Bringing two IT environments under one roof is an important process in any modern day merger or takeover. But it’s by no means simple. In fact, many organizations need assistance with integrating IT services when acquiring or merging companies.
If you’re overseeing the project, it’s important to understand the common pain points and stumbling blocks that stand between your business and a successful merger. Let’s explore these common difficulties and how today’s businesses can make the process of merging two environments as fast, easy, and effective as possible.
Merging Microsoft Office services
More and more organizations are using Office 365, so your merger or acquisition might require integrating two Office 365 environments. Even if it doesn’t, businesses would usually prefer a consolidated infrastructure, reduced duplication, and a single vendor to deal with.
Integration is not a painless process, however. Combining Office 365 tenants is often a major hurdle – meaning mergers can be a real headache for administrators. This is especially true for larger businesses, who may spend many weeks or months in completing a total IT merger if they choose to do it completely in-house.
There’s no simple way to perform these mergers natively within Office 365. In fact, third-party help is recommended even by Microsoft themselves.
Here are some common issues you may come across. Although not partially challenging, they can cause a lot of hassle for IT, staff, and users if not addressed:
- Passwords cannot be migrated, so they’ll need to be reset in bulk. Credentials must be updated across all devices.
- A custom domain can’t be used by two tenants at once, which results in email service downtime while each migrates.
- Manually reconfiguring Outlook for each user is a time-consuming process that’s prone to human error.
Merging companies’ on-prem environments
Merging two Office 365 environments is far preferable and easier than a merger involving physical infrastructure which, in the worst-case scenario, would be two on-premises environments.
One reason for this is because increasing the number of users in your on-prem environment requires more physical infrastructure. That means more servers and more IT staff to maintain them as well as the space to store this infrastructure – and a range of other considerations. Scaling up physical infrastructure in this way is a significant and time-consuming undertaking and requires a significant capital expenditure (CapEx).
However, by its very nature, scaling cloud infrastructure is fast, responsive, and cost-effective. That’s one of the key benefits of IT as a Service (ITaaS). It’s ready to meet any and all of your business needs – both now and as your business changes over time. It can expand and retract incrementally as your business does.
If your organization is set on a hybrid environment, bringing together both physical (such as on-premises SharePoint) and cloud services, this is even more reason to choose the help of a Microsoft Partner. They can help you to get a clear idea of all the assets available and how to make a potentially difficult integration work.
Both parties’ apps and customizations
As with all things in life, the more moving parts you have, the higher the risk of something going wrong. Merging environments is no exception. It can introduce plenty of elements to trip up on.
Most organizations use a range of customizations and third-party apps on top of environments like Office 365 and SharePoint. Multiply the number of platforms and you also multiply those additional elements – from new workflows and forms to custom business scripts and complex solutions for developers. The more platforms and endpoints in your IT ecosystem, the more things to potentially interact negatively or stop working entirely if they are neglected.
Unmanageable amounts of additional services and lurking shadow IT result in a greatly increased vector for cyberthreats and other risks. There’s compliance to consider, also: once you’ve brought all your data together, which may include sensitive items such as customer information, can you manage it all and ensure that it all meets regulatory requirements?
That’s why it’s vital to have a full inventory of everything in your new, expanded system. It prevents nasty surprises down the line and helps you to apply the same directives consistently to everything, across the board, so you stay above board.
Choosing a partner for a better IT merger
Enlisting a Microsoft Partner is often the most fast, economical and effective way to merge IT environments. But there are many to choose from, raising a further quandary: who will give you the best result?
It’s our business to ensure that you stay in control of your Office 365 and/or SharePoint environment. That means before, during, and after the integration.
Assessment is the first crucial stage of any successful IT merger, and I recommend taking a look at what Rencore has to offer. You get on-hand expertise and a full assessment to help you understand all the potential pitfalls you may face during the system merger, and all the crucial facts about the environments at play – so you can create the best possible project plan for success.