A SMART Guide to Starting a Migration Project

Planning an Enterprise Email Migration ProjectWhen an enterprise is ready to tackle an email migration project, it’s easy to forget about the planning. After all, don’t all of the great products available today make it a snap? Well, yes…and not quite.

To ensure a successful migration, you will need to think about more than just purchasing a migration product to copy or move the mailboxes from your source to the target platform. There’s a lot of planning involved, and you want to make sure you have the appropriate team in place to manage your transition from one platform to another. So how do you make sure you’re going down the right path?

Select A Trusted Advisor to Guide Your Plan
To guide your transformation, we recommend that you leverage a trusted advisor with a long history in performing enterprise migrations -- one that understands the many processes and technology issues that come into play. The advisor’s guidance will be critical in developing, and executing on, a well-thought-out migration plan.

Create a Plan that Addresses the Challenges to Migration
The next step is to create the plan for your migration project that includes all the necessary items to be executed. There are many factors to consider when embarking on a migration, or transition, from one platform to another, and you need to account for as many of them as possible in your plan.

For instance, what are the differences between these technologies? How will your users take advantage of the new technology to maximize productivity and improve efficiency? As part of your planning process, make sure you have identified your users’ needs and wants, as well as putting a user training program in place.

Another important piece is the migration architecture, including the number of machines you’ll need, as well as where they’ll need to be placed in order to support the number of users you wish to migrate at a specific time. And don’t forget to plan for coexistence so your migrated and non-migrated users will be able to seamlessly work together throughout your migration initiative.

If your company is on IBM/Lotus Notes and wants to transition to Microsoft Exchange or Office 365, one of your biggest challenges is the user base has become accustomed to the Notes client and may have little or no experience using the Outlook client. Providing the users training prior to migrating them will be critical.

Another challenge for Notes-to-Exchange migrations is how to approach the large number of Notes applications you have accumulated over the years. While you can migrate the content of some of these applications to SharePoint or other Microsoft technologies, others will be more challenging and may need to be completely re-developed or may need to remain on Notes indefinitely. This should not deter your efforts, because you can move your email without moving all of the Notes applications and there are companies, like Binary Tree, who can supply a Domino-to-Exchange coexistence solution during the transition period.

Assemble a Team to Manage the Migration
Another of the key factors to a successful migration project is having the appropriate team members in place to execute the migration plan. The ideal team should consist of people from different parts of the company. Even if your company is small, there should be one key person who manages the project and can appropriately inform and train users regarding the migration. A third-party partner may also provide project management or architect skills, as well as become the liaison to the business owner.

The most important migration project roles include:
  • Project Manager: To keep the team in check and on track
  • Business Project Manager: To be the liaison between project team and the users
  • Migration Architect: To act as the lead for the migration infrastructure and be responsible for all necessary documentation
  • Migration Administrators: To run the migrations
  • Help Desk Support: To train and respond to users, or perhaps act as floor walkers during a migration
  • Notes Administrator: To handle the originating platform
  • Exchange Architect: To design the target environment
  • Exchange Administrator: To handle the target platform


From our perspective at Binary Tree, our most successful engagements have an experienced project manager in place that keeps everyone in line regarding all the tasks and moving parts. We also like to have some members of the client team experienced in these types of projects, as they can bring their knowledge to the table to ensure nothing is overlooked.

There’s no need to take on this type of project alone—this may be your one and only migration! Companies like Binary Tree, and our certified partners, stand ready and willing to assist you with your project and can ensure you have a successful transition to your new platform—and most importantly, a successful transformation from your users’ point of view.

Bottom line:
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a migration plan in place. Yes, these projects are challenging, but if you have the right plan and team in place, and a trusted partner by your side, your execution will be easier and you’ll experience less user disruption.


Looking for more advice on planning a migration? Watch our on-demand webcast…
The SMART Guide to Planning an Enterprise Email Migration