Email Migration Gone Wrong? The Loss Can Be Bigger Than You Imagine

Jul 28,2021 by Manoj Yadav

This might be mistaken for a fictional story but it is real, very real. We are taking you through the dreadful times that an organization went through because their email migration to Office 365 got messed up so badly that it almost spelt the death knell for them. Migrating your email might seem like the easiest thing to do but to get it right, you must know precisely what you are doing.

A Real Instance

This management consultancy major (Let’s call it A Inc.) with a large staff and huge traffic took the decision to migrate its cheap email hosting service to Office 365 for enhanced collaboration. They called a professional service to discuss and plan the migration to Exchange Online. The IT department and the provider agreed to start the process over a long weekend so that downtime issues are mitigated. Accordingly, the plan was put into place and the process initiated on a Saturday.

When the chief of A Inc. walked in the next week and opened Outlook, he got the shock of his life. All the mails from the system had been wiped off and the only ones remaining were the ones received after the migration process was completed. No one in the IT department or from the service provider could explain what went wrong. Not only the top management but every employee lost all their emails send and received before the migration.

There were alarming situations on the field as well as the field consultants were unable to access their email and hence they didn’t know their appointments and schedules. They even lost all the contact details and were in no position to communicate the developments to those with whom they had committed appointments and meetings. There was chaos all around as all email communications had simply disappeared into thin air.

To cut a long story short, the emails of A Inc. and their employees were not retrieved. They were all most permanently. What they did get was some financial compensation but the damage the company suffered in terms of loss of data and, more importantly, to their reputation, was huge and immeasurable. The company’s IT department’s reputation took a huge hit and the credibility of A was damaged beyond repair.

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Now let’s take a look at how exactly the email migration failure affects the various area of an organization.

How It Can Impact Projects

When the migration project flounders, it can take things in the reverse direction. The affected organization will have to garner more resources to get the project back to normal. However, it could be an uphill task, even for a very capable organization to collect and deploy additional resources at short notice. It might prove expensive, not only in terms of finance but also in terms of maintaining the efficiency and momentum of other key projects. Redeployment of resources can affect these projects adversely. Arresting and reversing the domino effect can take some might effort. Project managers are likely to have a tough time dealing with the changes and keeping the project on track.

How It Impacts Business

Loss of data and email records can impact business colossally but it can be difficult to quantify the losses, both financial and others. Most difficult to quantify is the loss caused by damage to reputation and the loss of credibility. How can one measure the loss caused to the brand image? It takes ages to build a brand image. It is built on trust and quality and a few other aspects.

Loss of email can impact your business but it can also affect your business in other ways. For example, there are the audit and regulatory authorities to deal with. Business regulatory laws demand that you should have an archive of your email for a minimum of 12 months. They must be available for ready reference while dealing with disputes of various kinds and HMRC aspects. Loss of email archives and records can paint a poor picture of your organization and can also land you in legal troubles.

How It Impacts At a Personal Level

When email migration fails, it is not just the loss of email records that affect businesses. The disruption they create can be immeasurable. It can also demoralize the staff and management to a large extent and shake their faith in the organization. Email migration failure can be classified as a corporate mistake that can have major ramifications for the organization in terms of employee motivation. With business getting intensely competitive, episodes of these types can force employees to reconsider their commitment.

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Email migration is definitely not rocket science. There are tens of thousands of companies who have managed to implement the project successfully. When done right, email migration can bring along a string of benefits to your organization. When you migrate your email to Office 365, it can minimize your IT costs and ensure superior mobility. Collaboration can also be improved. When you choose the services of a reputed host, you are assured of 99.9% guaranteed uptime.

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