This is not a fictional story, it’s a real one. But, we’ve drastically simplified it and, as they say on TV, we’ve changed all the names to protect the innocent. Unfortunately for hundreds of 50-250 people companies who have suffered an unsuccessful email migration, outcomes like this happen all the time. Migrating your email to Office 365 is easy, but only if you know what you’re doing.



Yellow plc (name changed) is a management consultancy. With 45 consultants in the field and 20 back office staff, Yellow plc had decided to adopt Office 365 to improve collaboration. The company’s starting point was to migrate its email from an IMAP service to Exchange Online. The IT department called a meeting with Moot and Dander (name changed), its IT support company, to discuss the project. A plan was agreed to migrate email across over a long weekend to minimise downtime. So, over the appointed long weekend Moot and Dander moved in and the migration took place.

On Tuesday morning, the MD got in at 7.30am and opened Outlook. She had three emails in her inbox. What happened to the other 600? She’d lost them all. And all her sent items too. As soon as her IT lead arrived at work, he was in the MD’s office to explain. Except he couldn’t. Neither could the COO. The plan they’d agreed with Moot and Dander looked good and, as far as the IT lead knew, it should have worked. Except it didn’t.

Not surprisingly, by 10am, the MD and her – by now very frazzled – IT lead were on an urgent conference call with Moot and Dander. It was not just the MD that had lost her email archive, everyone had. The field consultants were now up in arms. They’d lost both their email and their shared calendars so they didn’t know where they should be or how to contact their clients to warn them that they wouldn’t be there – wherever there was. And, having lost their entire email dialogues with their clients, they were going to struggle to rebuild those relationships.

disasterIt transpired that the company had lost every email that it had sent, or which had arrived before 10pm on the Sunday night. In fact, they’d lost a great deal more than just a few emails, but we’ll spare you the rest of the detail.

Yellow plc never did get its email archive back. It lost the lot. It did get some financial compensation from Moot and Dander, but that doesn’t come close to making up for the data loss. The IT department had lost its credibility and the company’s reputation had been materially damaged.

If Yellow plc’s real-life case study of misfortune isn’t a sufficient warning, let’s consider the real impact of a failed email migration on your business.

Project Impact

When the migration project fails, it gathers momentum, in the wrong direction. Additional resources are required, quickly, to get the project back on track. And allocating additional resources at short notice is expensive. Not just in financial or monetary terms, but the knock-on effect on other projects, which may now suffer as result of their resources being redeployed. Very effective project management will be required if a domino effect is to be avoided and the trouble is, those project managers will have their hands full tackling the original – now out of control – project.

Business Impact

Where shall we start on this list? Most companies can expect to suffer some sort of financial loss, which they can quantify. What’s more difficult to quantify is the cost to their reputation or corporate brand, especially if those brand values are based on messages of quality, trust, customer service or responsiveness. ‘You can trust us to deliver’ sounds pretty hollow when your supplier admits he’s lost all your emails.

Depending on the industry involved, there may also be significant impact from a regulatory or audit perspective. Under EU law, you need to keep your email archive for at least 12 months whilst email histories form vital evidence when dealing with HMRC inspections or contract disputes. Losing your email archive, as Yellow plc did, could leave you very exposed indeed.

Personal Impact

Failed email migrations – and all the disruption they entail – send the wrong sort of message to both staff and leadership teams. And in intensely competitive industries where good staff are hard to find and even harder to keep, these sorts of corporate mishaps cause the best ones to reconsider their employment options. After all, would you want to work for a company that can’t execute something as simple as moving a few emails across?

Of course, it needn’t be like that. Thousands of companies have implemented highly successful email migration projects and are now enjoying all the benefits associated with Office 365, including minimised IT spend, enhanced mobility and collaboration and 99.9% guaranteed uptime. We’ve helped a few of them ourselves.

Find Out More

See our selection of our short video case studies featuring some of the successful Office 365 migrations that we’ve managed for our clients. Migrating email and data is mission critical and it’s not worth losing your name over. Read our blog entitled ‘How to Plan an Office 365 Email Migration’.

If you would like to know more or receive a quote for us to migrate you to Office 365, get in touch with us today.

Published On: April 26th, 2018 / Categories: M365 /

Contact our Microsoft specialists

Phone or email us to find out more – or book a free, no-obligation call with our technical consultants using the contact form.

“It’s great to work with the Compete366 team, the team members are really knowledgeable, helpful and responsive. No question is too difficult for them. They have really helped us to manage our Azure costs and ensure we have the right environment. When we bring a new customer on-board we can scale up immediately via the Azure portal and quickly make environments available to our customers.”

“We also find that there’s never a heavy sales pitch from them – they are technically focused and recommend what’s right for us.”

Paul Coyne, Rusada

“We had great support from the Compete366 AVD expert, who was really helpful, and guided me through options to tackle issues that arose.”

“The great thing about our AVD set up is that we have a custom set up for each project which Compete366 showed me how to do. And with the scalability and flexibility of AVD – we can meet clients’ expectations and get project users up and running more quickly.”

Amir Dangol, Senior IT Manager, Integrity

“We were immediately impressed with the advice that the Compete366 specialists in Azure Architecture were able to provide. This was all new to us and we really needed some external expertise that we could use to get our questions answered. The beauty of working with Compete366 is that we transferred our Azure consumption to them, and at the same time received all of their advice and guidance free of charge.”

Tim Entwistle, Head of Software Development, Herrco

“Working with Compete366 has been like extending our own team – they are extremely and easy to work with. Right from the outset, it was clear what was on offer – everything was presented to us in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. They also provided just the right level of challenge to our developers and saved us time and money by suggesting better ways to implement our infrastructure.”

Oliver Mackereth, Project Director, Hanse

“Compete366 were able to help us leverage some useful contacts in Microsoft. We really value the expert advice and guidance that they have offered us in setting up a highly scalable infrastructure. We are also setting in place a regular monthly meeting which will allow us to further refine our architecture and ensure we keep on track as our requirements grow and change.”

Matt Brocklehurst, Technical Director - AWOL Adventure

“I have been delighted with the migration, where my team worked very hard, supported by expert advice from Compete366, and achieved everything in the timescale we had set out. Compete 366 made sure that we didn’t make any expensive mistakes, and guided us through the process”

Darrell Cann, Managing Director, APEX
Jon Milward
Thank you for your message. It has been sent.
There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later.

By submitting your details, you agree to be contacted.