Microsoft has recently grown its migration and cloud management capabilities by acquiring two migration platforms – Movere and Mover. It’s clearly a strong area of focus, and with good reason: more and more organisations are moving to the Microsoft 365 cloud.
Common motivations for migrating data to the cloud include reducing spend on on-premises infrastructure and making better use of an existing investment in the cloud. A third factor that’s becoming more prominent is the need for information governance, brought to the fore by GDPR legislation. Finally, it’s tricky to find things on legacy storage that’s split across many places; migrating to the cloud improves findability and means that everything is in one managed place.
Migrating corporate data to Office 365 lets you start to secure, govern and report on your organisation’s data. But, as tempting as it is to just ‘get on with it’ and migrate your data, it’s important to put a migration plan in place first.
This is much more than a technical exercise. For any significant data migration, it isn’t practical to expect users to copy items across manually. Not only is it incredibly boring, but it impacts on metadata such as the ‘last modified’ date. The solution is to use a migration tool to automate file transfers, preserve metadata and optimise the migration.
Migration is your chance to understand the current and future needs of your organisation, rethink the structure of your corporate data and design it to be future proof. By doing this work in advance, it will prevent headaches further down the line, and make your solution a success once implemented.
The technology is only part of the solution. With any activity that affects users, it’s critical to include people in the process. That means complementing the technical plans with how it will work for your colleagues. Are people going to arrive in the morning to be faced with the new system, or will it be a staged migration? Sharing your plans, reinforcing the reasons and benefits for the migration, and explaining what support is available will help colleagues adapt and accept the change.
Migrating data to a cloud platform like Office 365 unlocks many benefits to an organisation. These include better information discovery, governance and reduced infrastructure costs. But be wary of treating a data migration as a ‘technical project’. It needs input from a range of people, agreed objectives and a well-designed future state before you hit that ‘move’ button.
Stuart McLaughlin is a solution architect at CompanyNet
This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issues delivered directly to your inbox.
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