** Finchloom is hosting a webinar titled: “Accelerating Merger & Acquisition IT Integration: How Proper Tenant Consolidation can Lower Costs, Improve Security & Increase Employee Engagement” on Thursday, January 27th @ 11AM PST via Microsoft Teams. If you are interested in learning more and/or registering, please use this link! We look forward to seeing you there.**

Tenant to tenant migrations and consolidations are a seemingly rare occurrence in business. When circumstances necessitate a consolidation, we have found that businesses do not know how to action on it because for many businesses, this happens once in a blue moon. Generally, there are 3 different situations where a business would need to migrate or consolidate.

  • Switching from one system to another (i.e. moving mail from Google to Microsoft)
  • A business acquisition where one tenant needs to be moved into another (from ‘business A’ into ‘business B’)
  • A business merger where 2 tenants need to be combined into a ‘master tenant’

If your business has not made these changes in house before, it can be a tedious and highly complex task that would take hundreds of hours to train IT employees. Then, once they are trained and able to execute the task, they may never need that skill set again, or if they do it is generally rare. This is where Finchloom comes in. We have completed hundreds of migration and consolidation projects and spent thousands of hours doing so throughout our companies’ history. We have not only the expertise to make sure that your business is migrated properly, but also the experience; chances are that we have had a scenario that is nearly identical to that which your business may be facing.

If you would like to watch the full video we have on the topic of tenant consolidation, please click here. Clipped versions of the interview can be found in the body of this blog below.

How Does Tenant Consolidation Work?

First, it is important to understand what Tenant Consolidation is. Merging 2 (or more) company tenants into a single tenant is the main concept. Although businesses may keep separate domains, or access different areas, all fall under the umbrella of a single tenant.

When a client comes to us asking to migrate or consolidate, we first begin by looking at the requirements from all the organizations consolidating where there might be specific compliance, regulatory, or security factors that need to be taken into consideration. We do this so that the end tenant is in a state that ultimately maintains the requirements set forth. Identifying all requirements necessary via our waterfall analysis is critical in beginning a merger, migration, or consolidation because there are innate complexities that lie within each individual system.

The content within migrations to Office 365 is not where the complexity lies, but instead managing the one-off integrations that both consolidating organizations utilize. This highlights the requirement to perform comprehensive analysis, which might not be a typical organizations strong suit because they may be using homegrown applications that could need to be rebuilt. It is critical to understand what these integration points are so that we don’t inhibit the customer’s ability to do business after the cutover dates and once the migration starts.

We also do not operate in stop cap or band-aid approaches, we front-load analysis as to make sure that all our migrations are permanent. Any migrations that are completed by Finchloom will not have to be undone or retrained after, we do not provide temporary fixes or solutions.

As each tenant consolidation is a completely different case, I won’t go into too much detail about what a tenant consolidation would entail. In one specific instance, we consolidated 3 companies into one in about 150 hours. In another, we consolidated 2 companies into one, but that took over 700 hours. All consolidations are vastly different, and range immensely in size and complexity. Almost all tenant consolidation projects will generally involve the migration of mail, files, identity, and devices.

Standardization

There are several benefits to tenant consolidation that might be overseen by businesses thinking about doing this for the first time. In the past, we have seen that some companies upon merging or acquiring will leave their tenants separate. This means that employees working for either company that need access to data in the other would have to log out of ‘Company A’ and log back in to ‘Company B’ each time they need to access the separate areas. On top of causing a lot of confusion, this also wastes employees time and diminishes employee satisfaction levels. Simplifying the user (in this case employee) experience is critical to maintaining collaboration across the combined businesses and increasing productivity.

There is also potential cost savings when combining 2 or more separate systems that both are being actively managed and paid for. After consolidation, businesses can get rid of their old systems and theoretically can cut their cost in half (if not more). Similarly, if there are several separate IT departments that are managing the multiple tenants, there is not a 1-1 cutover rate. What I mean is that if there are 2 separate 10 person IT departments managing 2 tenants, it might only take 15 of the employees to manage the singular tenant, freeing up a portion of the IT staff to work on other projects and tasks.

Specializations

Our practice is broken down into a series of specialists that are called in depending on the data and information being migrated or consolidated. Depending on the type and size of the tenant consolidation, we will action an array of migration experts from our in-house team. Our specialists are experts in:

  • Identity
  • Security
  • Mail/Microsoft Exchange
  • Collaboration (SharePoint & Teams)

We bring in the staff that are necessary at the beginning of each project to effectively migrate or consolidate for our clients. If throughout the project we find that there is a new technology that we are dealing with or need to dig a little deeper into one we already know of, we are able to shift our staff around and bring in other SME’s to help out.

These are all collaborative efforts. With most of these mergers and acquisitions, especially companies of the size that we tend to deal with, many have their own IT teams who are managing the technology in the source and/or the destination environments. When this is the case, Finchloom is coming in as more of a consultant.

Co-planning

When we initially meet with our client’s team, we begin to co-plan what are we going to be doing over the next few weeks/months to get their project over the finish line. Throughout the process, we determine together which pieces Finchloom can take on individually, and which pieces the client wants to take on because:

  • It’s important for the client to be able to take on some related tasks because they are ultimately going to be the ones who are maintaining and managing this environment moving forward once it’s done, so the more work they can do alongside us, the better they’re going to understand what’s been done and why so that they are able to maintain it moving forward
  • Many clients manage their budgets with the T&M approach, if they want to make sure that they’re leaning on us for the things they really need us for, but they want to take some things on in house, it helps them keep the cost down and makes the process more effective and impactful

Tenant Consolidation with Finchloom

Whether your business had a recent acquisition, is in the process of a merger, or simply wants to migrate from a disparate system to Microsoft, we can help. Our experts have spent thousands of hours training and executing complex migrations for our current clients and have the knowledge to make your businesses consolidation as easy as possible. The entire process of a tenant consolidation begins with a meeting to determine what items will be migrated, and to where, so if you are thinking of consolidating or migrating in the future, let us know! You can reach out to Finchloom by visiting this page and filling out the form. If you have questions about any aspect of mergers or consolidations, please reach out! As always, thank you for reading, and stay tuned for our first webinar of 2022 on the topic of Tenant Consolidation.