A toolkit for successful Office 365 deployment

Over the last few weeks, I’ve attended a couple of Microsoft Office 365 workshops during which I picked up quite a bit of useful information, not least Malcolm Bullock’s (@MBullock) list of Office 365 deployment planning resources.

Office 365 is straightforward: it’s a service; it does what’s in the service descriptions. But successful migration to the service depends on thorough planning.

Of course, this is the point where I should say, “talk to Fujitsu; I’ve got a team of guys who can help you through this” – and I have* but that’s not why people read this blog! What I’ll do instead, is outline some of the resources that Malcolm shared and which should be considered an essential “Office 365 deployment toolkit”:

  • Office 365 Service Descriptions. These are gospel. If the service description says you can do something with the service, you can; and if it says you can’t do it, you can’t. If the information is not there, you probably can’t. It’s binary; black and white – no grey. Office 365 is not for everyone – that’s why on premise and hybrid options exist.
  • Software Requirements for Office 365. Generally, Microsoft gives 12 months’ notice of changes to system requirements but they’re also introducing an n-1 stance on browser support. Bear in mind that, just because something isn’t supported doesn’t mean that it won’t work but using unsupported software is far from ideal and it’s entirely possible that legacy software may be denied access in order to avoid security issues.
  • Office 365 Enterprise Deployment Guide (MODG). Put simply, this describes how to deploy Office 365 in the enterprise.
  • Exchange Deployment Guide (ExDeploy). This is a software tool to run through for on-premise, hybrid or cloud deployments of Exchange.
  • Solution Alignment Workshop. These workshops are professional services, offered by Microsoft and their partners to make sure that the customer requirements are aligned with the Office 365 service. These workshops (together with a number of tools, such as the Deployment Readiness Tool and the Office Alignment Index Calculator) are now being replaced by OnRamp, a streamlined on-boarding process allowing customers to take a staged approach to their Office 365 migration.
  • Test/demo environment. Register for a trial Office 365 tenant.
  • Office 365 Pro Plus Deployment Tool. A tool to configure the click-to-run functionality for local streaming of Office 365 ProPlus desktop software.

There are also many tools and diagnostic utilities referenced from the Office 365 Community website.

* In all seriousness, I’d be happy to discuss Office 365 opportunities with any UK-based enterprises looking at migrating their email to the cloud, or even looking for a hybrid or fully-managed Exchange/Lync/SharePoint solution but this is my personal blog and in no way endorsed by my employer. If you would like a professional conversation, please do get in touch.

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