Enterprise Challenges with Traditional Content/Collaboration Platforms
The need for efficient, effective, and secure enterprise content and collaboration capabilities has been widely understood for several decades and is now more business-critical than ever before. Even with the global success of traditional on-premises platforms such as Notes/Domino and SharePoint, however, it’s rare to encounter enterprises that have fully attained their content/collaboration goals while using traditional on-premises deployments.
In most enterprises using on-premises platforms, information workers still can’t easily find all of the content required for their work activities. Recent enterprise new-hires are perplexed about why their employer-provided tools seem archaic when compared with the tools they routinely use outside of work (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) to collaborate and share content with others. Employees increasingly relying on smartphones and tablets to communicate, collaborate, and share content are routinely frustrated by the lack of modern and full-featured mobile versions of traditional enterprise tools.
As a result of these and other common content/collaboration challenges, many enterprise end users have opted to disregard IT-recommended tools and to instead rely on alternatives including consumer-oriented cloud services that often don’t meet enterprise requirements, creating additional content control and collaboration challenges.
New Content/Collaboration Opportunities with Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 provides an opportunity to address these mission-critical content/collaboration challenges. It’s a rapidly-evolving cloud platform that combines the best of traditional content/collaboration platforms with a compelling set of new tools and services that represent enterprise-focused adaptations of tools and user experiences recently popularized by leading consumer-oriented content/collaboration services. Building on a foundation of Azure infrastructure services, Exchange, SharePoint, and the latest Office productivity application innovations, Office 365 is uniquely well-positioned to help enterprises overcome traditional content/collaboration challenges.
Office 365 represents much more than just public cloud-hosted versions of traditional Exchange and SharePoint releases. It adds innovations including:
Groups: a simpler and better-integrated option, compared to traditional SharePoint team sites, for sharing project- or topic-related conversations, documents, calendar entries, and notes
Delve: a new search and discovery tool, powered by the Office Graph, that makes content stored in a variety of systems seamlessly and securely accessible
OneDrive for Business: an enterprise-optimized cloud sharing service that greatly simplifies secure document sharing and workflow
Power BI: an interactive business intelligence and analytics solution that democratizes the power of leading-edge data analytics and visualization techniques
Office 365 also seamlessly incorporates capabilities from OneNote, Azure Active Directory, and many other tools and services, in a consistent and modern user experience that’s simpler than earlier Office generations and readily accessible to people who have used leading consumer Internet services for their personal activities. Office 365 also supports the leading mobile device platforms, making it possible for users to fully leverage communication, collaboration, and content resources from their smartphones and tablets.
Many of the innovations in Office 365 are exclusively cloud-based, taking full advantage of Microsoft’s “hyper-scale” network of data centers around the world. Microsoft offers hybrid deployment options, such as the ability to include some types of on-premises documents in the Office Graph, but new tools including Groups and Delve require Azure and Office 365 infrastructure services that won’t be scaled-down to on-premises deployment scenarios.
As a result, enterprises seeking to fully leverage the latest content/collaboration advances from Microsoft are primarily focused on Office 365, with reduced and refined roles for traditional on-premises deployments. Achieving complete success with Office 365, however, requires optimizing and migrating enterprise content/collaboration resources already deployed on traditional platforms, in order to get the most value from Groups, Delve, OneDrive, and other Office 365 tools and services.
Leveraging the New Office 365 Content/Collaboration Opportunities
Migrating content and collaborative resources to Office 365 can be a daunting task, especially for enterprises with thousands (or tens of thousands) of document workspaces and applications deployed on more than one legacy platform. In order to fully leverage the new opportunities, enterprises need to be able to:
Conduct a comprehensive, efficient, and secure inventory of deployed content and collaborative applications: CASAHL’s Pre-Migration Assessment service addresses this need, supporting multiple source platform types (SharePoint, Notes/Domino, file systems, Exchange public folders, file-sharing services including Box and Google Drive, and CMIS-compliant ECM systems) and using automated tools to produce complete inventories of deployed applications along with application-level complexity and traffic ratings and target technology recommendations. The Assessment service also identifies and consolidates applications based on common templates, often significantly reducing the overall migration project scope.
Build stakeholder consensus: different collaborative applications are often maintained by people who rarely (if ever) directly work together, so it’s critically important to get all stakeholders on the same page and to factor in qualitative assessment input before finalizing migration plan priorities. CASAHL’s DART Dashboard is a collaborative solution, populated by the results of a Pre-Migration Assessment exercise, that efficiently fosters stakeholder collaboration.
Support multiple target tools/services: migrating traditional content/collaboration content and collaborative applications requires full support for new Office 365 capabilities such as Groups and Delve; simply migrating legacy applications as-is only serves to perpetuate historical limitations. The CASAHL DART product suite supports targets including the new Office 365 tools as well as a wide range of database technologies, all with a highly automated approach that scales to support the largest enterprise migration projects.
Disaggregate and recompose legacy collaborative apps: many of the tools and services bundled into legacy platforms are now redundant with Office 365 and Azure infrastructure services, and Office 365 offers a compelling set of new tools for collaborative application developers. CASAHL’s Application Recomposition service combines CASAHL’s tool suite with domain expert consultants to provide a turn-key solution for complex collaborative application migration. End-to-end automation is key to Application Recomposition, as more manual alternatives result in far more expensive and unpredictable migration projects.
Seamlessly support integration requirements: most enterprises use multi-phase migration projects, sequenced by stakeholder priorities and business needs. Having seamless integration between legacy and new collaborative applications minimizes disruption during the transition period. It’s also advantageous to be able to more flexibly integrate collaborative applications with other enterprise resources, including SaaS applications and database management systems and services. Application recomposition, for example, can result in having a collaborative application disaggregated, with large tables migrated to database services such as Azure SQL Database rather than a new collaborative application, and with integration services used to automate synchronization between the enterprise resources and collaborative applications. This approach makes it possible to fully optimize the use of enterprise content resources while also maximizing simplicity for collaborative application developers. CASAHL’s ecKnowledge platform, part of the DART product suite, addresses both types of integration with a unified solution.
CASAHL has also developed a suite of helper tools to automate common enterprise migration patterns, further simplifying and streamlining migration projects by addressing source- and target-specific capabilities and generating, executing, and monitoring ecKnowledge tasks. By applying insights gained during thousands of successful migration projects worldwide and incorporated into this highly-automated approach, CASAHL is able to leverage its DART platform and helper tools to dramatically reduce migration costs and project durations, compared to more manual migration alternatives.
In terms of engagement model options, CASAHL typically handles the full migration lifecycle, optionally partnering with systems integrators when customers have a preferred SI vendor. CASAHL also offers a Fixed-Fee Migration service option, for enterprises seeking to quickly migrate a subset of high-priority sites and applications with a low-cost and low-risk solution. FFM is often the initial step in a multi-phase migration project.
Enterprise customers also have the option of licensing and deploying the DART product suite on their own, for complex migration projects that entail protracted integration capabilities, or to facilitate comprehensive and continuous monitoring of content/collaboration deployments. CASAHL offers training and support resources for enterprise customers preferring self-managed deployments.
The most common pattern, however, even for Office 365 migration projects involving huge collections of content and application resources spread across multiple systems (often a mix of Notes/Domino, traditional SharePoint, and Google Apps), is for CASAHL’s team of domain experts to directly handle the end-to-end migration project, optionally working with customers’ preferred systems integrators.
To recap, Office 365 represents an unprecedented opportunity for enterprises to dramatically improve their content and collaboration. CASAHL is a migration specialist that has been exclusively focused on addressing related requirements for more than twenty years, and the CASAHL DART solution makes it possible to cost-effectively and quickly leverage the full power of Office 365 by optimizing and migrating previously-deployed content and collaborative applications from a wide variety of traditional platforms as well as services such as Box and Google Drive. Please visit https://casahl.com/ for more details on how CASAHL’s solutions can help you fully leverage your Office 365 investment.