Once upon a time I was an IT manager for a school district and was tasked with migrating from Exchange 2003 to 2007. I knew from past experience that when I migrated to new servers, there were always issues. No matter what the tech notes and step-by-step guides say, I was still ready for issues to come up. So, I started the planning process, as follows:

  • Friday: Get pizza and beer.
  • Friday night: Drink all of the beer, eat pizza and grab the exchange server. Pull it into a corner and hold on for dear life and hope the migration works.
  • Saturday: Test everything and hope I backed up correctly in case everything fails.
  • Sunday: Go to church and pray that, come Monday, everything is working, then get ready for a week of “How do I do this?” from coworkers.

If this is a common scenario for you, Microsoft and CDW have partnered up to bring you a different solution that can bring your company into the cloud, allowing you to sit back and watch a status bar.

First Things First

When starting your cloud-planning process, you need to be able to answer these questions:

  • Do I need email in the cloud?
  • Do I want it migrated?
  • Is it worth the time to learn to migrate if I am only doing it once?
  • Do I want Office, SharePoint and/or OneDrive included?
  • Which coworkers need what version of Office?

Office Standard, which is offered in the Business Plans, offers all products, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Publisher. Office ProPlus offers the same as the Business Plans, but with Access and InfoPath included.

Other things to consider include what sort of bundle plans to get, based on how you’ve answered some of the questions above. If you want Office and Exchange, it is worthwhile to jump into a bundle plan like the Business Premium, or E5 plan.

The plans without migration assistance are likely to be cheaper than what Microsoft direct can offer, and CDW also offers technical support with it.

If you aren’t looking for Office and just want to go with Exchange, it’s not like it used to be when worrying about who to assign a license to. You just have to count the users in your company and everything else is included. You can have alias email addresses, service emails, public folders, etc., all included as part of the plan.

Office 365 by CDW Gives You a Little Extra

If you do plan to include Office with the plan, Office 365 by CDW is a solution with which you can buy the normal plans from Microsoft, but with the added CDW special sauce. CDW provides 24/7/365 U.S. support. We also provide migration for those hard-to-reach places like Exchange on-premise and Gmail. The support technician will help you, from soup to nuts, with any issue – and even engage top-tier Microsoft technicians, if needed.

This migration is a cutover migration that, in essence, looks at your data, copies over mailbox by mailbox, and also configures local Outlook for you for your end users. It’s a live copy, so if any emails come to a mailbox during copying, both locations get it. You can continue to use your on-prem server or third-party server until you feel confident to “cut over” to the 365 server.

It’s that easy! Reach out to your account manager or talk to one of CDW’s technical experts or licensing specialists today and they can get the process started!

If you’re still trying to decide whether Office 365 is right for you, check out this real-life story of one company that took the plunge – with great results.

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