Sooner or later, your company may decide to conduct a full-scale email migration, from one provider to another. There are many ways this process can go wrong, and since email is likely your main form of communication, you’ll want to avoid those pitfalls in any way you can.
With the sheer diversity of email providers and methods of transition, there’s no single process that can cover every possibility. However, there are some general considerations that can make your process smoother and more reliable.
Choose a new provider and transition process
Your first goal should be to choose the right provider for your needs. Consider the cost of the email service, the perks of your subscription (which usually includes other apps), and which email management platforms will be available to your employees.
Then, use your knowledge of your current and future provider to learn how to make the specific migration. For example, you can learn how to switch from Outlook to Gmail using a handful of import features and mail forwarding. Work to understand this process before you actually start it.
Schedule a transition far in advance
Announce to your employees that you’re going to make a transition, preferably as far in advance of the transition date as possible. Your employees may have to get used to a new system of organization, or a loss of some features, so having foreknowledge can help them adapt.
They may also need to be ready with alternative forms of communication in case something goes wrong, or in case the transition takes longer than expected; for example, they may notify their customers about the transition, and provide a cell phone number as an alternative means of communication.
Make the migration on a Friday, after-hours
There are many hiccups that could affect your email migration. None of them are especially common, but any one of them could interrupt your business. Incomplete or corrupted migrations of old emails could leave employees unable to respond to previous threads. Worse, you could get stuck in a gray area between your old email provider and your new one, with employees uncertain about which one to use.
To buy yourself more time to solve these issues, try to commit the migration after-hours on a Friday. That way, if something goes wrong, you’ll have the entire weekend to fix it without interrupting business on Monday.
Verify archives and functionality
When the migration appears to be complete, your work isn’t done yet. Work with your employees to verify that all their old emails have been transferred, and that their new accounts have full functionality. Don’t assume that everything has been migrated successfully, or that your new accounts are fully functional. For good measure, set up email analytics so you can monitor employee email activity and productivity throughout the day.
The email migration process may seem like a hassle, but it’s a one-time event that can lead you to greater email reliability, faster service, and more apps and perks that your team can use to be more productive. As long as you plan ahead, understand the transition process, and follow up to make sure everything went smoothly, you shouldn’t run into any long-term issues or significant business interruptions.