IT admins moving out of Google’s G Suite in favor of Microsoft’s Office 365 are acutely aware of the differences between the two software-as-a-service (SaaS) productivity suites. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that migrating data from G Suite to Office 365 involves intricate planning that may not be specifically recorded on Microsoft’s website.
This is an outline of the best practices to follow for IT admins to ensure that there is no data loss in the Google Apps to Office 365 migration process. This writeup is intended to be a generic guide for avoiding the most common pitfalls while migrating from Google Cloud to Microsoft Office suite regardless of the third-party tools or services employed during the process. There are primarily 4 questions to be answered before beginning the migration process.
What are we migrating?
If your planning to migrate from G suite to Office 365 and it is all about moving from Gmail to Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server, where you are operating in a mixed-vendor environment with Office applications instead of Google Docs along with DropBox instead of Google Drive, the migration should be relatively fast and easy with minimal movement of data. The complexity of the migration in such a scenario would depend on factors like
- is everything being moved to Office 365 or just the email solution?
- are there additional platforms involved?
- are all departments using the same suite?
Who is doing it for you?
You can either perform the G Suite to Office 365 migration yourself, in which case you have to plan ahead of time and factor in complications that might arise during the migration process. If you are working with a third-party consultant, Managed Service Provider, or a Microsoft Partner, plan your expenses accordingly.
What are the tools available?
There are plenty of tools available for migrating from Google Apps to Office 365. While some of them simply perform an IMAP transfer from Gmail to Outlook mailbox, others are more comprehensive with the capability to move data from Google to Azure Active Directory enabled Office 365 accounts. Be mindful of the costs and capabilities before procuring a tool.
How long can you take?
Unless you have fewer than 5-10 G Suite users, it might not be practical to move all accounts to Office 365 simultaneously. Migration should happen in batches and a few early adopters should move first. There should be sufficient time between two consecutive batches to troubleshoot any problems that might have arisen in the interim.
G Suite to Office 365 is a complex migration process. Although Microsoft provides a G Suite to Office 365 migration experience, the migration process is fraught with the danger of losing data. It is advisable to avail of the services of a Microsoft Office 365 especially due to popular plans such as Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 business etc. when there is a large quantity of data to be moved.