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In this Podcast, Microsoft 365 Tenant Consolidation, we discuss…

2:28Microsoft 365 Migrations
3:55Agile Methodoligy 
4:22Previously Covered Migration Types
6:05Dedicated vs. Multi-tenant
10:05Communication during a Migration
13:55Bringing in Partners during a Migration

Digital Workplace Briefing


Danny Ryan: Hello, this is Danny Ryan, and today I’m talking with the other Ryan brother, Tommy Ryan. How are you doing, Tommy? 


Tommy Ryan: Oh, I’m doing well. I’m surviving. It’s been a long week. It’s only Tuesday. 


Danny Ryan: Man, you haven’t even got to Hump Day yet and you’re here in the survival mode. 


Tommy Ryan: Yeah, but I got a Dave Matthews concert tonight, so we’re feeling. 


Danny Ryan: Oh, good. Good for you. Where’s he playing? 


Tommy Ryan: You know the one up here in Alpharetta. 


Danny Ryan: Nice. 


Tommy Ryan: It was Verizon and they’ve changed the name to something else. 


Danny Ryan: Okay. Nice, nice. 


 So today, let’s jump right into it. Today I wanted to talk with you, get a little bit of a backstory on Microsoft 365 tenant consolidations. I feel like when we look at this, there’s been quite a number of years that have led up to what we’re doing today with these consolidations and so I just wanted to share a little bit about that. Share maybe a little bit about what’s unique about these projects and also just sort of our background, our sort of app Dev background, our complex migration background, sort of what have we, from the experience that we’ve had in past projects, how does that lead us to be in a place where we’re really able to help people do these consolidations and do them successfully. I just wanted to have a conversation with you about that. 


Tommy Ryan: That sounds good. 


Danny Ryan: So, maybe let’s start from the beginning a little bit here. You know, I see these consolidations as sort of being the next step with regards to all of the migration work that we’ve done and we’ve done a lot of this stuff initially, started with on-premise to move to the cloud, our typical … We’ve got a SharePoint environment. We need help with moving that SharePoint environment over into SharePoint online and helping a lot of clients, especially the folks who have customized it, extended that, would help them with making those migrations. And in particular, I think we’re dealing with a pretty complex subject, which is the SharePoint piece of this and moving that over into the cloud. 


Tommy Ryan: Yeah, it’s been quite a journey for us. And I never envisioned a company, say 10 years ago, getting involved with migrations and some of that is due to we like difficult problems to solve. We’re problem solvers, and migrations seem to be more of a point and click type activity. And what we’ve found over the years is, coming from an app Dev background, we can leverage a lot of muscle and making these migrations work well at large scale and in complex environments. And not only the technology piece, but our passion for process, we’ve come up with a hybrid approach to kind of sprinkle in some of our agile methodology we use on custom development into the process of discovery and tool enhancements to really fine tune a solid migration. So it’s been a good journey for us. 


Danny Ryan: I think the other thing that recently a lot of our podcasts have been discussing, sort of extending beyond the Jive migrations and starting to talk about moving from other platforms like Slack, and Salesforce, and Workplace by Facebook, and talking about moving from other platforms into Microsoft 365 and I think that that brings sort of a unique view of sort of trying to map over the different content types that you’re dealing with, the security piece of everything as well. And lot of this, I think part of the reasons why we’ve been successful with migrating people off of different platforms into Microsoft 365 is because a lot of these things, there’s not a tool out there for them so you need someone to look at and also just really think through how are they leveraging the other platform and what content is most important to them, and then how do they map that over and get that over into the appropriate place and Microsoft 365. So, how has our background in migrating people off of different platforms into Microsoft 365, how does that set us to be successful with these types of projects? 


Tommy Ryan: Well, those are complex because you’re going from a different paradigm to a new paradigm when you’re going from something like Jive over to SharePoint. So you’re trying to transform that content into something very usable over on the other end. So that has given us a great exercise of thinking about what is your digital workplace for you, what makes it unique for your organization? And we were focusing and focusing on the content that maximizes that culture and the value you want to provide in the collaboration platforms. So we did that to tweak what … Well, what should come over? Because if we bring it all over, maybe not that’s not the right thing, and that translates well into the migration from on-prem and the tenant consolidations where, okay, you’ve got a different objective now that you’re bringing in multiple tenants into one tenant or you’re going from on-prem to the cloud, what are those objectives and let’s look at your digital workplace and then enable the right components of that platform to best support the goals that you have in, say, the adoption of metrics you want to drive as an organization. 




Danny Ryan: One of the things, I think when we were prepping for this call, I think the other project that stood out for me was the one that we did for a large beverage company out of Atlanta that we’re looking at moving from their … Within Microsoft 365 there’s different types of environments, there’s dedicated and there’s multitenant. Dedicated, is there’s a set of companies, probably less than a hundred, who have dedicated Microsoft 365 environments, and the multitenant environment is basically everyone else, and we were helping them out with planning out and making the move from a dedicated over to multitenant. Are there things from that particular … I know you were involved with with that project, were there things that map over to this? Is it more of like the background in planning these things out or what sort of things map over well to tenant consolidations? 


Tommy Ryan: Wow. Yeah. A lot of things actually. We were very fortunate to be on that … Efforts so early in the life cycle of people doing things in Microsoft 365 at scale, and this is back in 2015 15. The things that we were doing, we did a lot of preparation around how do you move things in mass the fastest way possible to minimize interruption? Because when you think about moving things and consolidating into a tenant or moving from one tenant to another, or on-prem to online, you’re moving the context of a group of collaborators from one place to another. It’s different than moving a mailbox where you know I’m going to interrupt this one person when I move the mailbox and then when I’m done I can go onto the next one. 


 When you’re looking at collaboration sites, or teams, or Yammer, you’re looking at a group of people, and that group of people changes from site to site. So you have to think about the organizational change management that needs to take place and make sure that you can do this in the fastest way possible and employ techniques that are kind of common in the migration industry, which is the moving that content behind the scenes over and then doing a delta with a cut-over so you can virtually make it feel like I’m moved it very quickly but basically I moved 90% of it and then at the last minute, during the cut over, I moved the deltas that occurred from the time that I migrated. 


Danny Ryan: Nice. 


Tommy Ryan: That’s one aspect, some of the technical aspects of you got to move quickly, you got to take into consideration how you’re impacting people. 


 Another area is around processing communications. We’ve done a lot of automation of those standard messages that you do at t-minus 14, t-minus two, and then the day of the migration and post-migration to inform people, enable people to be successful in that migration and feel like they’re a part of it. There was a movement that’s taken place, there’s some business value that you’re going to get out of this investment, of what you’re doing. And we put a lot of nice automation that comes in handy in a lot of our projects and … Yeah, we find it’s a lot, a lot of expectation management. You’re dealing with things like saying, well, what is our migration policy? What are we going to support as an organization when we move from here to here? So we can communicate that up front so people can plan for that knowing that, okay, this type of customizations are not going to come over so I need to be educated, then what’s my best alternative? Now that I’m going from InfoPath … Well, there’s flow now, there’s power apps, how are those things going to replace and make the environment better but I got to deal with well I’ve got this in InfoPath what do I do? And we’ve helped address a lot of those challenges there. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah, long-time listeners of the podcast, and conversations with both you and Kirk, and then talking with anybody about migration through the years, the communication and expectation setting is … It just comes over time and time again that you could be extremely successful about moving … Have a perfect migration where everything moved over exactly like you’d like it to. But then if you don’t set expectations with your end users and your content owners, and you make them feel insecure about this, I mean it’s to the detriment of the asset that you would call your collaboration system because they don’t trust it and they need to be able to trust, hey, you’ve got that you’ve been working on, you’ve spent hours and hours and your teams and departments have been spending hundreds and thousands of hours developing this content and you’re about to move it and you want them to feel like they are in control of that content and how important that is. And if you lose that and they start using their own systems, then we get the call later on where they want to migrate off of some product that they were using for a while because they couldn’t trust the internal collaboration system. It’s just we see that time and time again. 


Tommy Ryan: Yeah, there’s a lot of emotion tied up into that content. Think about working on an Excel document or a Word document that you’ve put in a good amount of time, two hours into creating something, and then you lost it. That emotion of having to recreate something it … I mean it hurts, although it’s … Usually you can recreate it in half the time that you initially did it but you just feel like, oh I don’t want to do this work because I’ve already done it, and that can be the same emotion of people who are going to a new platform is I don’t want to have to recreate this because I can’t find it, I don’t want to lose this content where it gets archived because we didn’t move it in time, we didn’t have time to get it over. But really are emotionally tied to the work they put into their information. 


Danny Ryan: Couple of other things I want to talk to you about, one is I know there’s portions of this where we’re working with other partners, and part of it I want to confirm what I think that we’re doing with these consolidations, which is we’re managing the overall effort, but then there’s portions of this where we’re having other partners, like having people help out with like the identity piece of this or just the pure moving mailboxes piece of this, how’s ThreeWill uniquely set up to successfully … Because I know there’s other organizations where they may do everything but they’re more generalist who are much larger than we are. Why go with a ThreeWill versus working with one of these larger organizations besides the fact they’re going to be four times the cost of us? Why work with ThreeWill as opposed to some of these other larger players out there? 


Tommy Ryan: I don’t know if this is the perfect analogy, but if you go back to the stereo days of you could get an all-in-one record player, or cassette player, tuner, package that up as one unit that you get- 


Danny Ryan: A record player? You’re showing your age, Tommy. Go ahead. Sorry. 


Tommy Ryan: And, yes, you get music out of that, yes, you have all the knobs, maybe most of the knobs that you’re looking for, but the fidelity of that, the quality of what you get out of putting together a very high-end tuner with a purpose built cassette player that … It’s an organization that that’s what they do for a living. They love to craft and create the best cassette player. I find that the nice sweet spot that we’re in as an organization is we don’t have that overhead of a very, very large consulting firm, but our focus is in the enterprise where we tune towards how do you do that right in the enterprise for a certain area of the platform? And then what we do is we find partners for security that are very passionate and honed in on that and work in a high trust environment to be able to bring together, say, an exchange migration partner, a security partner and then we’re piecing that all together with program management and some partners. You can change management for a very high-end change management and requirement, and that allows us to bring together like minded people that want to really craft what they do, do it very well and excel in the enterprise. 


 And we’re not for everyone, but that’s a pretty nice package to get, to get something that is priced, in most cases, below these providers that have “everything.” But quality wise, you can argue there’s higher quality there because you have people that are focused in on their craft 


Danny Ryan: We’re packaging these up, they’re able to work with just us for them or we typically- 


Tommy Ryan: Yeah, yeah. I don’t.. 


Danny Ryan: Because I could see from a client standpoint where it’s nice just to work with one company too. 


Tommy Ryan: Yeah, and that’s our approach is you’re working with ThreeWill, but we’re not “hiding” the partnerships. And so from a standpoint of accountability, we’re taking on that responsibility in terms of paperwork, of contractually doing the work. It’s one SOW, one MSA, and then just like we might have contractors, we have partners that can take on roles that we have overall program management around. 


Danny Ryan: We’ve seen even with some of the largest consulting firms out there, they do that with us where they’re pulling us in for specific expertise, especially we’ve seen through the years the Jive migrations. We’re getting pulled in as a partner who is a capable partner and we’ve seen it be … It’s extremely successful. No matter what the size of the organization of these consulting firms, they’re also working with smaller partners every once in a while. How much they’re hiding that or not is one thing, but it’s just- 


Tommy Ryan: [inaudible 00:17:49] I’d say it’s really, sometimes, I think better than those situations where I think there’s a lot of pain … Like if we’re subbing to a large organization, there’s just so many hands in the cookie jar around who’s doing what, who’s responsible for what, and it gets an overburden at times, but I think we’ve done a good job at making things simple, being agile and quick to respond and not taking months to do something that can actually get done in hours or days. And that’s a big benefit in a small set of agile companies that know how to approach and deliver in the enterprise. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. Couple of other things, of course the lawn folks are approaching me from the outside here. Apologize for folks who hear that. Awesome. I’m going to be testing your audio skills here. But why are people … So let me just talk and we can wrap it up on this one. Why are people consolidating? Give me the background on what’s the business driver around this and then just some initial, maybe to wrap this up … Because I think this is going to be a first of a couple of series of podcasts that we do as we further develop this and go into this. But why are people consolidating? Is it primarily from mergers and acquisitions? And then maybe what’s the benefit of doing this? What’s the benefits of moving from two tenants into one? 


Tommy Ryan: Yeah. I mean, mergers and acquisitions is the key event that occurs, that makes this necessary. And why people would want to move into one tenant, there’s integration that’s taking place as companies come together and so your identity, you’re bringing into one identity, and so that kind of maps to having that one tenant to provide that connection to where do I get to my email, where do I get to SharePoint, get to my team? So there’s just a logistical part of that as you combine things you want to have one connection to one tenant. There’s ways to operate without doing that for sure, where people have a hard time, say, getting their AD consolidated and they have separate tenants, and it just works better that way. 


 What becomes a challenge is the experience of collaborating together is you can bring people in from other tenants but they’re second-class citizen in the collaboration capabilities and there’s a lot of things that in depth being either not available, disabled, or deprecated for that experience as a gas. So that’s the challenge that you have. 


 And Microsoft’s pretty generous in terms of that guest coming in, that you can not have a license of Microsoft 365 to come in as a guest and collaborate with other people and the tenants. So it makes sense that there’s a deprecation of what that experience is because you’re not paying for a license. But I think what becomes frustrating is if you are in the enterprise and you’ve paid for a full license and you can get all these features when you’re in your own native tenant and then you’ve got some work to do with this other company that you’ve merged with, then you go in there you don’t have all the capabilities. So that’s probably the biggest pain point. 


 And there’s a mental aspect of this is we are all one company so we all go to the same URL when we go to our portal page. It’s not different companies. That’s kind of a block and tackle of a fundamental asset to enable you to get work done in your organization is your Microsoft 365 account within a tenant. So not an easy thing to do, but it’s kind of important to feel like you’re one company. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. It sounds like it’s almost a business and cultural alignment. It’s like if if you’re logging into … You work for company A and they got bought by company B and you continue … Company B is … It’s the second year after the acquisition you’re still logging in with company’s tenant. You’re like, are we really one company or not? And then culturally, just thinking through, yeah it becomes important that you’re … To use the overused term, all on the same page, you’re all on the same tenant, so how important that becomes. 


 So, just to wrap up here, what’s the best for starting these off, is it a digital workplace briefing? Typically, this looks like a lot of these are coming through more of a reach out to us for RFPs because they seem to be pretty larger types of engagements. How are we typically engaging with people if they’re trying to do this? 


Tommy Ryan: It is trying to establish budget, so we help organizations establish what a budget would be based on some basic metrics within their environment. We have people that will approach it from a digital workplace briefing or workshops so they can envision what their future state should be within one tenant. And then there’s organizations that want us to do an analysis and planning for the migration where they don’t want to bring everything over, they do want to reorganize things, and they want to “involve” their end users in that process, so we have some assets that allow people to come in and decide what they want their site to transform to be. Do they want their collaboration site to now to be a team site? Do they want to archive it? Do they want to move it to a different location within a hub site? And so that kind of planning analysis allows you to understand, well, what should you move, where should it go, and get your organization bought in to here’s the plan, we’re all ready to do this. 


Danny Ryan: Awesome. Tommy, thank you for taking the time to do this. I know these have been keeping you busy recently. Part of my role here at ThreeWill is to communicate to the public about some of the things that we’re doing. I’m excited about what we’re doing here. I get excited just learning more reflecting a little bit on our background, and what makes us unique, and looking how this has brought us to the time in which we’re helping out companies with these tenant consolidations. I think a lot of things have led up to this and it’s nice just to carve some time out of the day and reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going, and where we see us going. 


 And so if you’re listening to this and you’re looking at doing an Microsoft 365 tenant consolidation, best way to reach out to us as go to You can click on the contact us up in the upper-right hand corner, fill that out. We’ll follow back up with you quickly. If you’re interested in the digital workplace briefing, which is a free offering just to get things kicked off with us, on the contact us page there’s a little check box on there. You can say you’re interested in that. Anything else, Tom, before we wrap up? 


Tommy Ryan: I think that covers it. I appreciate you taking some time to talk to me about this. 


Danny Ryan: Absolutely, absolutely. And forward to some follow up subjects, may do some technical ones with with Pete and others, and as you’re picking things up here and things that you think the folks should know about these, I just appreciate the time that you take for communicating that. 


 Thank you everybody for listening and have a wonderful day. Thank you. Bye Bye. 


Tommy Ryan: Bye Bye. 



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