In truth, some projects are worth winning: the client gets a great outcome and so does the Microsoft partner, creating the classic win – win.
However, the opposite is true – sometimes I have won projects or had my partners win projects that by the end of it, we were all glad to have it finished so we could go our separate ways. Sometimes we had collectively underestimated the effort involved, sometimes the migration tooling didn’t behave as before in a new environment, sometimes we had spent three times longer putting in coexistence than the entire phased migrations took to complete; sometimes it can be a lack of strong project management that causes things to go sideways.
Looking back on lessons learned, I would like to quickly summarize two ways to win more profitable projects when migrating between Office 365 tenants.
Rule 1 – Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migrations are technically complex. They require an experienced, proven partner. Discounting devalues the work and devalues your experience.
You must be willing to walk away from an unprofitable project, or one that simply is not willing to pay what you are worth. This is illustrated by BATNA, a theory taught in negotiation schools: The Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, which might simply mean that you do not need this business.
Microsoft Teams is a new niche in migrations as vendors have only been bringing it to market over the past year. Firstly, Microsoft Teams adoption in some organizations is very low when compared with Exchange, so you must do your due diligence and verify usage, either using PowerShell or a Microsoft Teams assessment. Be brave enough to ask if they do actually need to perform the migration this time around. Just because they have Microsoft Teams doesn’t always necessitate migrating MS teams – they may actually want to start over with better governance in place.
If the migration of Microsoft Teams comes into scope, and it might come in late in the discovery phase for whatever reason, then not all Microsoft Teams tools are created equal. The one thing I would say from experience is that the tool should be 100% SaaS-based and come without the need to purchase additional professional services from the migration vendor.
Purchasing additional services will up the price of your SOW to the client and decrease the profitability as you will likely have to pass through the vendor’s professional services at your cost price.
Which leads us to the second rule.