Estimate Your Office 365 Migration Cost: 7 Critical Pricing Factors

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You’ve crunched the numbers and chosen to move to Office 365 for reduced hardware costs and greater productivity power. But when price shopping, you discover what you budgeted for and the Office 365 migration cost are two different numbers.

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So what are you missing when estimating the cost of your Office 365 migration?

7 Factors That Influence Your Office 365 Migration Cost

It’s easy to misjudge the size and complexity of migrating to Office 365. Syncing identities and integrating services like OneDrive or Skype for Business (now Microsoft Teams) can inflate your Office 365 migration cost if moving from another vendor. When pricing your Office 365 migration, here are some factors that could affect your bill:

1. Mailboxes

Most cloud migration companies price projects on a sliding cost per mailbox scale. Migrating 10 mailboxes might start around $50 each then decrease as you add more. The more mailboxes you have, the lower cost per mailbox you’ll pay. But every migration company prices mailboxes differently.

Here are three popular Office 365 mailbox pricing models you might encounter:

Higher cost per mailbox to account for unforeseen issues 

Email migrations can be complicated, especially if the migration specialist isn’t prepared. Some Office 365 migration companies bake extra costs into the price per mailbox to cover those unexpected roadblocks.

Low cost per mailbox but inevitable change orders

Others offer a lower cost per mailbox but tack on costly change orders every time a new challenge arises. This can seriously inflate the total migration cost and cause lengthy project delays. Or, a company might charge less per mailbox because they don’t offer critical project success factors like user training and change management.

But switching from legacy systems to a cloud platform like Office 365 will completely change the way your employees work — from where and how they access email to the policies in place. User and admin training is a must-have for your project.

Time and materials estimate

Some migration companies use T&M pricing and provide time estimates per mailbox. But the actual project cost rarely matches the initial price estimate. This can put you in a dangerous position if migration issues come up.

Always ask to see the project roadmap and learn how the company plans for unanticipated issues (because they will arise).

Agile IT has performed thousands of Office 365 migrations with 100 percent success. Our project discovery process and detailed project roadmap account for virtually every migration misstep possible. That’s why we’re able to offer fixed-price migrations, which include change management, training and 60-day support.

Read more about our Office 365 consulting services.

2. Archives

When migrating, you’ll likely have mailboxes left over from past employees. Instead of migrating these mailboxes, you can archive instead.

In most cases, Microsoft treats archived mailboxes like separate mailboxes and require licenses to migrate them to Office 365, elevating the total project cost.

Compare Office 365 licenses here.

3. Public Folders

If you’re using on-premises Exchange, you likely have public folders to share mail, calendars contacts and distribution lists across specific groups in your company. But migrating public folders in a hybrid migration is a tedious, manual process that will increase your migration costs.

If you’re performing a cutover Office 365 migration, you still have to purchase a license for public folders. Prices are based on 10 GB of data, so migration costs can get expensive if your data exceeds this limit.

4. Compliance Issues

If you comply with legal hold policies, you’ll need to preserve and migrate more data than a typical company.

For instance, regulatory compliance might require you to archive and migrate all ex-employee mailboxes to the cloud — even if they’re no longer in use. These extra mailboxes can also increase your Office 365 migration cost.

For additional storage, you might want to migrate to a cloud platform like Azure. You’ll also incur additional costs for getting that data to the cloud.

Some organizations over-preserve data to avoid potential legal issues. Your Office 365 migration specialist should help evaluate your storage processes and define what you can delete to cut down migration costs.

5. Migration Source Location

Where you’re migrating from also affects the cost of your migration. If you’re coming from an older version of on-premises Exchange (2010 and below), you’ll have to upgrade before migrating to Office 365. This involves an extra step and cost to migrate to Office 365.

Moving from outside email servers typically requires a migration tool that you’ll also need to budget for.

6. Identity Integration

When migrating to Office 365, you’ll need to consider how user identities will sync with the cloud. Cloud migration companies often overlook the complexity involved in integrating identities, which could lead to unexpected costs. You have a few options for identity integration. First is transitioning identities to the cloud using Azure Active Directory as the identity source for your organization. You could also use on-premises Active Directory and sync identities to Azure AD using a directory synchronization tool like Azure AD Connect.

The third option is federated identity. You use directory synchronization but also enlist a federation service like ADFS or a third-party service to authenticate users and enable access to cloud services.

Syncing identities also becomes more complicated and costly when you have:

  • A multi-forest setup
  • Multiple organizations involved in the migration
  • Identities in different locations
  • No mail attributes
  • A different UPN and email address

7. Email Domains

You could have multiple email domains for a number of reasons. If you’ve recently acquired another organization or own many, each company could have its own email domain, complicating the migration.

Bear in mind that cloud migration companies charge extra for multiple email domains. Each domain requires its own set of unique, independent processes.

Estimating your Office 365 migration cost isn’t always straightforward, and many other factors could affect your final bill.

But a successful migration hinges on how well Office 365 integrates into your business. When evaluating service providers, make sure they’ve accounted for the issues above and offer migration support and change management to seamlessly transition your company to the platform. Looking for trusted assistance for your Office 365 migration? Contact Agile IT today for a free quote.