Let’s face it: with the widespread use of Microsoft 365 and the perpetual changes in the business landscape, tenant-to-tenant migrations are a fact of life for IT managers and directors everywhere.
Tenant-to-tenant migration is a straightforward concept. You’re either moving from one Microsoft 365 tenant to another (or to multiple tenants), splitting a single tenant into two or more tenants, or bringing two tenants together, essentially merging all the end users, data, and resources from both into one tenant.
Situations that typically prompt tenant-to-tenant migrations include:
- Mergers and acquisitions in which two companies, each with their own Microsoft 365 tenant, become one. In these cases, the company has two tenants to manage unless it decides to merge them into a single target tenant.
- Divestitures occur when a company splits into two or more separate organizations or sells part of its business. When this happens, a migration is necessary to move the relevant data and resources from the original tenant into separate target tenants.
- Restructuring involves moving a business unit (e.g., from one region to another) or decommissioning a tenant. In these cases, everything from the tenant being moved or decommissioned needs to be migrated to a new or existing tenant.
In this article, we’ll explain why completing your migration is critical and how you can get it done more quickly and easily than you may realize.
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What is your migration scenario?
Do you need to migrate one or more tenants to another? Or are you splitting a single tenant into multiple tenants?
We’ve compiled a complete playbook for tenant-to-tenant migrations to help you understand what’s involved in the process. However, the reality is that doing a tenant-to-tenant migration manually in Microsoft 365 is a demanding task. Microsoft itself appears to acknowledge this, suggesting that few of its customers attempt to perform such migrations on their own.
Given the inherent complexity and workload associated with a tenant-to-tenant migration, it’s easy to see why you would want to avoid it. Theoretically, you could put it off indefinitely. But that would be a bad idea.
Risks of delaying a migration project
The risks associated with delaying a tenant-to-tenant migration when needed are the stuff of nightmares for IT managers and directors. The potential consequences are huge, particularly when it comes to IT security.
Let’s start with security. Managing all the different Microsoft security controls across multiple tenants can quickly become complicated. This is because every tenant has its own Active Directory with access controls configured for the end users in that tenant.
When you have a second or third tenant, maybe even a fourth tenant you’re managing, end users in one directory become guest users in another.
This makes securing each environment far more complex than in a single tenant. It also makes it more challenging to protect your organization fully from unauthorized access and security breaches. All it takes is one open door for a hacker to find and exploit, putting your organization’s data and reputation at risk.
Then there are the compliance issues. Good data governance is critical to maintaining compliance. But, with multiple tenants, each with its own governance policies, how can you be sure that your organization supports all the necessary controls across all your tenants?
The simple answer is: you can’t—at least not without effort. And that can expose your organization to legal and regulatory risks.
Other not-so-obvious risks to your organization
Other problems come with putting off your tenant-to-tenant migration, such as data fragmentation, inefficient communications, and other operational inefficiencies, which can ultimately damage your organization.
Some of these problems won’t be immediately obvious. For example, the impact of data fragmentation—storing essential data in the old tenant while the new tenant is not fully operational—makes it harder for end users to access critical data when needed.
For an IT team, this issue typically manifests as increased support tickets from end users needing assistance navigating the divide between your two tenants. While this creates a lot of strain on your support team, the more significant risk here is the increased likelihood that mission-critical business decisions are made based on incomplete data.
Consider the operational inefficiencies associated with having separate tenants that need to be merged. Asking employees to navigate between systems increases the complexity of day-to-day operations, can lead to a lot of duplicated effort, and creates some very cranky end users.
Your end users’ jobs (and yours) are already hard enough. While a tenant-to-tenant migration can seem like a huge undertaking, putting off a needed migration makes everyone’s job harder, leading to frustration and lost productivity.
Costs of delaying a migration project
Now that we’ve covered the risks of delaying a needed migration let’s look at what continued avoidance will cost your organization. As with the risks, some of the costs of putting off your migration are more obvious than others, but together, they can seriously reduce the ROI of your Microsoft 365 investment.
One of the first costs that comes to mind is licensing. Since licensing costs are based on the number of users and services in your Microsoft tenants, paying for licenses in multiple tenants leads to unnecessary expenses.
For example, suppose you have more than one tenant and end users that need to access data and resources on both; then you’re paying for two licenses instead of one, potentially for every one of your end users and the tools they use.
The longer you wait to migrate, the more these expenses mount up.
There are also increased infrastructure costs associated with operating across multiple environments, which require additional servers, storage, and network resources. You’ll probably also need a bigger IT team to maintain and troubleshoot all issues you can expect to encounter when trying to manage separate systems simultaneously.
Let’s not forget about the additional costs you could incur from a security breach. While it’s hard to quantify the impact of a business’s reputational damage after a security incident, the average cost of managing a single data breach and recovering the data (if possible) is now more than $4.45 million!
A number like that makes it hard to ignore the inherent security risks associated with delaying a needed migration and even harder to justify the delay.
Other costs may not be immediately evident. For example, prolonging that painful period of uncertainty for employees, forcing them to continue navigating multiple Microsoft environments in their day-to-day work, invariably leads to productivity losses. It also creates a longer learning curve for end users to get up to speed with the new tenant and can hamper the adoption of the tools it provides.
How ShareGate can help
Now, we come to the part where we tell you that your tenant-to-tenant migration doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think.
With ShareGate’s migration tool, you can start your migration in minutes. It does it all: SharePoint, Teams, Planner, and Exchange Online migrations.
The tool sets you up for success with pre-migration features. These include a Source analysis report, which provides an inventory of everything you need to migrate and identifies any potential issues that you might encounter during your migration so you can fix them before you start.
It’s simple and flexible. You can migrate everything simultaneously or in phases, especially for large and complex migrations.
The Source analysis report will estimate how long your migration will take so you can plan the best approach and timing for your migration to minimize the impact on your operations.
With ShareGate, prepping for your migration is fast and easy, with the ability to fully customize your migration setup to ensure your target environment is configured just how you want it.
For example, you can map permission levels, site templates, users, properties, and content types, flatten folder hierarchies, limit version histories, find and replace illegal characters, and extract and assign document properties as metadata—all of which would take an enormous amount of time to do manually.
“The effort would quadruple if we had to do everything manually… it almost couldn’t be done without ShareGate.”—Doug Punchak, Application Development Manager, Avvenire Solutions.
During your migration, ShareGate’s migration tool will log every success, warning, and error that occurs, providing a comprehensive migration report when the migration is complete. This will allow you to address any issues arising during the process more quickly.
You can also get additional, very granular reports that will help you further clean up and secure your destination tenant and reorganize and manage it after the migration if you need to.
Minimize risk and recapture your ROI
Every IT professional out there knows the potential risks of operating in the cloud. And, despite its robust, industry-leading security features, Microsoft 365 isn’t immune to the ugly specter of an IT security breach.
Now, consider all the security and compliance risks of delaying your migration. With a tool like ShareGate that eliminates almost all the heavy lifting associated with a tenant-to-tenant migration, putting it off suddenly becomes very hard to rationalize.
ShareGate enhances the security and stability of your Microsoft tenant and is very cost-effective (especially considering the lost ROI and other costs of putting off your migration). With no data cap, your IT team can migrate and reorganize content as much as they want for one fixed price.
Unparalleled support before, during, and after migration
As with any tech tool, support can make or break the user experience, which is why ShareGate has become the solution of choice for so many IT teams, both for migration support and ongoing assistance in managing the governance of their Microsoft 365 tenant post-migration.
ShareGate is all about customer success, providing unlimited, proactive support backed up by an extensive knowledge base where you can find answers fast.
ShareGate has helped make tenant-to-tenant migrations quick and painless for thousands of organizations. It has become their go-to resource for maintaining their Microsoft 365 tenants post-migration.
- 30% cost savings on licensing
- Migration time cut by 15%
- 75% reduction in the effort required for larger migrations
These are all healthy benefits—each on its own merit should be enough to warrant putting your tenant-to-tenant migration at the top of your IT to-do list. And there’s no better time than now to mark it off that list.
So, if you’re ready to finally get that tenant-to-tenant migration monkey off your back, talk to one of our experts today!