Upgrading Clouding Your Thoughts?

There has been a great deal of interest in cloud computing and, in terms of Microsoft Office, migrating to the cloud (such as Office 365 Suite and GoogleDocs) and implementing desktop virtualization has many perceived benefits such as cost reduction, scalability, reliability, and some might argue, better security.

Preparing for a cloud migration may require additional planning than a standard Microsoft Office software upgrade. In addition to the things to keep in mind for any upgrade, you must also take into consideration items such as bandwidth, compliance and security issues.

Like we always say, how you plan for an office upgrade is vital to the success of the upgrade itself. Employing sound project management principles and tools, will ensure proper scope definition of the migration, and which users might be suitable candidates to migrate to the cloud. For example, we offer a tool, DiscoverIT, which is specifically designed to help you identify all the files on your network, including files that may be shared between users, have VBA code, links and other critical data. It is also helpful in helping you gain an insightful understanding on how your employees use Office’s suite of tools.

As you consider a possible upgrade to the cloud for some or all of your Office users you may consider some of the following:

  • Start with a profile of your workforce (user segmentation) in order to understand and analyze their needs. Criteria to keep in mind when performing a user segmentation is: type of user, department, ongoing projects, and what software they use.
  • Further analyze user data, based on what licensed software is used, and who are the power users (for instance, DiscoverIT will show you how much a user works with Microsoft Office files), in order to get a comprehensive understanding of how people use their computers and Microsoft Office specifically. You may find many users “over-licensed” using full professional versions of Office, but only using a very small amount of the functionality.
  • Communication between IT and the business unit is crucial –IT should understand the processes, information and functions that the business units need. DiscoverIT provides detailed reporting on what files a user creates, when the files were last modified or accessed and also allows you to choose subsets of files or users to be migrated.
  • DiscoverIT lets you know where the files are stored and will help you choose when and which files will be converted.
  • If you choose to move to the cloud, using DiscoverIT will help you target user groups that can benefit the most from the mobility to collaborate in a cloud environment by giving employees only the features they need. Conversely, you can also identify power users that would most likely need the full rich feature set of Office and, thus not be a good choice for a cloud-based Office suite.  For example, if an employee does not need advanced options, Office 365 allows the choice of a pricing plan more suitable to his/her needs.