Successful Migrations: What Association Execs Need to Know

With careful planning, you can ensure your Microsoft 365 migration is smooth, straightforward, and effective.

If the events of the past few years have you wanting to upgrade your association’s technology, you’re in good company.

The majority of respondents to a global survey released in June 2022 said their organizations are prioritizing digital transformation, cybersecurity, and strategic cloud migration as part of their IT initiatives. To that end, many associations are turning to Microsoft 365, a popular cloud-based software suite including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Endpoint Manager.

Moving to the Microsoft cloud requires you to shift from one operating environment to another in a process known as an IT migration. Done well, a Microsoft 365 migration brings the benefits of the cloud to your association without significant disruptions. To ensure a smooth implementation, there are a few things you should know.

“Migrations are like moving to a new house,” said Joe Savage, a Senior Technical Project Consultant at DelCor Technology Solutions. “If your house is a mess, you have to organize it before you pack it into boxes, making moving more difficult. But if you keep your house in fairly good shape, it will not be as difficult to move because you’ve already got everything well provisioned.”

Tidying Up

Migrating to Microsoft 365 isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. In many cases, the upfront communication and decision-making phase is more cumbersome than the technical process itself, which a provider typically handles.

Take migrations to SharePoint Online—a solution for storing, sharing, and accessing information based on building blocks known as site collections—for example.

“I feel strongly that you should reorganize your files, and maybe even archive older data, ahead of the actual SharePoint migration—and association leaders need to be part of the process,” Andrew Leggett, also a Senior Technical Project Consultant at DelCor Technology Solutions, said. “We, as consultants, can guide you. But ultimately, we don’t know where file X should live, or that you want to have five site collections based around your departments with various permissions.”

While the concept of reorganizing files may seem overwhelming, Leggett said the biggest hurdle is typically a mental one. “It’s not as difficult of a lift as you might think,” he said. “We have tools to help facilitate reorganization like the disk space analyzer TreeSize, which breaks down where the largest chunks of files live. We know from experience how you should best approach it from there, focusing mostly on top-level folders.”

Clean-up efforts are also important for migrations to Exchange Online, a cloud-based messaging solution that manages email, calendar, contacts, and tasks. Tidying up in this area isn’t a matter of deleting old emails—it’s about eliminating mailboxes that are no longer needed, related to discontinued business, or owned by former employees.

“That effort helps determine how many licenses we actually need,” Savage said. “We’ll often find a bunch of mailboxes that no one has permissions to view just sitting there on the mail server. By reducing the number of mailboxes, we can make the migration smoother.”

Migrations to Endpoint Manager, sometimes referred to as Azure Active Directory (AD), are a larger undertaking with a different process, taking up to 30-45 minutes per machine.

But the effort is well worth it: Endpoint Manager helps secure and protect data, manage risk, and respond to threats.

“One of the most significant goals is to remove reliance on on-premise equipment, so you no longer need to maintain it,” Leggett said. “You can ensure patches and security updates are applied and have more stable control over your devices than you would with Active Directory on site.”

Like SharePoint Online and Exchange Online, migrations to Endpoint Manager benefit from proactive tidying. It’s important to confirm your on-premises Endpoint Manager is not relying on legacy software or services for user verification. You should also ensure that your environment is organized before replicating it in Endpoint Manager—otherwise, you will need to spend more time analyzing the data.

If you’re uneasy about how to proceed with any pre-migration cleanup, consider enlisting an outside organization to help. For more information, visit

DelCor works closely with associations and nonprofits to offer outsourced IT support, CIO services, technology assessments, and digital workplace consulting. For more information on DelCor’s digital workplace consulting services and association technology solutions, visit

(Handout photo)