The most troublesome part of an email system change can be the migration process. Leading up to the event, there will be several activities that need to occur from technical system tasks to notifying users. Here are some migration activities that can begin long before the migration is even scheduled:
Shrink Mailboxes. Most business email mailboxes are cluttered with unnecessary messages. Asking users to reduce their mailbox size in anticipation of the migration reduces the amount of data to be moved. Include education on how data is archived and other ways to save data from email. For example, if saving an email because it has an important attachment, users can download and save the attachment locally or to a file storage system then delete the message if it contains no other pertinent information. This is also a good time to search out unused or duplicate user accounts that can be deleted or combined.
Know Your Data. Understand the inter-dependencies of email and other systems, for example changing email may mean changing ports or system records used by other applications to send notifications or initiate processes. Talk to managers to see if they have any off-label uses for email applications that need to be accommodated. This helps you determine if your data will map directly into the new system and judge the need for professionals to help you with the migration.
Plan Communication. Notifications surrounding migration are sometimes forgotten or overlooked until launch time. If you know the system you plan on moving to, you can start creating training materials, drafting announcements, and organizing communication activities early. This allows more time to think through what users need to know and assess the level of training needed.
Update Clients. If you’ll be using the same email client software, like Outlook, Entourage, Mac Mail, make sure you’re running the most recent version. Not only does this give you the best available functionality, but it can also help ease the migration process by enhancing communication with migration tools and other programs.
Password Hygiene. Make sure there are no “password” passwords or other easy-to-guess passwords in your system and encourage users to update to a secure password in anticipation of the switch. Most email hosting services require strong passwords to ensure system integrity. As the tools hackers use to guess passwords continue to improve, strong, hard-to-guess passwords are an essential security measure.
For more tips on easing the email migration process, read the article Pursue a Smooth Migration.