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Minimizing Impact to End Users During an Office 365 Tenant Consolidation

Find this Podcast “Minimizing Impact to End Users During an Office 365 Tenant Consolidation” on the ThreeWill Soundcloud, Stitcher, and iTunes.


In this Podcast, Migration Batching to Minimize Collaboration Impact during a Office 365 Tenant Consolidation, we discuss…

 

MinTopic
1:10Office 365 Tenant Consolidation Overview
2:59Single-Pass and Two-Pass Migration
5:43How Content Moves Over
9:50Batching Examples

Office 365 Tenant Consolidation Series
Office 365 Tenant Consolidation
Change Management in a Office 365 Tenant Consolidation
Maintaining Continuity During a Tenant Consolidation

Danny Ryan:It’s Tuesday, September 10th and today I talk with Tommy Ryan about how to minimize the impact on end users when doing a tenant consolidation. Hope you enjoy.

 

Hi and welcome to the Work Together Better podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan. This is ThreeWill’s official podcast about enterprise collaboration, how people, process and technology combine to help organizations, departments and teams work together better.

 

Today I’m going to continue on my conversation with Tommy Ryan about tenant consolidations. How’s it going Tommy?

 

Tommy Ryan:It’s going well, having a good day so far.

 

Danny Ryan:Wonderful.

 

Tommy Ryan:Feel like it’s the middle of the summer even though it should be fall soon.

 

Danny Ryan:Yes. We’re at the beginning of September and we’re ready for the fall to come, but oh well. Hopefully it will come sometime soon. So I wanted to continue on our conversations about the tenant consolidations. And so just for folks who this might be the first podcast that you listen to on this series, what we’re talking about is for, when the large companies, when one company purchases another company or gets acquired by another company, sort of like, they typically both have Office 365 and so there’s a tenant consolidation effort that is put into place in order to merge one of the tenants into the other tenants.

 

So big company A acquires big company B and so therefore you want to get all of that content that big company B has over into that first tenant. And so we’ve been working with some companies to do exactly this thing. And so what we’re doing and focusing in on today is trying to minimize the amount of impact to your end users because these are really important collaboration systems and you can’t always get all of that content out of big company B over to big company A in a weekend or in the off hours. And so one of the things we want to do is look at batching of content.

 

So let’s get kicked off with that. Some initial thoughts on this, Tommy? What are some things that go into trying to minimize that impact during these types of projects?

 

Tommy Ryan:Well, you really need to understand the content that you’re going to move and the dependencies between the containers of content and just the expectations that you have around availability of that content to the users that collaborate with it.

 

We like to look at moving this content in two approaches. One being a single pass migration and then a two pass migration. And the essence of those two different approaches is the single pass is get everything over and you have a cut-over where you turn off access to the source, move it to the destination and then re-enable it on the destination and making batches small enough where you can do that with minimal interruption to the content. And that works well. And it’s a great approach, it’s a low cost approach.

 

But there are situations where you need to move several batches of content over and then release it as one big launch because of the interdependencies between the content. It could be a set of communication department sites that everything is kind of interlinked and you want it to come over as a whole and not come over in pieces. So that requires a two pass migration, more coordination. You’re basically quote migrating twice. But the second time is only a smaller incremental amount of what’s changed since you first moved it.

 

So those are the two kind of kind of technical approaches that we leverage when we’re trying to minimize the impact to the end user and understanding that the content, how important it is to keep it available. There’s certain content that people can live with it being down for 12 hours overnight or maybe over a weekend. And we tune to how many of these containers we can move in a batch. Because there’s a lot of coordination around running that batch. You’re scheduling it, you’re communicating to people around it. You’re doing validation and testing of did the content come over and you want all those processes done with the largest amount of content as possible so you can have efficiencies.

 

But then you have to cut it off and say, “Well can’t get more than this because it’s going to start interrupting our end users with collaborating around that content.”

 

Danny Ryan:And since we’re talking about Office 365, is this content could be anything from things that are stored into inside of SharePoint online to things that are in Teams or just the different services that you have within Office 365? You say you’re looking at sort of how the different places where you’re storing content, how they move over as well?

 

Tommy Ryan:Yeah, that’s a tricky question and there’s quite a bit of detail to answer that, but kind of putting it at a high level, you’ve got your email content, that’s a big bucket of information around your communication, internally and externally. And then you’ve got your SharePoint content and lets kind of lump Teams in there too because Teams is kind of that user interface to make it simpler to interact with that SharePoint content.

 

And then you have the rest of your collaboration services that, most of that is not going to come over into migration. There’s not APIs to move that type of information. So you have to think about what’s the strategy to manage the expectations and work with, you know, what do I do with my plans in my, you know, looking to export this and import it back in? Am I bringing … Do I have a transition period that we say, create your new plans here, your old plans finish up here.

 

So you’re going to have, at a very high level, things that you can move because there’s tooling to support it. And then things that you’re not going to move, but you’re going to have change management over how do we transition over into-”

 

Danny Ryan:And I would imagine too, if we’re talking about large companies, too, so there might be some moving over line of business applications and some more complex things that are out there, as well, where it’s not just the content itself but actually information about the applications that they built.

 

Tommy Ryan:Yeah. And that’s all going to depend on how coupled is that with Office 365? And of course we’re talking about a tenant to tenant consolidation versus, you could acquire a company and they’ve got SharePoint on prem. We’ll work with companies that are in those scenarios that they’re consolidating their content through an acquisition, but they’re taking content from SharePoint 2010 and getting that over into the destination, which is Office 365 in the acquiring company. So that step, maybe moving to Office 365 within that acquired company’s tenant or going directly from SharePoint on prem to the acquiring company’s tenant.

 

Danny Ryan:It sounds like just, again, from an outsider looking looking in on this, that some of these sort of practices that we have with batching and sort of trying to minimize impact came from some of the different types of platform migrations that we’ve been doing. I’ve been doing a lot of the Jive migrations, and also a lot of SharePoint on prem to the cloud, that we’re sort of taking what we learned there, applying it now over to tenant consolidations. And a lot of things end up mapping over fairly well because it’s a similar type of activity that you’re going through and a lot of it has to do with every time I meet up with Kirk he says the most important thing is communication, communication, communication. And that is really key to these types of projects.

 

Tommy Ryan:It is. I think a lot of the principles carry over. You’re batching in a different way. So in a tenant consolidation you might have multiple companies coming into one tenant. And as a part of that, one of your factors will be let’s address company A first. And ideally company A is a simpler scenario. Less content allows you to get the logistics in place around communications and tooling and just coordination with help desk and all those activities. And you do that at a smaller scale so you work out the kinks before you go to the larger companies that are a part of that acquisition. And yeah, communication is definitely key. And I think what can be challenging in consolidation of tenants is the determination of what’s going to happen. Are we going to keep the same email domains when we merge tenants?

 

How do we transition that and minimize the impact during those major migration activities? No matter what type of migration you do, from going from platform to platform or consolidating within a platform, you care about what happens to the end user. Your goal is to minimize the impact to them. And the ideal scenario is you do it so well they might even not know that you’ve moved to a new platform. So if you moved their email and you have a way to push out an update to where the email domain is reconfigured in the new tenant and they just show up the next day and their email is working and doesn’t skip a beat, that’s a very happy end user and a very happy company in that tenant migration or consolidation effort. And then you find things that, okay, we’ve got some constraints here that we’re going to have to get the user involved in this process. How do we do that in a way that is easy for them? Give them an easy button.

 

And some of that is deciding what you’re going to support and not support. And then what you don’t support, you have the appropriate amount of communication and change management to help them address that same problem in their new scenario. And that, not only communication, might even require some training. There might be some new tools that they get introduced to because in their previous tenant maybe they didn’t have Planner turned on and they were managing their projects in Microsoft Project server and that could go away in that consolidation and now they have to be aware of, this is your new tool for project management.

 

Danny Ryan:Awesome. Anything else before we wrap up?

 

Tommy Ryan:I think at the end of the day you bring the tools to bare to minimize the impact to the end user so it takes time. Understanding what is the content, what are the end users and their expectations and optimize your process and communication to make their life as easy as possible.

 

Danny Ryan:Awesome. Thank you Tommy for taking the time to do this and thank you everybody for listening. Have a great day.

 

 

Danny RyanMinimizing Impact to End Users During an Office 365 Tenant Consolidation

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