft 365 migration service can be best for your business:

    • customised to your business needs
    • cost-effective
    • legacy co-existence
    • retain historical data.

    Customised To Your Business Needs

    IT migration services can get complicated. A professional IT consultant will understand your needs and create a plan that works best for your business. The migration will be completed with minimal disruption to your business. As a result, you’ll benefit from maximum uptime while the transition is ongoing.

    Cost-Effective

    When you get to the point where you are looking for an IT partner to help with your Microsoft 365 migration, it can be tempting to try and take on the project in-house. If you don’t have an in-house IT team this can mean that it takes longer than necessary to complete your migration. A dedicated team can help you transition much easier without unnecessary disruptions to your team’s time. This means that productivity levels won’t suffer, and the total migration cost is lower than tackling it inhouse.

    Business Continuity

    If you need to keep some of your existing software up and running, a professional migration service will ensure that current systems can coexist alongside Microsoft 365. Your team members should be able to continue doing their jobs, with minimal disruption.

    Retain Historical Data

    When you’re thinking about moving to a new online workspace, make sure it will give you access to your historical data. From old emails and messages, to archived contacts and files, with its generous storage limits, your Microsoft 365 migration can make historical data more easily accessible.

    After the Migration

    Take a breath after the migration. Celebrate! And now, you are in a great position to streamline and grow your business systems.  Now that you have everything on one platform, it’s time to think about further business systems improvements and integrations:

    • Is your team getting the most out of the new platform?
    • Are you getting reports that show you what’s going on in your business?
    • What other systems can you integrate Microsoft 365 with?

    Need some help?

    For an effective migration to Microsoft 365:

    • learn what the platform can do before the migration
    • plan how and when you’ll do the migration
    • communicate with your team and involve them
    • make sure your data is secure at all times
    • organise extra IT support to help you in case you need it
    • have a concept of what you will do after the migration.

    Planning is critical to the success of your migration and a seamless transition for your organisation. And once you have it done, you’ll wonder why it took you so long!

    At Tech Seek, we can help iron out the wrinkles of your Microsoft 365 migration. Our free IT audit often uncovers legacy systems and dependencies that business owners have overlooked.

    To learn more about migrating to Microsoft 365 or to access expert help with your transition, why not get in touch with our friendly team today? As small business IT support specialists, we’re adept at finding and implementing the best solutions for our clients and working in partnership to deliver optimal service.

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