Are you currently in an on-premise environment and considering a move to the cloud? Organizations are making the decision to move to Office 365 every day, is it time for you to make this transition as well? In most cases the answer is probably yes, unless regulatory or other requirements make moving to the cloud too challenging. By making this decision, you will be simplifying management of your infrastructure, reducing costs, and greatly improving mobile access to information. In addition, you will continuously have access to the latest features Office 365 has available instead of waiting months for the next service pack to be released.
With your decision to transition to Office 365, you are probably thinking about what content needs to be migrated (and not migrated!), followed by the need to look for a technology company to support your content migration. In most cases, businesses will focus on finding companies that specialize in Office 365 migrations. On the surface, this may seem like a good approach. However, your migration to Office 365 is just the beginning, not the end, of your digital transformation. Finding the right partner who can guide you in this journey is very important.
The digital world, including Microsoft Office 365, is much different than the more structured, “service pack” mentality. With features and updates occurring almost daily, it requires a different mindset and focus, to not only appropriately manage, but more importantly, to take full advantage of all the Office 365 capabilities. The best way to do this is by selecting a managed services partner who is experienced performing content migrations, as well as providing on-going, strategic support and management of your Office 365 tenant. This will ensure your organization is adopting and using all of the new features and functions offered efficiently and productively.
Selecting this type of technology partner has many advantages. First it starts with a discovery of your business to develop your digital transformation roadmap. This will ensure you consider all the opportunities Office 365 has to offer, as well as align these capabilities to your organizations' specific needs. This is typically followed by preparing your tenant and migration of content (e.g. data, email). This could include content from many different sources for consolidation in Office 365. Depending on the level of change in the organization and staff knowledge, this will include change management and training activities. As you plan and implement your migration, you should also consider outsourcing your primary Office 365 help desk support to address the common, every day issues faced by users. This has several key advantages:
- Keeps precious internal IT resources free to focus on your business technology activities;
- Eliminates the need to hire or retrain staff (and having them keep up with the continuous Office 365 updates and changes that occur “daily”);
- Ensures that users can get issues addressed quickly, minimizing potential impacts.
In addition to managing your Office 365 help desk, your managed services provider can and should be your primary escalation point in the event a major issue occurs and will provide an interface with Microsoft when required. Most managed service providers have the knowledge and experience to respond effectively, and likely have seen similar issues before.
Given the volume of continuous Office 365 updates, your managed services provider will provide on-going strategic guidance, optimal usage and adoption support to ensure you maximize the benefits of your Office 365 investment. This includes the consideration of services not part of Office 365 such as the Enterprise Mobility and Security suite (EMS) and Dynamics 365 (xRM). And, by having your licenses supported via a Microsoft managed service provider, you get the ability to purchase, manage and pay for licenses monthly at the annual subscription price. This means you only pay for the licenses you need.
As you consider your move to Office 365, here are some things to think about:
- Office 365 provides a complete, managed infrastructure for email, content, instant messaging, conferencing, and modern collaboration tools
- Most licensing plans include Office, with desktop and online versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Features and capabilities are continuously updated, be sure you have a plan to manage
- Outsourcing your technology will simplify the management and support of your infrastructure
- Office 365 offers many options for collaboration – both internal and external, to meet your needs
- Platform provides a fully mobile-ready experience
- Additional capabilities extend your investment like Enterprise Mobility and Security, Dynamics 365, Advanced Threat Protection, etc.
Don’t sell yourself short or stifle the benefits your organization can achieve. The rollout of your digital workplace strategy with a managed service partner is a cost-effective way to realize greater benefits from your digital investments in both the short-term and the long-term. You will also have a trusted advisor you can continue to call on to ensure your digital strategy is keeping pace with your business as well as daily feature updates and new capabilities.
Looking for a managed services provider to help guide your Office 365 strategy or help desk support? Reach out to us online or give us a call at 240-406-9960.