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The Costly Forgotten Question: Archiving to the Cloud

As more and more customers opt to move e-mail to the cloud, there is a very important question that partners may forget to ask -- but they only forget once.

Not asking for the details about the company's e-mail archive system can be a painful and costly oversight. While transitioning an enterprise or midsize organization e-mail to the cloud takes careful planning, migrating e-mail archives requires in-depth knowledge combined with years of experience.

The Shift to Cloud   
Bishop Technologies got into the e-mail archiving business over 10 years ago, when Microsoft Exchange mailbox limits drove the business requirement. Exchange's purpose was to manage e-mail traffic, not store it. For compliance and discovery purposes, businesses had to enlist the help of archiving solutions.  

"Fast-forward to today. Microsoft is essentially offering e-mail archiving in the cloud at no cost," noted J.R. Haag, VP of North American sales at Bishop. "There is a dramatic shift. Customers want to move archived data into the cloud."

Since Microsoft does not offer the services to enable those migrations, they look to partners with a history in data archiving like Bishop to help. "Microsoft wants to work with partners that can demonstrate a clearly defined process," Haag added. "They want to set customer expectations from the start."

The Critical Question
Partners working in the enterprise space are likely prepared for the archive data discussion, but the question should be asked before quoting any Office 365 migration: "Do you have an existing archive system? And if yes, what is it?" The second part of the question is as important as the first.

While there are tools to help partners migrate live data from Exchange to Office 365, moving archive data is an entirely different process. Many of the e-mail archiving systems are built on proprietary systems. "These are very complex, time-consuming migrations," explained Haag. "Partners should do their research and find an archiving specialist that knows the source and knows the target. There are probably six firms in the world that can do these migrations. Bishop is one of them."

Expanding Opportunities
For both Microsoft and the partner, there is a huge benefit to helping customers house legacy data in Office 365, whether they are using it for live e-mail or not. The commitment to the platform opens the door for limitless opportunities in add on services.

As companies need to search across all of their data, both structured and unstructured, including legacy information simplifies the search and discovery experience. The ability to search data across Exchange, SharePoint and Lync supports legal, compliance and governance activities. This centralization delivers on the promise of the cloud for customers and provides the key to more services for partners.

The Partnering Win-Win
Migrating archived data into the Office 365 environment is not a job for the uninitiated, but the service can build a stronger relationship with your customer. Avoid surprises by asking about legacy archives proactively with full confidence that you can deliver a solution. Partner with an experienced expert, like Bishop, to migrate the legacy data and then build additional opportunities for your business through data management services. A win-win for you and the customer.

How are you adding value to Office 365? Add a comment below or drop me a note and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on September 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM


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