The Microsoft 365 platform transforms how every member of an organisation chats, emails, shares files and performs the essential tasks inherent to all corpo-rate roles. A comprehensive approach to Microsoft 365 deployment planning will ensure the efficiency, cost saving and employee satisfaction that the Microsoft 365 investment has the potential to deliver.
Widely available guidance for Microsoft 365 deploy-ments focuses on tactical matters and tasks related to the mechanics of application delivery. But because Microsoft 365 implementation touches every func-tion of the organisation and changes the working life of every user, and because Microsoft 365 moves sensitive data to the cloud, Microsoft 365 deployment planning should be considered more deeply, broadly and strategically than mere tactical application instal-lation approaches.
The focus of this paper is on considerations for the planning phase of large or complex Microsoft 365 implementations that ensure security and compliance matters are addressed, that the organisation’s users are prepared, and that technical considerations ranging from licence management to application coexistence are addressed early enough to ensure full value for the Microsoft 365 investment.
These recommendations start with stakeholders, then cover the criticality of security, legal and compliance considerations early in planning. They cover ways to ensure cohesive infrastructure and support, starting with early planning, and discuss how to overcome the resistance to change that characterises changes as all-encompassing as Microsoft 365 deployment. Lastly, the paper looks at proven, practical methods for managing a deployment program — methods that will embody the vision, success criteria, timeline and organisational change management activities that define successful Microsoft 365 deployments. For organisations that are further along — those that have launched some components of Microsoft 365 or have already commenced their implementations — the recommendations here will help to correct issues that may have begun to emerge.
Organisations may embark on Microsoft 365 deployments without having had the opportunity to recognise the platform’s profound impacts across the organisation. The Microsoft 365 deployment planning process must consider what the business requires and what the technical team needs, while giving priority to security, legal and compliance obligations above all. While this paper touches upon some tactical matters and tasks, its intent is to provide an expanded view of the more strategic, often critical aspects of successful Microsoft 365 deployment that are often overlooked.
Most organisations implement Microsoft 365 applications in discrete implementation “waves” rather than all at once. Their rationales for this may include business, technical, compliance, organisational readiness and legal considerations. In fact, some organisations may not deploy particular Microsoft 365 applications at all.
There is no one “right” way to deploy Microsoft 365, because each organisation’s deployment planning decisions must be founded in its own evaluations of its particular business model and culture, security needs, compliance obligations and legal commitments. These factors make each business unique.
The powerful adaptability of Microsoft 365 carries great potential for an organisation, but with that adaptability comes complexity. This makes planning Microsoft 365 deployment a considerable and critical task. Approaching the Microsoft 365 deployment planning process equipped with a proven approach, however, will result in secure, compliant, stable implementations and sustained organisational adoption.