Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Work from Home’s Impact on Calendaring/Email and IT’s budget

A consulting company with 100 employees was running a legacy version of Exchange using a VPN to their work from home users.  Their VPN expense average cost was $200/mo/user.  They tested the “free” Microsoft migration tools.  Moving email would take a month.  They considered migrating PSTs in bulk, but the bulk upload turn-around was ten days.  Losing ten days was unacceptable. HYBRID deployment?  Too complicated and arduous for them to even get through the manual.

Free was not an acceptable solution.

What did Sumatra do? 

  • We completed the cut-over from Exchange 2010 to Office 365 during a twelve-hour outage window.  
  • For email, we used imapsync to migrate about 500GB of email. Two weeks before cut-over, we synchronized email between the legacy and Office 365 and then managed a continuous sync to keep their email up-to-date. This reduced server loads, and ensured all email migrated during the cut-over window.   
  • For Calendars, tasks, contacts, we used a Sumatra’s eCalReader to migrate calendars, contacts, and tasks.  All was accomplished during the Friday-night cut-over.

The bottom line Sumatra migrated 100 users in eight hours -- with little involvement from IT.  The customer said Sumatra saved them $100,000/year in expense.

The uncertainty around Covid changed the Sumatra’s customers support their end users. It was a nightmare when IT reconfigured everything so end users could work from home (WFH).  For non Office365 customers, costs included VPN connections at $50-$200/month/user.  Their CFOs realized a Microsoft Office365 license ($12.50-$20.00/month) would save thousands!

There are five themes that run through the inquiries we’ve received and what we've l;earned from our customers in the last few months. 

  1. Cost: The VPN expense is killing IT budgets.  CFOs want to migrate to Office 365 ASAP.
  2. WFH Timeframe: Customers expect employees will WFH for the next six to 12 months.  
  3. Legacy servers and VPN are an expensive way to support WFH.  They both have to go.
  4. Microsoft Office 365’s “Free” migration tools take weeks to complete.  They leave current email/calendar data behind!  
  5. Third party solutions are expensive and don’t move calendars!!

What are customers asking for? Everyone who calls us for help wants:

  • Migration done over a weekend not a month;
  • Migrate ALL CURRENT DATA.  And not just email.  Calendars, contacts, and tasks from legacy(*) on-premises Exchange 2Kxx calendaring and collaboration solutions to Office 365.   
  • The migration cut-over outage limited to overnight or at most during a weekend.:

* Legacy products are pretty much anything except Microsoft Office 365 at this point.  Google calendar is a dark horse, but our experience is anyone who's already gone for Google doesn't want to actually pay to move out.

The other thing we've learned is that imapsync is excellent at the sort of last minute touch-up work that invariably needs to get done: synchronizing a few folders or mailboxes.