Planning Your Office 365 Upgrade After Office 2010 EoS

Office 2010 EoS
Planning Your Office 365 Upgrade

Planning Your Office 365 Upgrade After Office 2010 EoS

If you’ve chosen to upgrade to Office 365 following Office 2010’s end of extended support, it’s important to begin constructing a detailed upgrade roadmap today. This requires extensive analysis, and a copious amount of planning. IT teams need examine their organization as a whole, and clarify exactly what an Office 365 deployment must bring to their organization’s Digital Transformation strategy. Then they need to look at the organization on the micro-level, and understand individual requirements, important dependencies, and the true potential of what can be realized under your organizational framework.

Planning is critical. Organizations that attempt to implement cloud solutions such as Office 365 often underestimate the full breadth of this undertaking – and any shortcomings can disrupt the deployment process. These disruptions can lead to extensive downtime and massive amounts of waste, as Office applications are fundamental to an organization’s operations.

To assist in this planning process, we’ve created a structured, five-phase approach that will make this high-risk process simpler to understand while maximizing the value of your new Office solution. Let’s begin with phase one:

Phase 1 – Analyze & Assess

The first step to planning your Office 365 upgrade is analyzing your organizational needs and requirements, then assessing the current state of your IT environment. This will give your upgrade the fundamental direction needed to minimize interruptions and maximize the value of your new Office 365 solution. There are 5 key considerations that IT teams must evaluate. These include:

  • Evaluate and Assess Existing Processes – Think about where your IT team can optimize existing processes in preparation for your Office 365 deployment. Are there any internal demands that should be considered?
  • Analyze and Assess Existing IT & Network Infrastructure – Does your organization primarily use LAN, WLAN, or both? Which cloud services do you currently use? These considerations need to be made upfront, otherwise it will be difficult to tie Office 365 into your existing framework.
  • Determine Requirements – Analyze what your departments need or are actively asking for. If their needs aren’t immediately apparent, consider creating surveys or consulting a third-party Microsoft expert to find the most important requirements. The user’s experience must be top-of-mind from the outset.
  • Calculate Costs – When upgrading to Office 365 from Office 2010, many users take a simplistic approach to cost assessment by only estimating upfront costs. However, organizations cannot take the sticker price of an Office 365 deployment at face value. Instead, calculate your total cost of ownership (TCO), then estimate a desirable ROI for this venture.
  • Envision Applications & Access – Think about who is supposed to access these programs – then think about which devices they’ll access them on, and under what pretenses. For example, sales reps may need to access documents on their phone while traveling. Alternatively, IT personnel may need to be able to access documents from any device on the corporate network.

Phase 2 – Create a Proof of Concept

After a basic assessment of your organization’s existing environment and future requirements, IT teams should create a Proof of Concept (PoC). It is vital that team members spend plenty of time planning the PoC in great detail while ensuring it is feasible.

Outline individual solution concepts that walk through required access and application scenarios, like what we determined in step five of phase one. Each team’s needs must be fully understood, down to their cloud security, network, and operational requirements. Then, work these determinations into the action plan for your rollout process. Don’t forget to estimate the budget requirements for each department’s rollout!

Finally, create a test environment to verify that these plans are accurate and valid. For example, deploy your new solution on a virtual desktop, or for a single user within your IT team. This will either ensure that your proof of concept is rock solid or reveal the biggest weak spots.

Phase 3 – Prepare to Deploy and Implement

When it comes to implementation, IT teams need to follow a “check twice, cut once” procedure. This means that organizations should ensure all Office 365 services are configured to meet the needs of every department. Then, ensure your IT environment is ready. An important consideration is whether or not your network can support a new cloud solution in its present state. Or, IT teams may want to ensure that their connected applications will continue to work on the deployed software.

At this point, IT teams should have already extensively trained employees and administrators on the new perks and features of Office 365. This will help ensure that administrators can handle new security updates, while users will continue using Office programs as intended. The implementation and adjustment process must happen as quickly as possible – so every employee needs to know exactly what to expect.

Phase 4 – Pilot Deployment & Migrate

Once your IT team is almost ready to implement Office 365, there’s a few final considerations to make regarding cloud migration. Migrating from an on-premises solution like Office 2010 to a cloud solution like Office 365 can be quite complicated, and any downtime can significantly disrupt business operations. To prepare for migration, we suggest following these steps:

  • Gain a complete understanding of requirements for data transfer, user communication, and migration across the entire IT team.
  • Pilot Office 365 with a small group. For example, your organization’s graphic design team may agree to pilot Office 365, as any downtime with these programs won’t interrupt mission-critical objectives.
  • Construct a plan for dismantling your old infrastructure following a complete migration.
  • Plan and implement a process-oriented operating and support architecture.

Once your organization has considered these four key facets of migration, they will be ready to begin implementing and migrating their solution. It is recommended that IT teams roll out a new Office 365 deployment either late in the workday, or after work hours.

Phase 5 – Fully Integrate Users

While the user’s experience should have been a priority from the beginning of your Office 365 migration, IT teams need to ensure users are properly integration after it is rolled out. After all, the success of a project depends heavily on the attitude and involvement of its end users. If a user cannot fully realize the benefits of an Office 365 deployment, then productivity will suffer

Keep in mind that upgrading to Office 365 doesn’t just give end users the newest version of Word or Excel – it creates a whole new way to collaborate and enable the modern workplace. As a result, IT teams must be prepared for an ongoing integration initiative and leverage our 365Simple solution to help streamline the entire process as well as manage their deployment.

Final Thoughts

Upgrading to Office 365 is certainly a massive undertaking for your entire organization. However, despite its complexity, Office 365 can offer a wide range of benefits that makes its challenging implementation process worth the effort. By planning your upgrade properly, your organization can maximize the value of their new office solution.

Need Assistance Planning Your Upgrade?

Reach out to our experts to accelerate the adoption  and realize the full benefits of Microsoft 365.

Meet the 365Simple team

Related Information

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  • Wednesday 15 January 2020

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Author

Dan Ortman, Author SoftwareONE Blog

Dan Ortman Microsoft Advisory Services Practice Lead

Publisher Advisory | Microsoft

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