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Office 365 Migrations Will be the Biggest Change for SMBs in 2015. Are You Ready?

By R. J. Stangle / Mar 13, 2015

Migration = Migraines.

When IT managers and decision makers start talking about an Exchange upgrade or migration, they tend to do so in hushed tones and with much trepidation.

There are good reasons for this. One of the biggest, is that in today’s business – email is as essential and critical as your Internet or electrical connections. Whether you run a flower shop or a software development firm, you cannot continue to thrive and grow, let alone manage your day-to-day work, without a solid and reliable Email system.

Exchange upgrades or migrations also tend to strike fear into the hearts of IT managers, because Exchange as we know it – is not a simple thing. Depending on your version, it probably requires many servers, lots of different licenses, complex network permissions, and an array of nuances around how all these things work together.

It can take a lot of work to get an Exchange environment up and running and even more of an investment to get it to a stable and reliable state.

In the last couple of years, Hosted Exchange became an enticing option for IT managers. It offered the chance to off-load the work and stress of having to maintain and upgrade a stable Exchange environment.

What they quickly learned though, was that while they did get to offload all the maintenance work once the system was up, they still had to live through the pain and complexities of a complete Mail migration and the setup of the Hosted Exchange environment. Even though it was hosted, it still needed all the servers to be spun up, all the licenses to be in place and all the complex work of migrating mailboxes, archives and settings to be switched over from the old system to the new one.

The iPhone Changed Everything

The driver that led to simpler mail migrations (especially when migrating to O365) was the introduction of mail to phone. Unlike what you might be thinking, this didn’t start with the Blackberry (despite them leading the mail on mobile movement). When BB put mail on phones, it required a BB back-end server to enable mail to go from Exchange to the phone.

When the iPhone came out, all of a sudden phones everywhere started leveraging OWA (Outlook Web App) and the features from Outlook Anywhere to seamlessly put corporate email onto mobile devices, without the need for a BB server.

Today, putting a complete copy of your corporate mailbox onto your mobile device is as easy as entering a few settings and giving your devices some time to populate old email, contacts, calendars, etc.

O365 Migrations: The New Disruptor for SMBs

Migrating or copying a mailbox to O365 is similar to when you copy your mailbox to your mobile device. I say this knowing it’s not “exactly” the same thing and does require tools, processes and some Exchange skill set to do it properly. But the order of magnitude with regards to the effort, planning and skills required to do it right are now very different.

By completely abstracting the mailbox and users from the complexity of the O365 Hosted Exchange environment, Microsoft has finally removed all the complexities of Exchange online. The subscription license model has also been mitigated. No more complex license schemes, enterprise agreements or user CAL licenses. Now you can enter your O365 subscription license key and hit the ground running once you’ve copied your mailbox and completed your MX record change.

2015: The Year of O365

O365 has been around for a while but 2014 and 2015 has seen record growth for this cloud offering (up 30% year over year). In fact, Microsoft commercial cloud revenue has risen 114% just this year and Office 365 has more than 9.2 million subscribers. With growth happening at this rate compared to other leading SaaS services like Salesforce and Concur that only saw ~35% growth in that same period , we expect this number to continue to explode as more and more businesses look to upgrade from MS Office 2007 and 2010.

At AppHelp, our O365 Provisioning and Onboarding services offering have seen a strong response from the market and it’s clear that provisioning, onboarding and mail migration services in the SMB space will experience exciting growth over the coming years. We are leveraging our experience in this space to help companies deliver an amazing O365 Onboarding and Mail Migration experience to their customers.

If you’re interested in more information about our O365 end-to-end turnkey solution, please contact our sales team.