The most annoying part of an email system change is usually the migration process. Leading up to the event, many activities need to happen such as technical system tasks or notifying users. Here are some migration exercises that you can start long before the migration is scheduled:
Most business email inboxes end up cluttered with unnecessary messages. Ask your users to eliminate some of the messages in their inbox before the migration to reduce the amount of data that will need to be moved. Offer guidance on how data is archived and other ways to save it from email. For example, if users are saving an email because it has a necessary attachment, have them download it and save the attachment locally or to a file storage system. That way they can then delete the message from their email if it contains no other relevant information. This is also an excellent time to search for unused or duplicate user accounts that can be deleted altogether or combined with another account.
Understand the interdependencies of email and other systems. For example, changing an email might mean changing ports or system records that are in use for other applications to initiate processes or send notifications. Talk to coworkers to see if they have any off-label uses for email applications that require accommodating. It helps you determine if your data will map directly into the new system or if you need professionals to help you with the migration.
Notifications surrounding migration can easily be forgotten or overlooked until it is time to launch. If you know the system, you plan to move to, start creating drafting announcements, training materials and organizing communication activities beforehand. That will allow you more time to think about what users need to know and evaluate the level of training required.
If you will be using the same email client software, like Outlook, make sure you are running the most current version. Not only will this give you the best possible functionality, but it can also make the migration process smoother by improving communication among migration tools and other programs.
Make sure there are no passwords that are easy to guess in your system such as “password.” Encourage your users to update to a new, more secure password in anticipation of the switch. Most email hosting services now require strong passwords to fortify their system’s integrity. Since the tools hackers use to guess passwords continue to improve and get stronger, hard-to-guess passwords are a necessary security measure.