An Office 365 deployment is not an easy task. It requires careful planning and consideration around many aspects to ensure a smooth deployment that meets the requirements for your organization.  So what are the key Considerations When Planning an Office 365 Deployment?

Getting the right plan

Office 365 offers a range of subscription options with varying costs, depending on what service offerings you want to leverage from Office 365. While it is possible to switch between, and upgrade to some plans within Office 365, you want to ensure that you have the right plan for your organization and are getting the best value for money and access to the features your business needs.

If your organization is less than 300 staff, you can sign up for an Office 365 Business Plan. Larger organizations or ones planning to grow beyond this size will need an Enterprise subscription. However smaller organizations may still want to consider an Enterprise plan for some of the advanced features such as increased Inbox limits, email archiving, data loss prevention, online meetings, team sites and more.

A full breakdown of all Office 365 offering is available here.

Key Considerations When Planning an Office 365 Deployment

Do I need Office?

All Office 365 subscriptions come with access to the Office Web Applications, which are essentially limited versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint accessible via the Internet. Some Office 365 plans are also available with access to the full Office suite available for PC/Mac as well as tablets and mobile devices.

If your organization is already using Microsoft Office, you should also consider whether Office 365 will be compatible with your existing applications and documents, and if your devices meet the requirements for Office 365. This is especially important if you are running older versions of Office. In this case you must also think about how you will upgrade Office across your devices, and if any training will be required for your staff.

Do you have adequate Internet capacity?

Office 365 is a cloud based service and therefore requires a strong Internet connection to be able to effectively use all of the features. Use of the Web based Office applications or video through Skype for Business can consume significant bandwidth. Organizations with existing email services who want to move mail into Office 365 also need to consider their bandwidth. Even the desktop based Office suite of applications will require an Internet connection at least every 30 days in order to continue functioning.

How many licenses do I need?

The Office 365 subscription is charged per user and in Office 365 a user is considered anyone with an active mailbox that can be accessed via a user account and password. That does not mean you need to setup a user account for every email address you want to use. Office 365 also provides for shared mailboxes which are free but can only be accessed indirectly from another user mailbox. These shared mailboxes are ideal for generic email addresses which are monitored by multiple users. You should consider how many individual accounts you require. Additional licenses can be purchased as needed but you do not want to be paying for unused licenses.

Who manages the domain?

When signing up for Office 365, you will be provided with a tenant name from Microsoft. This is essentially your unique identifier in the Microsoft cloud and will take the form of yourbusinessname.onmicrosoft.com. While it is possible to send and receive email and use all Office 365 services with your tenant name you will undoubtedly want to use your own custom domain name, e.g yourbusinessname.com If you already have a registered domain name, Microsoft will allow you to import this into Office 365 and use it for sending and receiving emails. If you do not have a domain name then you should register one prior to signing up for Office 365. Alternatively you can purchase one directly through the Office 365 portal.

Along with the domain name, Office 365 requires some DNS administration. If you register your domain name through Office 365 then this will all be set up for you but if your domain is registered with a third party, you need to ensure they allow you to edit the DNS records and they are Office 365 compatible. Microsoft lists recommended DNS providers here.

What about existing email?

If you already have an existing email service, you will most likely want to bring across all of your existing emails into Office 365. There are a number of possible options for this and choosing the right way to do it will depend on a number of factors including what your existing service is, e.g On premise Exchange, POP3, hosted Exchange etc, how many accounts and how much mail you have, what applications you use to check email, and even the speed of your Internet connection.

Once you have decided on how to bring your email across, you also need to think about how you will switch over from your existing email service to Office 365 with minimal disruption. This will usually require changing over DNS records to redirect mail flow to Office 365 as well as providing users with their new account details and configuring email clients. You also need to make sure no email is missed during the changeover.

As you can see, an Office 365 deployment can be a complicated matter which is why you should talk to the experts at Stanfield IT.

Planning an Office 365 Deployment?
Speak to the experienced team at Stanfield IT on 1300 910 333