Does the moving truck matter?

We are regularly having conversations with our clients about how to transform or modernise their business. With the drastic move to remote working this year, the pace at which these conversations are taking place is unrelenting. One of the more common discussions we are finding ourselves having is the migration required to support mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures (MAD). There is a wealth of content available on this topic, but I thought it would be useful to chat about one of the questions all customers raise but is rarely well approached (IMO) on any of the public forums. As an organisation, we do many migrations, but for this blog, I’m going to focus in on the great work we are doing in the MAD space, supporting the migration of Microsoft 365 Tenants.

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE FOR YOUR MIGRATIONS?

When I get this question, I always find myself reaching for an analogy as I have found it the easiest way to bring everyone a migration journey. A Microsoft 365 tenant to tenant (T2T) migration is similar to moving home. Over time you have accumulated lots of possessions, some are valuable, others are priceless trinkets (orange ceramic rhino) which have a special place in your heart and some things whilst replaceable, if they got damaged or lost would make your day-to-day living exceptionally difficult.

In my uni days (college for the Americans) my mates and I would regularly help each other move home as the cost of getting a mover in seemed pointless when I could spend it all on beer. We would either hire a van or pack everyone's cars to the brim to get someone moved in a weekend. We paid no attention to what order should we pack things, the best route to the next house, whether we should we put padding on the furniture to stop it getting scratched (or damaging the walls of the property) or if there was enough space in the cars, etc. We would just get started with the move and do it as quickly as possible because the only thing anyone was focussed on was getting their next beer!

It wasn’t until I got a real job and moved into non-student accommodation that I even contemplated getting professional help. I finally jumped on the property ladder last year and bought my first house (yay me). By then, I had collected a smorgasbord of the possessions mentioned above and like every good move I left myself two days of crossover between the end of my rental and getting the keys to the new place. Oh, and just because I love a challenge, those crossover days were midweek at the end of the financial year when I obviously shouldn’t be taking time off. All of this meant the only way forward was to hire professionals and I must have spent hours if not days researching whom to use and how much was fair to pay. With all the quotes I got, not once did I ever ask what truck they were bringing to the party. Given they were professionals who were well-reviewed (my friends used them), all I did was make sure they understood my requirements, and then I left them to determine what tools and trucks they needed to get it all moved.T2T migrations work predominantly the same way, where an organisation’s key possessions (data) and workloads including Exchange, SharePoint, Teams and OneDrive need to be moved. Like the truck when moving to a new house, the migration toolset selected should be one of the last things clients think about. There are many vendors in this space, and they will all have you believe the new bright shiny knob on their GUI is going to change the world, or this new feature is 8x quicker (add new hyperbole here). Most of these products are using the same set of API’s and suffer the same set of issues, of course, many of these players deal with some edge cases better than others, but by and large and in the right hands, you should be able to deliver the same outcome with any of these products.

During my time at Insentra, I have been involved in no less than 500 migration projects, contributing to more than 3 million seats of Office 365. During those projects, we have worked with more than 20 different migration solutions. Lots has changed, but the one constant is that each product is the best at something. We know certain tools are best suited to specific situations/workloads, so as a result, at Insentra, we don’t lead with any particular product. Instead, we all seek to understand the requirements and then select a solution which is going to deliver the right outcome for our Clients.

Your T2T migration may be due to a MAD or geo-relocation, so ensuring the correct data and applications are moved to the new tenant intact, unchanged and of course accessible in their new location is just as important as making sure my orange ceramic rhino doesn’t get crushed in the frantic move. The selection of an organisation who can deliver a full discovery and analysis, advise on the findings and ultimately produce a migration strategy to guide the process is imperative and will help make a move go much smoother. 

A good removalist might ask how many rooms you have, which of your valuables are fragile, or if certain things need to stay cool while moving, but a great removalist will manage your experience, ensuring what should be one of the most exciting days of your life is a hassle-free experience. Every T2T project should be  the same; your only concern should be about user experience because you‘re confident the selected mover has the right knowledge, expertise and tools to get the job done. At the end of the day, does the moving truck matter?

TLDR: Moving house and doing a tenant to tenant migration are very similar, and when you hire someone to help you move, you don’t ask what truck they are bringing, you just assume they will select the right one.

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