April 18, 2024

As of April 11, 2023, Microsoft will cease supporting Workplace 2013. The choice to finish help for Workplace 2013 ought to come as no shock. Over the previous a number of years, Microsoft has been slowly ending support for its one-time buy merchandise to encourage adoption of subscription-based alternate options. With all that’s altering, IT groups have loads to think about as they resolve the best way to proceed.

For a lot of organizations, transitioning to Microsoft 365—the cloud-based productiveness suite that can really feel most acquainted to Workplace 2013 customers—makes essentially the most sense. Nevertheless, no matter which suite corporations swap to, migrating to a brand new answer requires cautious planning and consideration. To tell their choice, IT leaders ought to determine the alternatives and challenges forward and perceive one of the best practices to observe for profitable migrations.

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Advantages of switching to a contemporary productiveness

Although end-of-life transitions will be disruptive for companies and finish customers, the shift will profit some enterprises. Since instruments like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are cloud-based, customers get all of the bells and whistles from the most recent model of the software program as an alternative of being caught with the options out there from the one-time funding. IT groups that swap to a cloud-based choice received’t need to pay for periodic upgrades of bodily software program or miss out on the latest-and-greatest options since they’ll get the newest model mechanically with their subscription.

Past having essentially the most up-to-date instruments at their fingertips, corporations will profit from enhanced safety protocols. With Microsoft 365, corporations can reap the benefits of the most recent options Microsoft provides. As IT leaders know, safety is advanced and doubtlessly costly from a value and administration standpoint. Having the ability to leverage Microsoft’s appreciable assets and experience—reasonably than managing safety internally—is a major benefit.

Challenges of transitioning from Workplace 2013

Switching to a complete new productiveness suite isn’t with out its potential issues. Software program end-of-life deadlines usually pressure corporations to make an unplanned transfer as an alternative of a proactive change—which may imply the migration course of is lower than splendid. Enterprises can even must expend funds to entry Microsoft 365 or one other enterprise productiveness software program. They’ll additionally need to steadiness the price of coaching staff on the brand new system and decreased productiveness as staff alter to the brand new platform.

Regardless of the disruption that comes with transitioning to a brand new productiveness suite, the dangers of continuous to make use of Workplace 2013 past its finish of help are far better. Utilizing a product that’s not being up to date or supported could appear to be a great way to keep away from added expense and headache, however it could possibly really trigger greater issues down the road. Going with out software program updates and help means bugs received’t get mounted, which implies potential publicity to safety points. If one thing doesn’t work correctly in Workplace 2013 after help ends, Microsoft received’t have the ability to assist.

Given some great benefits of Microsoft 365 and different cloud-based choices, migrating to a brand new productiveness suite is a brilliant long-term funding. However migrations aren’t at all times simple or easy. Implementing a change that requires an enormous adjustment in the best way folks work may trigger extra resistance and end in frustration, points finishing duties and decreased adoption charges. Understanding what to anticipate forward of time might help counter these points.

What to anticipate earlier than migrating

First, perceive that shifting from Workplace 2013 to Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace means a shift from a software program buy mannequin to a subscription-based mannequin. A shift in fee strategy may have an effect on firm money movement and funds, so the enterprise could must flag this for his or her accounting division.

One other essential consideration earlier than starting a migration is how different inside techniques will probably be impacted by the transition. Take into account if and the way essential plug-ins and important instruments will work with the brand new answer. For instance, corporations that leverage a instrument like Salesforce will need to know the way the combination will probably be impacted by a brand new instrument.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the worth of preparation and coaching. Taking the time to arrange for the migration and develop a practical coaching strategy is important to success. Earlier than getting began, IT leaders ought to search for locations the answer may have issues throughout the improve, to allow them to deal with them prematurely. If wanted, IT groups can put alternate instruments in place that might both exchange particular functionalities or function an alternate answer.

As soon as the brand new productiveness suite has been chosen, IT workers can use the next steerage to make sure the migration course of is easy.

Plan forward

Planning is essential to seamlessly migrate from one ecosystem to a different, since no two ecosystems are utterly similar. Upfront of the migration, IT professionals ought to achieve a agency understanding of the variations between Workplace 2013 and the brand new answer. This data will probably be helpful for creating coaching applications and lifelike, complete migration timelines. It additionally provides IT leaders time to unravel any compatibility points that would come up between the brand new instrument and current integrations the corporate depends on.

By creating a plan, IT workers can gauge how a lot information must be moved, the place it must be moved and what timeframe it must be moved in. “Finally, corporations can depend on the the channel to help finish customers throughout this course of—serving to them to extra precisely plan their information migration, so no issues come up,” stated Lon Clark, international channel gross sales director at BitTitan. “With correct planning and procedures in place, finish customers can mitigate dangers and setbacks that may happen with migrations, serving to to make sure day by day operations don’t get disrupted and permit them the chance to plan for the change forward.

Pilot with totally different teams

Planning forward additionally permits time to pilot the brand new software program with inside customers to see what hiccups emerge and alter accordingly. IT leads can conduct pilots with totally different teams throughout the group—reminiscent of HR, accounting, gross sales, and so forth.—and compile findings to uncover widespread ache factors. Outcomes must be shared extensively, in order that persons are conscious of challenges they might encounter and really feel like they’re a part of the method of selecting the brand new answer.

Predict surprises

If the pilot section reveals that almost all of the corporate will not be proud of the brand new suite, IT leaders can think about an alternate choice. As an example, some corporations could uncover that shifting to a browser-based answer merely doesn’t work for the group and impedes staff from being productive. Choosing the proper answer from the get-go prevents potential roadblocks and can save corporations cash in the long term.

Procure the correct instruments

Migration instruments can function lifelines to make sure the transition is profitable and minimally disruptive for finish customers. The advantage of utilizing a migration answer is that IT groups received’t must expend extra time and vitality studying the best way to carry out the migration. Migration options are additionally designed by specialists, leaving much less room for error within the course of.

Put together staff

Accessible, company-wide coaching is without doubt one of the most essential components of a migration. As soon as the corporate has migrated to the brand new answer, IT groups ought to provide trainings to staff who aren’t conversant in it. This can guarantee everyone seems to be on the identical web page and conscious of what’s altering. It additionally creates a deeper understanding of what it means to change platforms and the way workflows could change with the brand new instrument. Coaching must also embody assets and ongoing help that staff can use as wanted throughout the transition.

Laying the groundwork now

With help for Workplace 2013 ending in only a couple months, IT groups can start laying the groundwork to transition to a different productiveness suite. Cloud-based choices provide extra safety and simpler cross-team collaboration, along with giving enterprises entry to the latest-and-greatest model of the platform. Making ready prematurely and following greatest practices will shield corporations from widespread challenges that would hinder the success of their migration.

By Frank Suglia, VP of technical companies at BitTitan