Well, in the end we decided to hold off on the Office 365 decision, at my recommendation. It really came down to what was best for the company right now.
There are important lessons here:
- Do your due diligence, investigate the options, speak to multiple vendors - you will learn something, and might even be able to save the company some serious money
- If you don't have the time to do one migration, don't try and do three at once
- As an admin, you only see a small part of the picture - get everyone (all stakeholders, as they say) involved IN PERSON
- MS Project - get all PM stakeholders involved IN PERSON to decide what the company really needs - there are other (and much cheaper) alternatives
- If you don't have the budget for a migration tool, you should revisit the impetus to migrate
Regarding the last point - no, you don't NEED a migration tool. Here's another list:
- If you don't have the budget - will you ever? Are you trying to rush without some sort of migration aid?
- Have you ever successfully completed a migration of this scale with these exact products before?
- What is your back-out plan?
- How much time do you have invested in user training?
- Do you even have a project plan?
Of course, if you have sub-50 users, this probably doesn't apply...maybe even sub-100 users. But from my experience as soon as you get out of the 25-50 user range things start to become 'serious business'. If you don't have the time to do this correctly and properly, you should reconsider the decision. If you can plan and train properly but are crunched for time - you NEED a migration tool. The benefits to management should be fairly clear - zero to very little service impact, greatly reduced time to migrate, and most tools come with professional support.
Good times...migrations are, in my experience, the most involving of IT admin tasks mainly because it requires so much person-to-person interaction (whatever that is) and meetings. Whee.