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Four tips for Office 365 resellers to be more nimble in 2018

(Image credit: Image Credit: Microsoft)

Unequivocally, the best way to ensure successful adoption of the modern workplace is to drive home its intrinsic value to your customer. It all depends on where they are in their cloud roadmap. Your customer may not feel comfortable or ready to migrate all their business data into the cloud at once. Based on our experience as one of the UK's top Cloud Distributors, we repeatedly hear from our customers that, when speaking to SMEs, one of the most popular options they choose is a hybrid model. Based on that experience, if planned and executed appropriately, resolving entrenched business issues is an essential part of a successful cloud migration and workplace transformation. 

Here are four steps to improve your chances of success: 

1. Identify the target platform best suited for the organisation

Numerous factors weigh into the decision to select either Office 365, G Suite or another productivity suite entirely. Among them are the desire to continue using productivity applications on the desktop, ensuring files are stored securely in the cloud, and that access to email is easy, flexible and able to be scaled. 

Office 365's dominance in the cloud productivity space - now more than 120 million business users worldwide - is driven largely due to the ubiquity of Microsoft Office applications and people's familiarity of using Excel, Word and PowerPoint in business. Despite modern file transferring tools such as Dropbox, WeTransfer, OneDrive and Acronis Files Cloud's disruption in the market, many people continue to prefer to send each other files over email, created locally with Microsoft apps, as that's what feels familiar and safe. Choosing Office 365 allows teams to hit the ground running by working collaboratively online with easy editing options. Plus, it also offers more advanced virus protection and rights management functionalities. 

Small businesses that elect G Suite favour its born-in-the-cloud, basic personal and team productivity tools. It's particularly favoured by small start-ups who have no need to transition their business into the cloud, since they've been part of a cloud network from day one. If their business grows at an extraordinary pace, however, they may feel the need to transition to the Office 365 productivity suite, which promotes generous file storage and email storage packages compared to the G Suite entry level plan. 

2. Chart your migration path carefully

It's widely understood that when migrating to the cloud, the more intricate the cloud architecture is, the less likely the migration will be successful. To minimise complexity and the risk of compromising data during a migration, consider what your customer wants, how much time and resources you'll need to dedicate to the project, and where and when you'll implement the migration to mitigate customer impact.  

Let's circle back to the customer's roadmap. Migrating to Office 365 can be relatively painless, depending on what email solution they've used previously. There are a number of options you could take, including but not limited to: 

Cutover Migration 

  • Great for organisations with fewer than 2,000 mailboxes
  • Used with on-premises Exchange Servers to Office 365
  • Maintains the mailboxes during migration without any additional steps
  • No more than 150 mailboxes should be migrated at a time 

IMAP Migration

  • Used when migrating from a non-Exchange system such as Webmail or G Suite
  • Manually create the Exchange mailboxes in Office 365 by using a CSV file containing; email address, username and password for each individual user
  • You can only migrate items in a user's inbox - no calendars, contacts or tasks
  • You can only migrate 500,000 items max from a user's mailbox (newest to oldest)

Use a third-party email migration tool

  • Many of our customers utilise the Office 365 Marketplace to find migration tools that will suit their customer
  • Popular choices include; CloudMigrator and SkyKick

It's important to note that when choosing your customer's migration path, agility and nominal cost-efficiency aren't enough. The best way forward is to select a cloud resource that is intimately familiar with a particular configuration and offers applicable migration support services.

3. Develop a single system of record for teams to share contacts and conversations

For Microsoft customers that have legacy CRMs, we generally recommend migrating to Microsoft Dynamics 365. It combines CRM and ERP into one solution and is a step in the right direction for companies that want to use ERP in a limited capacity or as an integrated business management solution that includes Office 365, Outlook, and Power BI for reporting. 

However, Dynamics 365 is not a self-starter CRM kit for businesses. In cases where Dynamics feels too complex or expensive, especially to businesses that conduct their contact relationships via email and retain customer information on spreadsheets, we recommend Nimble CRM. It's a social CRM that runs inside Office 365, Outlook or G-Suite email, contacts and calendars, social media platforms and mobile applications. Nimble unifies contact data and engagement history from disparate systems into a single system of record with socially enriched profiles that are easily accessible across team members, channels and platforms. 

4. Facilitate end user adoption

Ultimately, the success of a cloud migration isn't in the promised technical functionality, it's how the organisation reacts and adapts to it. ITCs that address end user pain points, in addition to providing help desk support with a fully managed service, stand the best chance of enabling a successful workplace transformation. 

Nimble's 80% end user adoption rate attests to the intrinsic value business teams see in fixing deep-rooted contact management issues. Without problem-solving solutions like Nimble, businesses could be stunting their growth. On average, sales people spend a fifth (19%) of their day researching data and insights, according to Cirrus Insight. That percentage translates into an astounding 49 days per year, or £4,029 per salesperson, per year (based on the average salary). This time is better spent in other ways; customer engagement, cross-selling, upselling and so on. 

At the very core, using cloud solutions is all about making things easier for the end user. When they can reach everything in one place, with one set of login credentials and integrate their productivity suite with other applications like Nimble, it gives businesses the room they need to expand, grow and scale at large.  

Mike Wardell, CEO of Giacom (opens in new tab) 

Image Credit: Microsoft

Mike Wardell joined Giacom from KCOM in 2016 and has more than 10 years of senior leadership experience in the IT and Telecoms sector. Giacom leverages Nimble, a simple CRM for Office 365 and G Suite, as its contact management solution of choice.