Office 365 Training Series: How to Plan an Office 365 Deployment




You have finally decided that it’s time to move your company’s digital assets to the cloud. If you are thinking of adopting office 365, it is highly recommended that you do your research or take an office365 course before taking the plunge. Before you take the course, let’s talk about the basics of planning an office 365 deployment.

It is important that you set your priorities straight and have your objectives in place before you get started. It is not advised that you take care of the implementation in one go, but should instead break it down into different steps, so that you can get accustomed to the change. You will need time to plan everything and then move ahead. One common mistake that people tend to make is that they think that the mitigation process has self-contained stages. It may be possible that the tasks you have and the preparation phase may occur side by side. So, let’s help you plan the deployment.

1. Planning the Implementation

You’re ready to get going. Here’s a checklist from Microsoft that you will need before you begin. After that, you can do the following:

Debrief the Team

You need to schedule a meeting with the entire team and introduce Office 365 to them. Make sure that you tell them about the implementation as well as the scope of the project. Clarity is important because this way your team would know what they are signing up for.

Learn about Your IT infrastructure

Make sure that you have relevant information about your existing IT environment, so that you know what solutions you have to use in your organization. You need to make sure that the environment meets the requirements of the setup:

  • Authentication solutions  
  • Bandwidth  
  • Certificates  
  • Directory design  
  • Hardware and software  
  • Mail and other client applications  
  • Mail archiving and compliance  
  • Mail routing  
  • Network architecture and DNS  
  • Servers and components  

To help you out, Microsoft has Office 365 readiness checks. The tool helps with the configuration requirements and performs checks against environment in an attempt to make sure that the requirements are met. It will also inform you of any issues in the environment that may cause problems in the deployment of Office 365. For businesses that need more support, a great source is
the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) toolkit. This is a planning tool that offers assessment reports along with information about software and hardware.

Have an Implementation Agenda

You need to have a migration agenda, so that you can schedule your implementation work.

Have a Mailbox Migration Strategy

Assess if you need a third-party migration toolset and check out the requirements. Once you are done with this, take into account the size of the mailbox that will migrate to Office 365.

Pick Out the Content that needs to be Migrated

You need to pick the documents that need to be moved to Office 365.

You Should Define Your Coexistence Strategy  

Email coexistence is a very important feature of office 365, so make sure you define it.

Check Out the Bandwidth

Can your bandwidth handle the migration velocity? 

Have a Communication Strategy

You need to notify your employees about when they should start working on Office 365.

2. Moving to Office 365

The second phase is all about implementation.

Verify Your Domain Name

You need to verify your domain name with the help of Microsoft Online Services Portal.

Get the Directory Synchronization Tool

Install the directory synchronization and activate thedirectory synchronization.

Configure Your Email

The next step is to configure the hybrid servers.

Get Client Applications and Office 365 Desktop Setup

Install the client applications and deploy Office 365 to make sure that client applications are updated and configured.

3. Taking the Dive 365

In this phase you move your content to Office 365. Here is how you will go about:

Assign Licenses  

You need to give licenses to all your employees through the portal, so that they have access to Office 365.

Tell Them about the Migration

It is very important you tell your employees about the migration, how long it will take, and what they need to do to get adjusted.

Migrate Mailbox

The next step would be to migrate the mailboxes to Exchange Online. If you want to speed up the whole process, it is recommended that you reduce the size of the mailbox.

Move Your Files

With the help of the migration tools move the documents and important files to Office 365.

Change DNS Records  

After all the migration is done, change the DNS records to your domain registrar.

Configure the Devices

You need to set up all the devices, so that they have access to the emails, as well as all the important documents. You need to give clear instructions to your employees, so they know how they are supposed to connect to Office 365. To make it work on the mobile phones, you will have to reevaluate the template management approach, if your Office contains VBA code.

Do a Post-Migration Service Testing

After you are done with migration, the next step is to perform a testing of Office 365 to make sure that everything is working smoothly.

Check Your Office Templates

Test out the templates and make sure that they work smoothly without any faults in the formatting as well as the styles. Are some of the templates link to other files with ERP or CRM, you are supposed to test those out as well, to rule out any kind of issues.

This is how you deploy Office 365. You should know that migration is not easy, but with the help of detailed planning, Office 365 implementation can be made easy. What will make it easier you ask? Taking an Office 365 course, of course.

About The Author
Shamsah
VP Channel Sales at QuickStart

Shamsah Malik

Shamsah is an entrepreneurial, innovative professional with over ten years of sales, relationship management and business development experience within highly competitive SaaS, information technology, and SLED markets.