Data Migration Plan For MSPs To Move Clients to Microsoft 365

Helping MSPs migrate client data to Microsoft 365


Data migration for MSPs is quite different than regular data migration for SMBs and enterprises. This is mainly due to the fact that MSPs need to parallelly work with two separate parties, the client (with the data migration requirement) and the migration vendor/partner.

This guide offers MSPs actionable insights to strategically plan data migration for their clients.

1. Understanding the Client’s Migration Needs

Data migration for MSPs is centered around explicitly understanding the migration needs of the client. MSPs must understand the strategy as well as the technical aspects of the client’s data migration plan. The important factors to understand include:

  • Reason for migrating (e.g., lowering IT costs, a merger or an acquisition, or improving data security)
  • The total data size and number of users to migrate
  • Features to migrate (e.g., transferring metadata and permissions along with the user data)
  • Migration deadline

MSPs with clients planning to migrate to Microsoft 365 also need to gain understanding in these areas:

  • The specific user and data batches that need to be segregated for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online
  • Conversion of source environment files (e.g., Google Docs and Sheets) to formats OneDrive and SharePoint Online support
  • Workarounds to overcome OneDrive and SharePoint Online limitations

Having a clear understanding of the client’s migration needs also helps MSPs choose the right migration partner.

2. Partnering With a Migration Vendor Offering an MSP Program

When exploring migration partners, MSPs must research their tooling capabilities and learn whether they offer a dedicated MSP program. There are several benefits to joining a migration vendor’s MSP program, including:

  • Discounts or special pricing
  • Recurring subscription instead of per-project tooling cost
  • Services and support specifically tailored for client data migration for MSPs
  • Onboarding processes (e.g., T&Cs and legal) tailored for MSPs

Signing up for the MSP program also helps MSPs skip the migration tool research phase for future client migration projects. And skipping the tool research step helps save a lot of time.

CloudFuze offers an MSP program that makes the tooling cost attractive with a recurring subscription pricing model.

CloudFuze’s MSP Program

3. Requesting a Demo of the Data Migration Tool

MSPs that are fully managing their client’s data migration must clearly understand the capabilities of the data migration tool they plan to use. When learning about the tooling capabilities, MSPs must not deviate from the client’s requirements to ensure the tool meets them.

Here are some of the primary tool capabilities MSPs must check when scheduling a demo with the migration vendor:

  • Data read and write at the API level
  • Capability to handle high-volume data migration without any downtime
  • Option to run the tool in a cloud server or to deploy it in an on-prem environment
  • Scalability to adjust the tool for future client migration projects
  • Option to customize the tool to meet specific requirements in future client migration projects
  • Auto-resolve function for files going into conflict

Understanding tool capabilities and client’s migration needs

Data migration for MSPs that involve migrating clients to Microsoft 365 benefits from these tooling capabilities:

  • Automatically replacing unsupported characters in file and folder names with supported characters
  • Automatically modifying file and folder names unsupported in OneDrive and SharePoint Online
  • Resolving file paths that exceed the 400-character limit in OneDrive and SharePoint Online
  • Converting source storage-specific files such as Box Notes (in Box Business) to files OneDrive and SharePoint Online support
  • Overcoming other limitations in SharePoint Online and OneDrive

4. Lining up Multiple Projects To Make the Tooling Cost Attractive

A significant challenge of client data migration for MSPs is that a single client (especially an SMB) may not be able to afford the tooling cost for its migration project. To help the client overcome the pricing roadblock, MSPs can line up multiple migration projects (of other clients) to make the tooling cost attractive.

Performing data migration of multiple clients under a single tool license also helps MSPs skip the step of procuring a dedicated license for each client’s migration project.

Migrating multiple clients’ data under a single tool license

Also, taking this approach helps shorten the T&Cs amendments between the clients and the migration service provider.

5. Understanding the Tool’s License Limitations

MSPs must not let the benefits of the migration vendor’s MSP program or MSP-specific tool license overshadow the limitations.

E.g., the tooling license may offer MSPs the option to migrate an unlimited number of clients till the time it is active. However, the license may have monthly data transfer limitations, such as 2 TB per month.

Understanding the ratio of the number of projects allowed and monthly data transfer limit helps MSPs better predict the overage charges (for transferring more data than allowed) and therefore make it simpler for their clients to budget their migration projects.

Using a single tool license for multiple clients and splitting overage charges evenly

6. Learning About the Migration Vendor’s Post-Migration Support

MSPs that do not have an in-house team with the expertise to resolve post-migration issues that clients face must learn about the migration vendor’s post-migration support.

Learning about the types of post-migration support also enables MSPs to help their clients justify their migration budgeting.

We have several post-migration support resources. Check them out below:

Contact our migration team to learn how CloudFuze helps MSPs (of all sizes and locations) streamline data migration projects for their clients.

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