SkyKick Migration Suites – 2015 in Review (part 2/2)

In Part 1, we shared key enhancements to the SkyKick Migration product, including the Hands-Free Migration Experience and tremendous International Growth. Below, in Part 2, we review the other 2015 improvements and look ahead to 2016.

Google Enhancements

Migrations from Google Mail to Exchange Online are certainly popular with partners. Many of them cite SkyKick’s powerful discovery and management technology as being instrumental in ensuring a successful – and profitable – migration.

Among the key challenges migrating from Google Mail to Exchange Online is the difference in architecture and end-user experience. Chief among these is Google’s use of labels and Exchange/Outlook default of folders. Exchange and Outlook have no exact equivalent of Gmail labels and so a simple “copy/paste” of the data isn’t going to deliver a great user experience.

The new feature that we’ve added manages the transition from Google Labels to Exchange/Outlook presents two options:

  • map the Google Labels to Outlook Folders or
  • map the labels to Outlook Categories

Mapping Labels to Folders has been the SkyKick default and works for almost all users. Folders represent the most natural way to use Outlook. Most users only add one or two labels to each message and so the folder structure provides the most consistent transition.

But it’s not right for everybody. A much underused but powerful Outlook feature is Categories. These can complement a well-structured Folder tree and make email management much more productive. Power users who might have added several (and sometimes nested) Labels to their Gmail will be more likely to benefit from having their Gmail Labels mapped to Outlook Categories. This brings several key benefits:

  • Categories are a closer equivalent to Labels and provide for a more consistent experience when labels have been used extensively.
  • When mail has several Labels attached to it, mapping to folders means that the mail is migrated once for each associated Label. Simple math means that if each mail has three Labels, you’ll have that mail replicated three times in Exchange Online and it will appear in several different folders. Mapping to Categories means the mail only exists once.
  • Outlook Search Folders can be configured post-migration to make navigating Categorized mails straightforward and productive.

Based on feedback from our partners, we added Labels to Categories as a migration option for Google migrations. As part of that update we also tweaked our migration algorithm to improve performance in all Google migrations to mitigate against the tight throttling policies enforced by Google.

The “Three R’s” – Rooms, Resources and Rules

At end of Q3 we added the capability to migrate two new mailbox types: Room and Equipment resource mailboxes. Around the same time, we added the native capability to migrate server-side inbox rules.

  • it reinforces our commitment to detail and ensuring that the migration experience is as seamless as possible an
  • it reflects how we listen to our partners and the commitment to build software to make our partners successful. In this instance, the addition of these source types enables a more manageable migration and a more consistent experience for the customer and their users, reducing the amount of post-migration clean-up tasks by increasing migration fidelity.I highlight these features for two reasons:

Increasing the scope of Migration Automation has a direct impact on the profitability and quality of the migration experience. Many partners have already called-out the time savings this addition has delivered and an increase in customer satisfaction with the migration and the partner engagement.

CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) Features

Within a few years, we believe that Office 365, and all Microsoft products, will be sold and supported primarily through Microsoft’s CSP Licensing model.  

In 2015 we focused on launching our CSP product with major solution providers, resellers and distributors.   For example, we were the first to launch a 2-Tier (now called CSP Indirect) online experience supporting CSP with Ingram Micro (link to article) and Synnex, while several authorized solution providers are using our 1-Tier (now called Direct) product.

CSP will become an increasingly important model for partners to take control and own the customer experience from start to finish, without the complications and effort of FastTrack and other Microsoft initiatives.   We’d be happy to chat If you’re a partner interested in our Migration Suite, Backup, or Manager products for use on for either the Direct or Indirect CSP models

Even more innovation in 2016

As exciting and groundbreaking as 2015 was, 2016 has much more in store. We continue to work at adding feature that add value to our partners. Our focus will never shift.

You’ll also have seen a number of recent improvements to our Help Center.
Check it out:

I’m particularly focused on hearing feedback from our partners on the features we have and the features you’d love for us to have. Please contact us directly or via the survey at the end of your migration project. I read all of them – feel free to test me!

Bern Clark
Director of Product Management – Migration Products
Email Bern

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