Email migrations can be high-touch, high-visibility, high-stress endeavors. Virtually every person who works at a company is impacted. At Binary Tree, we produce email and active directory migration software and solutions. In the enterprise world for most of our 21 years, we started out as an IBM Lotus Notes shop. When it became apparent that momentum was with Microsoft Exchange, we went through our own transition, and now we help customers move from Notes to Exchange, from legacy Exchange to newer versions, and from on-premises to the cloud.
Though they don’t happen often, migrations can have profound impacts on an organization. Think of your employees: their email and messaging systems are central to nearly everything they do. They find one another, exchange information, collaborate on projects, set up meetings, blow off steam – all critical functions that can be disrupted by a poorly architected migration. At Binary Tree, we believe our job is to define “success” with our clients so their migrations meet their satisfaction level. While every migration is different, there are three things we always rely on to help us be successful and satisfy our customers.
1. Develop trusted advisor status by listening before advising.
Conversations with customers often start with them telling me their plan – usually to get through the migration as quickly as possible. While we could provide fast migrations, we take our role as trusted advisors very seriously. We sit down with the partners and ask them some questions – what are you hoping to achieve? Does it make sense for you to move to the cloud? What can your end users embrace and how quickly? Do you have the infrastructure to support your goals, or will you need to replace some hardware? Once we know what the jigsaw puzzle looks like, we can start putting the pieces together.
2. Trust the expertise you’ve built, but never stop learning.
But you can’t complete the puzzle if you don’t know the pieces. Because we’ve been focused on the migration space for a long time, we’re able to have conversations about moving customers from on-premises Exchange to Office 365 – we have the products and expertise to support these moves. But then customers started to talk with us about SharePoint, about moving on-prem SharePoint into Office 365 or moving portals onto SharePoint. There was clear customer demand across the Microsoft stack, so we added experts to our team, further developed our services and support offerings, and now that we’re confident we can answer the demand, we’re adding SharePoint to our solutions. Because we’ve established ourselves as trusted advisors as the stack evolved, we’re positioned to include that in our portfolio as well.
To be able to meet changing customer demand, we need to know not just current Microsoft solutions but also what’s coming next. One advantage we leverage heavily is our relationship with Microsoft.
3. Nurture your relationship with Microsoft and take advantage of the information they give you.
Microsoft provides its partners with information and guidance that help us stay ahead of the curve. For instance, thanks to our relationship with the Office 365 product team, we know that Office 365 Group’s functionality will be coming to on-prem as well. Say we have a client who has a SharePoint site and is going to Office 365 and they want to migrate on-prem information to Office 365 Groups. While not in our portfolio now, knowing what’s coming enables us to think strategically about our offerings. We can make business decisions about if and how we’ll evolve our products and services so we’re ready to cover those scenarios when we’re asked to.
Migrations can be messy, but they don’t have to be. We’ve built up a team and process that’s migrated more than 30 million users, while mitigating risk and minimizing downtime for our customers, as well as saving them time, money, and frustration. “Invisibility” is one of our most important metrics – if the migration happens so seamlessly that end users are unaware of the magnitude of the change they’ve been a part of, then we’ve been successful.
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