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Office 365 Tenant to Tenant Migration: Post-Webinar Q&A

18 Jun 2020 by Natalie Frith

Office 365 Tenant to Tenant migration depicted by several professionals floating in their separate clouds, i.e. tenants.

Over 500 people signed up for Mike Weaver and Paul Robichaux’s recent webinar, How to Consolidate Multiple Office 365 Tenants. We had lots of questions, both during and after the event, and we’ve compiled the responses here.

Please read on for some great insights into your key considerations when performing an Office 365 tenant migration.

You’ve been speaking about Identities, Exchange, SharePoint, and Teams. But how do you handle a tenant that also has InTune? Any recommendations on that?

This is a great question. Our clients continue to say one of the biggest issues they face is mobile device reconfiguration. In many cases, this is the number one help desk issue post-migration.

The short answer is, you must de-enroll and then re-enroll since this is another one of those difficult items that does not migrate. Some of our clients have used our automation engine to ‘kill’ the device pre-migration, to help ‘force’ the user to re-migrate.

This will remove the authentication token and allow the user to simply re-enrol as if it was a new device. This is a step you will want to practice and hone for your exact configuration and pair it with an automated process if you are doing a staged migration.

For customers changing management solutions, this is a similar situation and can be handled the same way. We cover the need for mobile device guidance in our ever-popular communication templates.

What advice can be offered with regards to sharing links for OneDrive and SPO?

We recently wrote about this topic in detail on our sister site, Practical 365. This topic is complicated, and it’s worth reading this detailed report.

We also made a change to our communication templates to include templates for this situation, which you can read more on here.

How do I communicate with users?

Often! We typically see our clients use email for communications, and for a lot of people this can work. However, when we are moving email systems, the user may lose access. Simple steps, like encouraging users to download and print a tangible guide, can be helpful.

Some organizations have a communication system in their HR platform that can be leveraged as well. This can be helpful if there is a migration issue, or to confirm they see the message of the impact. Many of these systems also have an SMS alert system that might be able to be leveraged as well.

Our end-user reconfiguration agent can also be used, and we support adding custom links to documents. You will define when the user gets prompted to reconfigure and what the prompts say. If you provide language translations, we will display the prompts in these languages based on the user’s language settings.

Again, you can find more detail on this in our updated communication templates.

I can’t find an option for Team chats and my company wants to keep this for eDiscovery. How is this done?  

Sadly, the Microsoft Teams API continues to be quite limited for imports and exports. To date, we can only migrate the following items:

  • Recreation of teams
  • Adding users and owners
  • Channel chat with file link redirection*
  • Files
  • Options to prepend and postpend teams

*Quadrotech supports three options for channel chat migrations:

  1. Stream channel chat data into the target channel directly with meta data prepending the chat message.
  2. Place chat content into an XML file and either place this in the channel file tab or a centralized Teams site
  3. Both options at the same time

You may also be interested in:
How to migrate Microsoft Teams to another tenant.

How do I do a waved migration and not impact the users’ logon?  How does mail flow work?

As of writing this post, Microsoft does not allow a domain to be placed into two Office 365 tenants at once. At Microsoft Ignite 2018 and 2019 there were some announcements that mail flow allowed into two tenants may be coming out soon. However, there was no mention of a timeline for allowing a domain to span multiple tenants for the UPN/logon name.

As a result, if a user is not taking on new branding, their login will change, and mail routing needs to be addressed. If a user is taking on new branding, then most clients will have users adopt this change as they change tenants.

To handle mail flow, until Microsoft releases this functionality, a third-party mail provider is required. Some migration solutions offer this function, however, we strongly feel that mail routing is a serious item that should be handled by Message Hygiene experts, not a migration vendor. Altering mail flow is a serious decision that opens routing issues.

Another coping mechanism is for migrated users to use a similarly named domain name. For example, if the company uses contoso.com they may use contoso.us.com or contoso.co.uk post-migration.

How do I group users?

This is a process that is unique to each customer. The main warning is we don’t want to see firms moving by department, but instead by shared resource needs. Because organizations have so much cross-department collaboration now, this is very difficult. I have outlined this in more detail in another blog post here: Office 365 Migration Batches: How to Group and Wave Users

Another trend to note are companies doing bigger migrations, and large cutover migrations. The issue of determining how to break users up and other collaboration limitations are pushing organizations to do this. If your firm is going to do a large ‘big bang’ cutover, you need to properly scope the project and plan carefully. When executed correctly, many of the risks can be mitigated.

What do I do about the stuff that can’t migrate? 

Sadly, not all workloads in the Office 365 service migrate and this is a major source of frustration for clients. For items that will not migrate, unfortunately, the user may need to manually re-setup items. PowerApps is a great example of this.

There are items like Yammer and Stream that just do not have an API, and because of this, the data is abandoned in a move. If you need to preserve items that don’t move for compliance purposes, you will have to perform this collection and store it somewhere outside the source tenant. This is usually done when the last user is migrated with plenty of time before the tenant is deleted.

I co-hosted a great webinar a while back with Steve Goodman on the subject called, ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and I delve into this in much more detail. If you are interested in more information on the topic you can access the webinar here.

If you have any additional questions around Office 365 tenant to tenant migrations or have an upcoming migration you’d like you to discuss, please contact our specialist team.