What every business needs to know before a tenant to tenant migration (2023)

A tenant-to-tenant migration takes a fair amount of preparation but with a good plan in place, you’ll get through it with flying colors. These quick tips and insights will help make the process as smooth as possible and ensure your migration is a success!

A tenant-to-tenant migration is just that: a process that lets you move data from one Microsoft 365 tenant to another. It’s like moving houses, but instead of physical things, it’s moving data. It comes in handy especially when you’re switching from one cloud provider (like a Microsoft 365 tenant) to another. It might sound tricky, but with a little bit of planning and know-how, it can be done seamlessly and without interrupting your business operations.

When you’re thinking about doing a tenant-to-tenant migration, it’s important to remember that it takes a fair amount of preparation. Just like planning a move, it might take some time and effort, but with a good plan in place, you’ll be able to get through it with flying colors.

Some things to keep in mind include understanding what you need from your source tenant, figuring out what your target tenant (also destination tenant) should look like, and making sure everything is in the right place when you’re finished with your migration project.

Table of contents

  • What to consider in a tenant-to-tenant migration?
  • Single or multiple tenants? Which process suits your needs?
  • 3 best practices for tenant-to-tenant migrations
  • Tenant-to-tenant migration FAQs
  • Sail smoothly: How to ensure a successful migration process

What to consider in a tenant-to-tenant migration?

There are different reasons why you’ll want to go through a tenant-to-tenant migration process. In short, they have to do with structural changes in your business or organization. Also, there are different approaches you can take. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Scenarios

  • Business mergers—When two separate businesses combine into a single new one.
  • Business acquisitions—When one business fully absorbs another through a purchase: in most cases, it results in the liquidation of the acquired business.
  • Divestitures—When a business unit ceases to exist after a purchase or a restructuring.
  • Reorganizations—When you move business units, such as from one region to another, or decommission a tenant.

Types of tenant-to-tenant migrations

Two basic types of tenant-to-tenant migrations will suit the vast majority of cases:

1. Phased tenant-to-tenant migration:

  • Data migration process is gradual
  • Suits tenant-to-tenant migrations of any scale
  • Users assume new domains in the target tenant
  • Domains are not transferred from the source tenant
  • Lower risk, longer timeline

2. Single-event tenant-to-tenant migration:

  • Data migration happens in one event
  • Higher risk, shorter timeline
  • Suits migrations below 15,000 users and/or 7 TB of site content

Single or multiple tenants? Which process suits your needs?

In a tenant-to-tenant migration process, you have the option of moving your data from your source tenant into one single target tenant or into multiple tenants. Let’s see the benefits and limitations of each case.

For a single tenant

This is the most common approach and the best option for most organizations. It’s a simplerprocess in which all users stay within the same “company” (tenant), being able to collaborate more seamlessly through all the Microsoft 365 apps and services. A single-tenant migration also means IT will have a simpler job securing the target tenant.

For multiple tenants

This approach is recommended for organizations with many departments, sister companies, different geographic locations, and global end users—meaning that the business would have to comply with various data protection legislations and deal with different license providers.

For day-to-day use, the main difference from the single-tenant approach is that collaboration becomes more complicated since users from one tenant will have to be guests in the other. And mainly because of those guest permissions, securing multiple Microsoft 365 tenants is a harder job than doing it in a single one.

3 best practices for tenant-to-tenant migrations

Tenant-to-tenant migrations can be complex, so here are a few best practices that will come in handy if you need to perform one.

Playbook

Tenant-to-tenant migrations

How to efficiently plan and execute migrations for mergers & acquisitions or a reorganization.

What every business needs to know before a tenant to tenant migration (1)

Effortlessly move your data: Understand your migration process

We can’t stress this enough: having a well-thought-out strategy is vital for a successful tenant-to-tenant migration process. Of course, there’s a plethora of elements to consider in your planning, and no two organizations will have the exact same needs. However, here are a few ideas that can help any IT team get started before a tenant-to-tenant migration process:

  • Assess the risks, such as data loss (if the data is not backed up or transferred properly), downtime affecting productivity, and complexity—resulting in difficult collaboration and higher costs.
  • Evaluate the opportunities this migration will bring, such as modernizing your content structure and lowering licensing and storage costs.
  • Future-proof your future tenant or tenants, limiting the exposure to instabilities down the line and changes in technology and in the business landscape.
  • Anticipate the governance policies for the new environment and start designing the guardrails you’ll create to ensure users comply with them.

Fix permissions issues at the source

When it comes to tenant-to-tenant migrations, we like to take the motto “security first” as literally as possible. Since external sharing and permissions are critical aspects of your Microsoft 365 security, you can’t wait to fix any issues in the post-migration. Address these problems in the source tenant before you migrate, instead of bringing them over to your new target tenant or tenants.

Sparking joy: Clean up your source environment and prepare your target tenant

This could be done either before or after the migration process, but in either case, a tenant-to-tenant migration is a perfect opportunity to rebuild your Microsoft 365 environments. When you declutter and reorganize your SharePoint and make it easier for people to work with Teams, you’ll see adoption rise. Why? Because you’ll be making people happier.

Tenant-to-tenant migration FAQs

What’s included in my Microsoft 365 tenant?

A Microsoft 365 tenant includes all the apps and services in the Microsoft 365 subscription you choose. For example, the Microsoft 365 Business Basic Plan includes:

  • Outlook
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneDrive
  • Teams
  • Bookings
  • Forms
  • Lists
  • Planner
  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint

Other plans may include other services: the Microsoft 365 Business Premium Plan, for example, comes with Intune and Azure Information Protection, two other cloud offerings by Microsoft.

Is Azure Active Directory the same as Microsoft 365?

Azure Active Directory (AD) and Microsoft 365 are two different things. While Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based platform with various services and apps, Azure AD stores the user accounts and groups in a separate tenant. You can also perform a directory synchronization between the Azure AD tenant with your existing Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) accounts. This directory sync is made through Azure AD Connect, a server-based service.

While it’s possible to move or copy SharePoint data to your destination tenant using PowerShell or Power Automate, this approach would present you with many limitations, like not migrating version history, permissions, workflows, and metadata. However, you can easily copy your SharePoint data between tenants using a third-party tool like ShareGate. With a little preparation and planning, ShareGate has unlimited data transfer at insane speeds to support you before, during, and after your migration project.

Ensure SharePoint migration success: 5 SharePoint migration steps

How do I migrate Microsoft Teams from one tenant to another?

Migrating Microsoft Teams from one tenant to another can be a complex process, but with the right approach, it can be done successfully. One way to migrate Teams is to do it manually, but frankly, you don’t need to face the amount of work and risks involved in this method.

The easiest, safest way to do it is by using a third-party migration tool like ShareGate, which can automate the process and make your data transfer much easier.

How do I migrate OneDrive from one tenant to another?

To migrate OneDrive to another tenant, you can turn to ShareGate to move your files and folders to a new tenant. Just make sure to coordinate with your users to minimize disruption and plan for some downtime. Read this article on how to tackle your OneDrive migration from start to finish.

How do I migrate Microsoft Planner from one tenant to another?

Migrating Planner plans between tenants can be tricky, but with the help of tools like ShareGate, it can be a breeze. ShareGate allows you to export the plans and import them into a new tenant, keeping all the tasks and assignments intact. Make your migration plan ahead of time and coordinate with your users, so that the process doesn’t interrupt their work. With a little bit of preparation and the right tools, you’ll have your Planner plans up and running on the new tenant! To better understand your options, check this in-depth article about the differences between Microsoft’s Planner migration features and ShareGate’s Migration tool.

Can I move Azure resources between tenants?

It depends. If you’re migrating Azure Information Protection data, for example, you cannot migrate labels across tenants. Your best option is to open a service ticket with Microsoft Support and see what can be done in your case.

Sail smoothly: How to ensure a successful migration process

Ensuring your move from source tenant to target tenant matches your organization’s needs can be too complex and time-consuming to be done manually. That’s why a third-party solution can be perfect for you to gain absolute control over the process and minimize risks.

This is where ShareGate comes to your rescue. ShareGate is the go-to solution for any agile, seamless tenant-to-tenant Microsoft 365 migration. Here’s what it can do for you.

  • Inventory both the source and the target domain with our source analysis report.
  • Avoid PowerShell scripts with built-in customizable commands and actions.
  • Shape the new environment the way you want.
  • Avoid overwriting files so people can work during the migration.
  • Move all content—including metadata—with version history intact.
  • Move channels, content, or entire teams in a few clicks.
  • Run our actionable migration report to give you full post-migration visibility.
  • Have end users create teams with your guardrails in place.

Want to learn more about ShareGate? Book a demo today!

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Last Updated: 02/19/2023

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