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Custom-Made or Off-the-Shelf? The Case for Hybrid Email Migration

Sep 24, 2015 by Romulo Melillo

If you’re migrating to a new email platform, it’s easy to call in a consultant and leave it to them. But for many organizations, marrying a consultant with a third party migration tool can get the best results—at the best price – a win win.

Whether you’re looking for cost savings, upgrading your email or archive servers, or just trying to handle the fallout of a complex merger, it’s prudent to prepare for a long haul with your email migration—with experts reporting a lot of things that can potentially drag out or complicate your migration.

When your email migration consultants then come back to you with a price tag and a list of complex, bespoke scripts and migration apps, you probably think it’s just business as usual. But it doesn’t have to be like this, there is a win win and enlightened organizations look to the whole market for a solution.

Reinventing the wheel

Every organization has different structures, communication needs and therefore different requirements for its email migration. Consulting services add great value coming in, recognizing these bespoke needs, and creating a custom solution to your email migration challenges.

Many projects have approached these challenges with a truckload of custom-built scripts, tools and migration applications. This is fine in theory, but these bespoke solutions come at a price.

There’s nothing wrong with investing in a low-risk migration process, but the fact remains these custom migration tools you’ll be charged for already exist. If you’re paying to reinvent the wheel, you’re wasting valuable IT resources that could be better invested elsewhere.

Why third-party tools are your friend

It’s easy to imagine that an off-the-shelf third-party app or tool won’t take your organization’s unique needs into account and produce a smooth migration experience. But that isn’t necessarily the case.

Ask yourself, what’s likely to be more reliable?

  1. A tool built in a few dozen man-hours that has been tested for just one organization
  2. A tool built over thousands of man-hours and proven time and time again by hundreds of different businesses with many varied use cases

A proven track record should mean a lot to anyone who’s had to manage risk in IT deployments before. And it should make you think twice about letting your migration consultants build new tools from scratch.

More than just costs and risks

Not only does a third-party tool help you bring down costs and reduce risks— it can also help you simplify compliance.

Between 37E, Dodd-Frank and SEC rule 17a-4, there are plenty of data protection, retention, discoverability, and privacy regulations to consider in your email migration process.

While the ideal migration consultant should be able to solve any compliance issues that come up during migration, using a proven third-party tool ensures your post-migration email systems will continue to be stable, secure, and compliant, and give you a demonstrable and repeatable process that if the worst happens judges love.

Cracking down on downtime

While the cost and compliance benefits are clear to see, there is still the issue of downtime to consider—the elephant in the room for any data migration operation.

Today’s third party migration tool market is brimming with competition, and each vendor will have a “make-or-break” approach to their customer experience.  So the average third-party vendor will be doing their very best to ensure you have a better migration experience with them than with their competition, and will bend over backwards to keep downtime and loss of productivity as low as possible and end user experience as good as possible.

But can third-party tools really handle my organization’s email?

Today’s third-party email migration tools are far more robust and scalable than you might think. Look for a vendor who’s able to migrate archived and live mail as well as PST files, with support for moving and managing petabytes of data.

But what if I’m happy with my migration consulting services?

As robust, scalable and fully-featured as third-party migration tools are, you still can’t just click a button and wait for email migration nirvana.

We recommend a hybrid approach, with your consultants bringing their expertise and bespoke solutions to the fore, while using a third-party tool to keep costs down, and minimize redundant efforts reinventing the email migration software wheel.

We’d advise all organizations considering a migration partner to check if they’re currently using third-party apps, which ones, and not just spending (your) time and money on custom builds.

The benefits of a hybrid approach

When you can combine third-party tools with migration consultant insights you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds, helping you:

  • Reduce costs by avoiding redundant app and script development
  • Mitigate risks with tried and tested migration tools
  • Simplify compliance with 37E, Dodd-Frank and SEC rule 17a-4
  • Minimize loss of productivity and eliminate unnecessary downtime

For more information on third-party tools and how they can help simplify your email migration, please learn more about our Office 365 email migration tool.