Bits & Bytes

The BitTitan Blog for Service Providers

James Clifford

Three Ways to Win More Profitable Office 365 Tenant Migration Projects

Over the past seven years I have been lucky enough to work for, and with, many great Microsoft partners and clients of all shapes and sizes who have been on the Cloud transformation journey to Office 365.

I have sat in on the migration of a global CEO’s mail box to Office 365 on a Saturday morning while they were flying from London to New York, expecting their iPhone, iPad, and yes, their Blackberry, to be working by the time they landed; I have seen projects delayed for months while two merging organizations needlessly debated what the new Office 365 domain name should be.

In truth, some projects are worth winning: the client gets a great outcome and so does the Microsoft partner, creating the classic win – win.

However, the opposite is true – sometimes I have won projects or had my partners win projects that by the end of it, we were all glad to have it finished so we could go our separate ways. Sometimes we had collectively underestimated the effort involved, sometimes the migration tooling didn’t behave as before in a new environment, sometimes we had spent three times longer putting in coexistence than the entire phased migrations took to complete; sometimes it can be a lack of strong project management that causes things to go sideways.

Looking back on lessons learned, I would like to quickly summarize two ways to win more profitable projects when migrating between Office 365 tenants.

Rule 1 – Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migrations are technically complex. They require an experienced, proven partner. Discounting devalues the work and devalues your experience.

You must be willing to walk away from an unprofitable project, or one that simply is not willing to pay what you are worth. This is illustrated by BATNA, a theory taught in negotiation schools: The Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, which might simply mean that you do not need this business.

Microsoft Teams is a new niche in migrations as vendors have only been bringing it to market over the past year. Firstly, Microsoft Teams adoption in some organizations is very low when compared with Exchange, so you must do your due diligence and verify usage, either using PowerShell or a Microsoft Teams assessment. Be brave enough to ask if they do actually need to perform the migration this time around. Just because they have Microsoft Teams doesn’t always necessitate migrating MS teams – they may actually want to start over with better governance in place.

If the migration of Microsoft Teams comes into scope, and it might come in late in the discovery phase for whatever reason, then not all Microsoft Teams tools are created equal. The one thing I would say from experience is that the tool should be 100% SaaS-based and come without the need to purchase additional professional services from the migration vendor.

Purchasing additional services will up the price of your SOW to the client and decrease the profitability as you will likely have to pass through the vendor’s professional services at your cost price.

Which leads us to the second rule.

Rule 2 – Beware Migration vendors that ask to help scope your projects to include their own Professional Service and beware vendors that have a BYOL model – they will decrease your profitability.

Last year I got caught out when I thought I had purchased an Office 365 tenant to tenant migration SaaS, but upon purchasing the said licensing, we were sent download keys for software. Essentially we were then told – “It is SaaS but bring your own license for Azure”. Needless to say, we were not impressed as we had to now spin up and host in our own Azure IaaS at cost we could not pass onto the client because the SOW was signed and the order was booked.

And, finally:


Rule 3 – Remember – Win your first Office 365 Tenant to Tenant Migration project to get experience under your belt, not just money in your pocket. Mitigate your risk and exposure to loss by using FREE guides from BitTitan.

Sometimes you are paying to get experience so that in the future people will pay you for your hard-earned experience. There is a real dichotomy here – I strongly believe that you should stand by your price, you must not be a stalking horse for discounts and you must avoid professional services costs from vendors. But what if you have never undertaken an Office 365 tenant to tenant migration – how do you get that real-world experience?

While you may have to win a couple of projects at a break-even point or even take a small loss, the experience that you will gain is priceless. Migrating Office 365 tenant to tenant is not at all like On-Premise to Office 365 and it is the present and future of your migration practice. So, you may have to take a single loss to get to multiple wins. You can mitigate risks by reading our excellent Office 365 tenant to tenant guides here, we are a trusted Office 365 tenant to tenant migration vendor:





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