When contemplating an Office 365 migration, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the user experience.
To ensure the optimal user experience, most organizations roll out their Office 365 migration in phases. This is a wise strategy as each app in the Office 365 family has its own feature set and use case, as well as its own impact on performance. Fine-tuning each of these applications and services will provide users with the best possible experience.
With that in mind, let’s explore some of the migration challenges with what arguably could be the most well-known tool suite in the Office 365 family, Office ProPlus, as well as some key recommendations for a smoother deployment.
Office ProPlus is typically the first stage of the migration to Office 365. Office ProPlus includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook—applications that most everyone has used countless times over the years.
But, using them in the online world of Office 365 is quite different and provides unique challenges for users and network professionals.
The reason? Applications in the ProPlus suite rely heavily on OneDrive—Microsoft’s online file hosting and sharing platform.
When editing ProPlus documents, Office 365 typically doesn’t use the local cached version, but rather leverages the document from OneDrive, enabling documents to be shared easily and fostering collaboration. This collaboration can help organizations become more efficient, as edits and revisions can be made in real time and by multiple people simultaneously.
Plus, documents are automatically saved in real time to OneDrive, helping those out there who forget to save their progress on a document. This also eliminates the problem of trying to determine which is the most recent version of a doc to send to others.
While these features provide advantages for employees, they also provide challenges for your network. As OneDrive relies on instant collaboration and saving documents in real time, your network must be able to accommodate these critical features. If your network can’t handle this added traffic or respond quickly enough, the performance of the ProPlus tools will suffer, as will employee efficiency.
So, what can organizations do to overcome potential network issues?
First of all, you have to recognize that this cloud-based suite of applications is entirely different from previous Office versions. IT teams have to think differently about these apps, and the Office 365 suite as a whole.
Next, you must be able to identify ProPlus and other Office 365 traffic and have the ability to route this traffic differently. All Office 365 traffic needs to get to Microsoft as quickly as possible. This is so important that Microsoft recommends direct internet connections for all Office 365 applications instead of routing this traffic through a traditional hub-and-spoke network, which adds latency and degrades the user experience.
In addition, Microsoft has updated the categorization of its Office 365 connection endpoints on its network. Located around the globe, these destination endpoints are now categorized as “Optimized,” “Allow,” and “Default.” This guidance enables network administrators to better understand which Office 365 connections should be fast-tracked to the Microsoft network.
To help simplify this process, Zscaler has a one-click feature, which automatically categorizes traffic and optimizes Office 365 traffic routing with a single click.
Obviously, these weren’t issues that Office users or IT teams had to deal with in the past—Office 365 is an entirely different animal. With that in mind and a strong focus on user experience, you can celebrate a successful Office ProPlus deployment. And wouldn't you rather have wine with happy users than whining from unhappy ones?
Want to learn more? Read this white paper to discover even more tips on how to deliver an Office 365 experience your users will love.
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Steve Grossenbacher is a senior product marketing manager at Zscaler