Are your Office 365 users stupid?

A short walk through fire.

firewalkThat is how I describe the process of migrating from wherever you are, to Office 365 to new prospects. It is certainly not my intent to scare them from making a move, rather I want to prepare them that it is more involved than flipping a switch. For the most part, migrations are fairly invisible to customers… right up to the cutover. There is a coordination effort that must take place simultaneously with the MX record redirection for uninterrupted email flow. It is not complicated, we have prepared detailed step by step illustrated instructions that my Mom could follow. But invariably, I hear from the IT Manager, or whoever is handling things on the client side, that their users are simply too stupid to handle it.

Maybe, it’s my fault. Maybe my “Short walk through fire” line is causing more intimidation than intended. Most of the time migrations go off without a hitch, but occasionally there will be some issues. Ironically, one of the main reasons users move to Office 365 is the 99.9% uptime guarantee; something their previous solution was unable to come close to. I get it, the client contact has been beaten up over the years every time email has gone down. This fear of interruption causes every potential hiccup to be magnified, and occasionally leads to delaying migrations. Not for a legitimate cause, but simply fear. We had a client who bought and paid for 800 subscriptions for the service for over a year without migrating due to fears that their users were simply too stupid to go to Outlook Web Access instead of their current provider’s web mail page. They were using webmail, no clients to configure, nothing, just “click this link instead of that one from now on”. Nope, they will all get frustrated and quit. Huh? After calling me to say they were too scared to move and thought they should stay put, I reminded them that they were supposed to save over $13K/year, and the CEO finally forced the move. No one, not a single user had any issue at all. In the words of Franklin Roosevelt:

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

If your users are currently using Outlook desktop client for their email, and plan to continue to do so, the new account will need to be added and the old one deleted. This is about the only time users’ machines will actually need to be touched. This needs to be coordinated, but is not at all complicated. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the “My users are not even savvy enough to push the power button” assertion. Your users have no trouble with Facebook. In an absolute worst case scenario, a user who cannot figure out how to follow simple instructions, can use Outlook Web Access until someone with an I.Q. over 50 helps them add the account. There is no scenario where email is lost, interrupted or inaccessible.

So I suggest that you give your users a little more credit. Millions of them have been able to get through migrations unscathed… your users will too.

Add your thoughts below, just don’t pimp your stuff on my blog :)


  1. Marko

    “and the CEO finally forced the move. No one, not a single user had any issue at all.”
    I can assure you that reason not a single user “had” any issue is in preceding sentence. They had it but were too afraid/discouraged/desperate to report/complain. There is aways a project leader who doesn’t convey users’ messages further since he/she want to present project as a very succesfull.

    • Steve Mordue - CEO

      You may be right, but in the end, their fears of user revolt, and people quitting did not materialize


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