How to control the costs of your Email Archive Migration

Posted by Tim Cardinal on Jun 21, 2021 Last updated May 24, 2022

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Migrating your email archives to Cloud platforms such as Microsoft 365 is often a major project for a business both in terms of time, but also cost and resources. Understandably the topics of price and cash flow needs careful consideration.

In this article we explore two of the most common approaches to paying for your email archive migration. We also look at why your decision on which vendor to choose must consider the outcome they will deliver as well as the cost of the migration

What are the most common pricing models for email archive migrations?

Fully managed, fixed price, fixed outcome email archive migrations

A fully managed migration is a service offered by vendors such as Transvault, that delivers a fixed price, fixed outcome email archive migration. This is a tried and tested pricing model that gives a commitment to the customer of a successful migration outcome for a set price. This price is typically based on a per Terabyte basis and often allows for staged payments throughout the migration process.

Pay-As-You-Go email archive migrations

Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) is an apparent new method of pricing for your migration. It is based on the premise of flexibility and enabling you to pay for the data moved as its migrated. This may enable you to assign the cost of the migration as an operational expense (Opex) rather than a capital expense (Capex).

Which archive migration payment method is right for your business?

Here at Transvault, we offer fully managed, fixed price, fixed outcome email archive migrations, because this is the preferred method chosen by our clients. After 15 years of experience and over 2500 projects delivered, it’s clear to us that our customers want to plan and be confident of a successful outcome for their complete migration and so they are happy with a pricing model that supports this.

Are PAYG migrations a good idea?

On paper, from a financial perspective, PAYG migrations promise benefits. They offer a smaller initial financial outlay and interim payments. This can enable a business to cover the cost as an operational expense with easier approvals which can mean a migration starts faster.

However, there are some major risks with this approach. You have no idea what the total cost of the migration might be. For the privilege of smaller, trickle payments, you may not know the total cost for your business until it’s too late. The belief that this method is cheaper is unlikely to be true once the total migration is complete. This approach also has the risk of increased administration, complexity and lack of confidence as to when you will see the real business benefits of moving to the Cloud.

Perhaps the biggest risk with this approach is the lack of focus on the actual outcome you want to deliver by completing the migration. PAYG migrations are a financial mechanism and miss the point of how to deliver a successful migration. As outlined in our recent blog, its important you carefully plan your Microsoft 365 migration to deliver the outcome you need for your business.

Here at Transvault we work with our Partners and their clients to define a clear migration outcome and then price the project accordingly. This ensures the project delivers real value for the outcome you want. Payments can then be based on clear milestones aligned to achieving this outcome. This gives the benefit of spreading the cost over the period of the project, whilst remaining totally focused on the agreed outcome.

fully-managed-vs-payg email archive migrations

Email archive migrations and digital transformation projects

From our experience of working with clients all over the world, email archive migrations are often part of a larger digital transformation project. Businesses are driving towards significant business change and therefore want the migration to be smooth and outcome focused. Selecting a partner that is serious about delivering a reliable outcome is therefore key and why the fully managed, outcome-focused approach works so well. Aligning the email archive migration with the wider digital transformation can be much harder with the partially planned, drip-fed PAYG approach.

What matters most when it comes to email archive migrations?

Migrating your email archives to the Cloud can have real benefits, but these will only be realised if you are outcome focused and plan your migration with care. How you pay for your migration will be part of your decision-making process, but to deliver a successful migration you should consider several other factors that may be difficult to achieve with a PAYG approach:

  • Doing your migration in stages is normal, and we support this, but start with the end in mind. Understand that you’ll have to complete a “critical mass” of your transformation in order to generate any return on your investment.
  • Consider those who are migrated later to ensure they feel a part of the journey. Communication and inclusion is critical. This is not just a technical change; it is an opportunity to engage your team in the company’s journey and turn the change into a chance to restart team engagement.
  • Paying for this in stages so that you can ensure you are getting value is a good idea and we support it with our Managed Migration Service, but consider the administrative overhead of doing this in very small chunks – aren’t you buying an outcome? If it is being delivered at the pace you need, won’t those payments be very close together anyway?
  • Ensuring that you use the right tools to build your future is crucial. It’s not a time for experimenting or trusting in those who promise the earth, but don’t have the proven delivery to back up those claims.
  • Consider the sequence of your transformation: Who should go first and how should you sequence these?
  • Consider hybrid alternatives where you control the costs further, using your own capacity where possible and external support where needed. Our Assisted Migration option gives you even greater control of your costs.

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