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How to migrate Microsoft Teams to another tenant

Apr 16, 2020 by Mike Weaver

In light of recent events and a shift in the global workforce to home offices, Microsoft Teams has been rapidly accelerated as a workload adoption for organizations worldwide.

While this adoption has had a positive impact on the modern remote workplace and the ability to communicate, it can certainly cause headaches in the world of Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures when it comes to merging tenants.

While the focus of a tenant migration was once just email or OneDrive, that is no longer the case as Teams and its associated SharePoint sites become a critical piece of communication with tons of business record data contained within.

Therefore, the need to migrate Microsoft Teams to another tenant has become a core competency from a migration standpoint.

Why is migrating Teams to another tenant complicated?

Unfortunately, Teams cannot be automatically migrated over and what it boils down to is the APIs, or lack of APIs. Microsoft has been releasing some of the features, but there are basic features still missing which creates a lot of confusion in the market especially for an organization that is going through a merger or divestiture.

There are many features still desperately needed in these APIs, and that is problematic because we still don’t have all of the tools that would allow us to do a full compliant migration of Teams from one tenant to another.

Working around the API issue

At Quadrotech, we work within these limitations in one of two ways. One option is to write two Teams channels, which the API allows us to do, but we’re unable to include the metadata. What that means is when we perform the migration, the data will take on the date and time stamp of the actual migration. This option works for collaboration, but for some organizations that need to keep this metadata, this may not be an option.

Our second option for archiving this data is to place it into a chat file and drop that into the file section of the channel so the organization can save the data accordingly. Within that file we can also redirect links to files so if somebody puts a file into the chat, we can direct that link to the correct place in the target tenant.

We are also able to stream into the chat section, but unfortunately there’s no metadata. That means the data would be in the correct order, but the date/time stamp would reflect the time it was migrated, and not the actual time it was created and sent.

The right approach for different use cases

What is interesting is that in some cases, the right approach is a combination of both. For organizations that are highly regulated and must maintain certain data requirements with the date/time stamp, we take the route of placing the data in the chat file to maintain the metadata for compliance purposes.

For other organizations where the date/time stamp may not be as important, that’s where placing the actual chat piece into the new channel can be just as effective. Or, if you simply want the best of both, where users can search while maintaining those compliance needs, then it may be best to use a hybrid approach of both methods.

Clearing up misconceptions

At Quadrotech, it’s our goal to be as transparent as possible with our customers, and the fact is we just can’t do a lot of the things that all migration vendors would love to be able to do without these APIs. But we are not alone, as all migration vendors are dealing with the same complexities and we all have the same restrictions.

Our approach is to be very straightforward around what we can and can’t do in this space, while we continue to pressure Microsoft to release the APIs so we can perform the best migration possible for our clients, including helping to communicate the impact to end-users.

If you need to migrate Teams to another tenant, contact us today and our expert team will be happy to discuss your project.