|A Microsoft 365 T2T (tenant to tenant) migration is never simple, but some migrations are certainly among the hardest, that of MS Teams Migration for example.|
Data transfer for tools like Exchange Online or SharePoint is relatively easy as their data is placed in one place. But with several thousand users, a T2T Teams migration becomes extremely intricate because of data transfer complexity.
There are risks related to data storage, downtime, scope, predictability, calculations, and many other things. Therefore, to keep the performance and data integrity intact, you need to plan your Teams migration with a lot of care. Quite understandably, you need an expert team to handle it.
Otherwise, it’s going to be a highly risky job for your IT admins who have to work up a perfectly efficient strategy to ensure a safe T2T migration. Normally, the scale of a Teams environment doesn’t allow a manual, self-run migration. It’s too risky and definitely not worth it. Especially, for businesses with an upcoming merger or acquisition, this is a hard challenge not worthy of taking up without experience.
Why Migrating Microsoft Teams is More Complex and Different Altogether?
It’s data, perhaps its quantity.
The events like COVID-19 have led to the mass adoption of MS Teams. The trend still continues to a fair extent. In fact, as of September 2022, we saw 201 million monthly active Teams users. This is a huge number and the reason for the complexity. This challenge of scale then spills over to your migration planning.
And when it comes to migrations for mergers or acquisitions, the job is even more demanding as there are now more stakeholders. The acquirer’s and the target company’s IT teams have to collaborate effectively to implement proper planning and data analysis that helps them preview the scope of migration.
MS Teams migration was already a challenge, now this collaboration comes up with added functionality expectations. Apart from this, there are a ton of concerns that go into this and we’ll delve into all.
We’ll also see how WME navigates the most arduous component of Teams migration- that of reliably finding out the data locations and making destination duplicates.
Actually, the data diversity is too overwhelming in Teams. There are channels, conversations, teams, files, chats, users, pathways, and hundreds of other items. All crucial, need perfect resynchronization, and none can be missed if we are to ensure a successful Teams migration.
5 Common Challenges with Microsoft Teams Migration
Challenge #1: Pre-migration planning requires solid project expertise
Effective migration planning, particularly for mergers or acquisitions, demands critical actions to begin with. The most prominent example can be rearranging the contents of your current tenant.
Concrete planning then requires a proper assessment of the scale of your business. Then, you need to plan how to go about the steps of the migration. It’s a sophisticated process, full of recurring bottlenecks.
You have to:
- Finalize what’s needed in the new environment and what not.
- Make sure the users get everything they need to remain productive in the targeted environment.
- Have a perfectly working list of all the planned items with corresponding permissions and privacy settings.
So, it’s a cumbersome task especially if the project scale is large.
You’ve also got to keep everything transparent, open, and known to everyone so that everyone is aware of the coming migrations and they may get their answers in time. Robust email communication is the right practice for this job.
Challenge #2: The structural problems with Teams data and its location
It’s a no-brainer that you need to know where exactly every data item that is going to be migrated is located in the current setup.
But in Teams, finding these locations is not a straightforward job because most Teams data is stored outside, dispersed locations like:
- SharePoint team site (for files & folders, external emails received, OneNote assets, etc.)
- Exchange team mailbox (for Group chat, channel history, team mail, and contacts)
- Exchange mailboxes of individual users (for one-to-one chats, history, calendar meetings, etc.)
- OneDrive for both individual and organization (for private chat files, meeting chats, Users’ personal OneNote, etc.)
- Azure (for media, Streams, etc.)
- Third-party storage providers (only in some cases.)
This data dispersity along with these publicly inaccessible APIs emerges as the ultimate bottleneck in the way of a smooth Teams migration using in-built solutions. So you need to take an inventory of the storage location and access permissions before you start off. The inventory should include the following information as well:
- The amount and type of content (teams, standard pathways, SharePoint associated site, private channels, etc.)
- The actions required on certain items (copy existing structure and content, import external content, restructure your environment, etc.)
Cleaning up the data is also a challenge at this stage. Expert-level data engineering is required for that. You also need to create new versions of the whole structure of the source Teams you want to migrate to the new location. Your team needs to analyze what data items need to be transformed into what so that they can contribute to the desired end goal.
You may also have to delete some items permanently. This is another expertise-intensive job. It takes time and strict monitoring as it includes a huge amount of diverse data as explained above.
Now you need to add all the corresponding users and their credentials by inviting bulk users to join the new Teams environment. It’s done using Active Directory. Again, it will require some manual work for proper synchronization of domains, additional users and their corresponding permissions.
Challenge #3: Risks related to memberships and permissions can have a serious toll on results
Microsoft Teams does not come with a built-in way to duplicate team memberships and permissions. You need to ensure that everything arrives in the intended location with all access and permissions still in place. So, you have to design your own customized organizational plan. Depending on the details of your project, you may also have to write some detailed PowerShell scripts.
Beware, the following data can always cause problems for permissions and memberships in the targeted environment:
- Teams settings and details
- Public channels
- Planner plans
- Lists, Files, Tabs
- Apps and bots
- Membership details
- Customized SharePoint items
- Wiki pages
- Chat history
These items need serious following up and tweaking and need to be closely watched over. Only a seasoned professional team has the capability to do that as this is a lot of data. They’ll be responsible to ensure that the right people ultimately have access to the right teams with the right set of permissions.
Challenge #4: An accurate time & cost estimation for Teams migration demands experience
Complex migrations need a proper time and cost analysis beforehand.
Assessing what kind of data would require how much time for migration, what will be the hierarchy of actions, and then adapting the strategy along the process with a bit of back and forth, this is the typical outlook of Teams migrations of large scale. Yes, this is certainly an expert job.
It involves too much. From having a strong grip over file formats and process technicalities and then deciding whether the project needs to be phased or a single event, there’s a lot that goes into it. So, here again, your migration team has a lot on their plate. Or, you may hire some dedicated migration professionals, always a better option.
Challenge #5: The risk of downtime and data Loss
The loss of your valuable data during migration can be the biggest threat if you don’t have an experienced team on your side. The solution here is to constantly monitor your project and be careful with permissions and privacy settings.
Though, when it comes to security and privacy, Teams offers excellent features of access control and security management. But these features are not originally designed to facilitate migrations. As you can see, there’s a lot of stuff and a lot to be looked after when migrating.
However, an expert assessment lets you map and track all users at the destination. Only this is a secure way to keep your data uncompromised. But there are many non-IT companies these days that tend to perform this activity on their own. Whereas, this is not the best practice at all. You certainly don’t want your precious data lost or compromised in any form.
We put together a list of apparently trivial items that need to be migrated to prevent any data loss:
- URLs (file paths) and file names
- File sizes
- Character limitations
- Custom solutions
- Folders with more than 5000 items
- Workflow state and history
- Permissions (do you have access to all the files?)
- invalid site formats
- Abandoned users
- Checked out files
- Unsupported list formats
- File extensions
How to Run a Successful Teams Migration to Produce Productive Results?
|Well, it all starts with the perfect planning as you need expert moves at every step. Before you even get started, you have some important decisions to make.
First of all, you need to decide your migration method.
Self-Run Migration VS Hired Services
Migrate Microsoft Teams from one tenant to another manually or hire a migration expert team to carry out a secure migration?
While a third-party migration plan is highly effective and secure, you can also accomplish a tenant-to-tenant migration manually. However, doing it yourself is going to be highly lengthy, convoluted, and risky.
Because you need so many resources to nail it down…
You need expert-level need & scope assessment. You need cost analysis, you need to plan how you’ll handle potential errors and see who will be responsible for what possible data loss (given the critical nature of this migration, data duplication is necessary), and you’ll require from your IT teams to develop new competencies that may not be leveraged often again.
So, hiring some expert services is always recommended. It saves you time, costs, and invaluable data integrity which will certainly be at stake.
Taking inventory the way it deserves
Here lies the biggest challenge as explained above.
This is the key action of taking inventory of each bit of data and ensuring everything is migrated to the right location. Finding out where the data is stored and what are the complexities with each data format and their corresponding functionalities.
And there is a lot that goes into it. It’s all technical and full of minor yet meaningful details. Only experts can handle it predictably.
Taking end users onboard
You also need to prepare end users for migration so that they are onboard to ensure your organization remains productive before, during and after migration. They need to be conveyed what exactly to expect from this project, what will be inaccessible to them at what time, and what actions are expected of them and when.
Now, this task also demands organization and perfect time allocation for users on the part of the migration runners.
Monitoring to find out the deep roots of issues
Migration monitoring by experts is vital for assessing the roots of potential problems and risks that might arise along the process. It also requires active decision-making regarding migration timing for old and archived teams. For membership, permissions, and data protection, your team needs to take proactive steps to minimize disruption.
As you can see, there is so much to weigh up in this regard. The data that needs monitoring includes file paths, user details and types, and all the stuff explained above.
Migration report to analyze the project scope
After project completion, you need to prepare a migration report. This report helps you to analyze everything in the scope of your migration, including issues and errors. It also helps you focus on your troubleshooting efforts. This is a content-rich report that includes warnings, errors, and so much stuff that it comes off as a highly technical document that needs formatting and decoding only by an expert team.
Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Migration Services Offering at WME
Migrations for Mergers & Acquisitions are truly touch-and-go because they usually involve a high volume of data. However, our Teams migration approach harnesses the power of all the available native Microsoft tools in one unified interface.
This makes migrations of all scales a breeze for us. It allows us to take an effective top-down approach to detect issues related to user experience across your entire MS Teams environment.
With a balanced project pace, proper reporting and investigation, active communication between the users and the migration engineers, and clear expectations, WME hunts down migration problems immediately and runs an all-safe, cost-effective migration keeping your data integrity fully intact.
Ultimately, we increase user adoption and create powerful users that always feel in control of their user-side affairs.
Wrapping it Up:
We at WME make your Microsoft Teams migration strategy leveraging all the templates we’ve gathered working on hundreds of mega-scale projects so far.
If you’d like to learn more about how WME can help you carry out critical merger and acquisition migrations, and update your collaborative platform with all the new techniques onboard, Ping us.