As of April 11, 2023, Microsoft will cease supporting Workplace 2013. The choice to finish assist for Workplace 2013 ought to come as no shock. Over the previous a number of years, Microsoft has been slowly ending support for its one-time buy merchandise to encourage adoption of subscription-based alternate options. With all that’s altering, IT groups have lots to contemplate as they resolve learn how to proceed.
For a lot of organizations, transitioning to Microsoft 365—the cloud-based productiveness suite that may really feel most acquainted to Workplace 2013 customers—makes probably the most sense. Nevertheless, no matter which suite corporations swap to, migrating to a brand new resolution requires cautious planning and consideration. To tell their determination, IT leaders ought to determine the alternatives and challenges forward and perceive the very best practices to comply with for profitable migrations.
Advantages of switching to a contemporary productiveness
Although end-of-life transitions may be disruptive for companies and finish customers, the shift will profit some enterprises. Since instruments like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are cloud-based, customers get all of the bells and whistles from the newest model of the software program as an alternative of being caught with the options out there from the one-time funding. IT groups that swap to a cloud-based possibility gained’t must pay for periodic upgrades of bodily software program or miss out on the latest-and-greatest options since they’ll get the newest model routinely with their subscription.
Past having probably the most up-to-date instruments at their fingertips, corporations will profit from enhanced safety protocols. With Microsoft 365, corporations can benefit from the newest options Microsoft affords. As IT leaders know, safety is complicated and doubtlessly costly from a value and administration standpoint. With the ability to leverage Microsoft’s appreciable assets and experience—moderately than managing safety internally—is a big benefit.
Challenges of transitioning from Workplace 2013
Switching to an entire new productiveness suite isn’t with out its potential issues. Software program end-of-life deadlines typically drive corporations to make an unplanned transfer as an alternative of a proactive change—which might imply the migration course of is lower than ultimate. Enterprises can even have to expend funds to entry Microsoft 365 or one other enterprise productiveness software program. They’ll additionally must stability the price of coaching staff on the brand new system and decreased productiveness as staff regulate to the brand new platform.
Regardless of the disruption that comes with transitioning to a brand new productiveness suite, the dangers of constant to make use of Workplace 2013 past its finish of assist are far better. Utilizing a product that’s not being up to date or supported could look like a great way to keep away from added expense and headache, however it will possibly truly trigger greater issues down the road. Going with out software program updates and assist means bugs gained’t get fastened, which implies potential publicity to safety points. If one thing doesn’t work correctly in Workplace 2013 after assist ends, Microsoft gained’t be capable to assist.
Given the benefits of Microsoft 365 and different cloud-based choices, migrating to a brand new productiveness suite is a brilliant long-term funding. However migrations aren’t at all times straightforward or simple. Implementing a change that requires an enormous adjustment in the way in which folks work might trigger extra resistance and end in frustration, points finishing duties and decreased adoption charges. Figuring out what to anticipate forward of time might help counter these points.
What to anticipate earlier than migrating
First, perceive that transferring from Workplace 2013 to Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace means a shift from a software program buy mannequin to a subscription-based mannequin. A shift in cost method might have an effect on firm money circulate and funds, so the enterprise could have to flag this for his or her accounting division.
One other vital consideration earlier than starting a migration is how different inner programs will probably be impacted by the transition. Take into account if and the way essential plug-ins and important instruments will work with the brand new resolution. For instance, corporations that leverage a device like Salesforce will need to understand how the combination will probably be impacted by a brand new device.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the worth of preparation and coaching. Taking the time to arrange for the migration and develop a practical coaching method is important to success. Earlier than getting began, IT leaders ought to search for locations the answer might have issues through the improve, to allow them to deal with them prematurely. If wanted, IT groups can put alternate instruments in place that will both change particular functionalities or function an alternate resolution.
As soon as the brand new productiveness suite has been chosen, IT workers can use the next steering to make sure the migration course of is clean.
Planning is vital to seamlessly migrate from one ecosystem to a different, since no two ecosystems are fully similar. Upfront of the migration, IT professionals ought to acquire a agency understanding of the variations between Workplace 2013 and the brand new resolution. This data will probably be helpful for growing coaching applications and life like, complete migration timelines. It additionally offers IT leaders time to resolve any compatibility points that might come up between the brand new device and current integrations the corporate depends on.
By growing a plan, IT workers can gauge how a lot knowledge must be moved, the place it must be moved and what timeframe it must be moved in. “In the end, corporations can depend on the the channel to assist finish customers throughout this course of—serving to them to extra precisely plan their knowledge migration, so no issues come up,” stated Lon Clark, international channel gross sales director at BitTitan. “With correct planning and procedures in place, finish customers can mitigate dangers and setbacks that may happen with migrations, serving to to make sure every day operations don’t get disrupted and permit them the chance to plan for the change forward.”
Pilot with completely different teams
Planning forward additionally permits time to pilot the brand new software program with inner customers to see what hiccups emerge and regulate accordingly. IT leads can conduct pilots with completely different teams inside the group—equivalent to HR, accounting, gross sales, and many others.—and compile findings to uncover frequent ache factors. Outcomes must be shared extensively, in order that persons are conscious of challenges they could encounter and really feel like they’re a part of the method of selecting the brand new resolution.
If the pilot part reveals that almost all of the corporate is just not proud of the brand new suite, IT leaders can contemplate an alternate possibility. For example, some corporations could uncover that shifting to a browser-based resolution merely doesn’t work for the group and impedes staff from being productive. Choosing the proper resolution from the get-go prevents potential roadblocks and can save corporations cash in the long term.
Procure the appropriate instruments
Migration instruments can function lifelines to make sure the transition is profitable and minimally disruptive for finish customers. The good thing about utilizing a migration resolution is that IT groups gained’t have to expend further time and power studying learn how to carry out the migration. Migration options are additionally designed by specialists, leaving much less room for error within the course of.
Put together staff
Accessible, company-wide coaching is without doubt one of the most vital parts of a migration. As soon as the corporate has migrated to the brand new resolution, IT groups ought to provide trainings to staff who aren’t acquainted with it. It will guarantee everyone seems to be on the identical web page and conscious of what’s altering. It additionally creates a deeper understanding of what it means to modify platforms and the way workflows could change with the brand new device. Coaching also needs to embrace assets and ongoing assist that staff can use as wanted through the transition.
Laying the groundwork now
With assist for Workplace 2013 ending in only a couple months, IT groups can start laying the groundwork to transition to a different productiveness suite. Cloud-based choices provide extra safety and simpler cross-team collaboration, along with giving enterprises entry to the latest-and-greatest model of the platform. Making ready prematurely and following greatest practices will defend corporations from frequent challenges that might hinder the success of their migration.
By Frank Suglia, VP of technical companies at BitTitan