Migrations in a Hybrid Exchange deployment are a common strategy when moving to Exchange Online. In Migrating to Exchange Online: Why Go Hybrid, we discuss some of the key drivers for this scenario. Yet even today, these projects remain complex endeavors that require specialty hybrid consultants to properly configure and manage. Some tools from Microsoft assist with this setup - Azure Active Directory Sync, the Hybrid Configuration Wizard, and the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) - yet managing batches with hundreds or thousands of mailboxes is still a tall order.
Despite being positioned as a cost-effective strategy to adopt the cloud, hybrid project costs can quickly escalate when you consider the expensive resourcing required to staff these engagements and the average duration of this scenario. Hybrid is a good fit for enterprise-scale migrations, meaning those consultants are around for weeks or months to help ensure the project goes smoothly, quickly raising the final bill to end-users.
Through enhanced capabilities and resource savings, third-party tools offer ways for partners to limit the time and resources they spend on hybrid engagements so they can still preserve their margins and offer the end-user an easy way to manage the project on their own.
Batching Takes Time. Automate It.
Once through the initial configuration of a Hybrid Exchange environment, the first migration-related task is batching users.
Some of this is automated today via custom PowerShell scripts; however, this process quickly turns manual again when technicians are tasked with managing, editing, and tracking batches in individual CSV files.
This also doesn’t take into account delegate permissions or how to track the broader status of each batch once kicked off from the EAC. Imagine migrating a C-suite executive at a Fortune 500 company but forgetting to bring along his Executive Assistant in the same batch. Partners need a better way to automate and maintain visibility across these projects.
This is the first way third-party tools help with partner profitability on hybrid scenarios. Tools like MigrationWiz provide a management layer on top of Mailbox Replication Service, offering a simple, unified console to manage all aspects of a hybrid project, without the need for custom scripts or spreadsheets. Customers can elect to use the Hybrid Agent, which automatically batches mailboxes by Organizational Unit (OU) or autogenerate and upload a CSV if that’s their preferred method.
MSPs and internal IT can easily edit, move, and manage mailboxes and delegates within batches prior to the migration sync from the migration console. This saves technicians time from bouncing between Command Line, the EAC, and Excel to perform all the actions necessary in a project. The result is a simpler, automated experience that allows for a faster time to kickoff.
Leave It To Junior
Let’s talk about the true effects of a single console approach. While the initial configuration work will still require seasoned hybrid consultants, ongoing project management can now be turned over to a more junior resource at the partner, improving margins due to lower resource costs while freeing up those top-tier technicians to move onto other projects. Junior resources can manage batches, start syncs, and troubleshoot errors from the migration console. Project owners can have visibility into shared projects, meaning lines of communication to the hybrid consultant or the internal IT team can remain open if they need to.
Teach the End-User to Fish
The final way these tools can help with the economies of hybrid projects is with the transition to the internal IT team.
Let’s take a normal hybrid migration scenario involving 20,000 users. In one case, the partner pitches a project in which they will manage all batches in the migration. At a timeline of 25 plus weeks for on-site configuration work and managing batches, that end-user could be looking at a total services bill north of a million dollars.
In the second option, the partner enters the project using a tool like MigrationWiz. The initial hybrid configuration work still happens, and maybe the first couple migration batches as well, but then the partner exits the project after 8 weeks. They prepare batches for the end-user in MigrationWiz before turning over the tool to the internal IT team for their own management. Because of this transition, the total project cost to the end-user is a fraction of what it would be to pay them for the full engagement.
While the partner probably has no problem collecting the extra revenue in option one, many end-users may not even pursue the project if the costs are too high. MigrationWiz offers this partner an avenue to still win this business and preserve their own margin, but at a lower price point to the end-user that may entice them go with this partner for the project.
Whether you’re a partner looking for ways to become more profitable on Hybrid projects or internal IT looking to go about it yourself, Hybrid Exchange Management offers the ability to save time and money on your engagement.