Office365 migration projects are given a high priority due to the importance of e-mail, calendar and contacts. Implementing AirWatch MDM for e-mail management shortens the Office365 migration time to few mouse clicks from weeks or month of manual work and provides additional benefits.

To keep this article crisp, I name the best ten reasons first and give more details and examples further below.

  1. Migration of all mobile email account settings takes seconds instead of weeks
  2. Users stay productive
  3. Same procedure for all device types
  4. Centralized control of all settings ensures standardization
  5. Full remote support capabilities
  6. Easy documentation and FAQ for all users available
  7. Reduced amount of support calls
  8. Enhanced security through device control, encryption enforcement, pass code policies
  9. Understand your mobile environment through dashboard reports
  10. Ensure user satisfaction

Now let's go into the details and some examples of customers who have done it the 'right' and the 'wrong' way and what are the lessons learned.

1. Migration of all mobile email account settings takes seconds instead of weeks

On the day when mail accounts are finally ready to be switched to the Office365 environment, administrators only need to complete a 15 seconds task per mobile operating system. This task is the change of Exchange Active Sync e-mail settings in the AirWatch AES Profile. After the change is done, devices will immediately receive the new settings and setup the mail accounts of the users for Office365.

Customers who have not implemented centralized mobile e-mail management report weeks of manual work to change device settings for each device a user owns. This binds support resources to a 100% repetitive task and partly forces users to visit the support desk, if they are not technical enough to do the change on their own.

2. Users stay productive

Whenever AirWatch manages an e-mail profile, users will only need to re-type their e-mail account (usually AD account) password in a pop-up screen, after which they receive their e-mails, calendars, contacts and tasks automatically from the Office365 environment.

In cases where e-mail migration is done manually, users will need to manually delete their existing e-mail profiles and configure the new e-mail settings by hand, which can become a frustrating experience if they do not remember all settings or instructions or simply mistype values. This can lead to users not being able to access their e-mails, calendars, tasks and contacts and naturally ends up in a support call.

3. Same procedure for all device types

Administrators do not need to learn the details of each mobile operating system out there. Whenever EAS profiles are created in the AirWatch Administration console, the process and settings are the same for all operating systems. Whenever a new device appears on the market, IT simply supports it, without needing to figure out the details of new UIs or setting options.

AirWatch supports Exchange Active Sync (EAS) Profile creation for: iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8.x, Windows Mobile, Symbian

4. Centralized control of all settings ensures standardization

As all devices receive the same set of settings, troubleshooting can be taking from a totally different perspective. AirWatch supports the utilization of parameters, so each user will receive their personal e-mail settings automatically and only needs to provide the password for the account. Should there be any issues, it is simple to verify if the e-mail profile has been applied; if this is the case, connectivity issues most likely are the cause of "things not working" support calls.

5. Full remote support capabilities

Administrators get full real-time remote support capabilities which means that users do not need to visit the service point physically. The remote support includes actions like:

- Removal of e-mail profiles

- Push of e-mail profiles

- Remote event log view of devices

- Installation of test profiles

- Even the temporary reversal to the old e-mail system is possible for certain (or all) users, if there are problems with their new account in the Office365 environment

6. Easy documentation and FAQ for all users available

User communication and information is essential in migration projects. But whenever multiple operating systems need to be covered, it can become difficult for IT and users to find the right approach. The biggest problem is that many users do not even know the name or type of operating system they are having on their mobile devices. Picking up the correct document for the according operating system already turns into a support call.

With AirWatch managed devices, users only need to open the AirWatch MDM agent to get insights into their device configuration and can easily understand what they are dealing with. And the best: For the e-mail migration they do not need to do anything. Just wait until they are prompted for their e-mail password.

7. Reduced amount of support calls

As device settings for e-mail, calendar, tasks and contacts are automatically setup/changed in behalf of users, IT can focus on essential tasks, instead of providing repetitive instructions for each user who does not find the right settings or complains about duplicate contacts or mails due to duplicate e-mail server settings.

8. Enhanced security through device control, encryption enforcement, pass code policies

Did you know that 3rd party apps on Android devices bypass exchange server requirements for encryption and pass code policies? If devices or e-mail apps are not controlled, users can setup virtually any app from a public app store and pass their e-mail credentials into the app.

Additionally users might setup an unlimited amount of devices with their corporate e-mail details. This lets IT in the dark about who and what is able to access corporate e-mails, tasks, calendars and contacts.

With the AirWatch MDM agent on the devices and via AirWatch PowerShell integration to Office365, IT gains full control of allowed devices, users, e-mail clients, passcode policies and encryption settings.

It only takes few minutes to integrate AirWatch with Office365 PowerShell commands and automatically blacklist or quarantine all devices, except the devices which are managed by AirWatch. AirWatch will actively allow managed devices, if they fulfill corporate criteria and block everything else.

For security sensitive environments Aerion Consulting has best practices available on how to disable Outlook Web Access (OWA) to ensure the integrity of remote mail access.

9. Understand your mobile environment through dashboard reports

Do you really know how many mobile devices are out there and which operating system they are running? How are you going to provide information to users on new e-mail account setup if you also support BYOD?

Managing first what is out there, allows IT to gain full visibility of the operating systems to support and to understand the impact of an Office365 migration.

10. Ensure user satisfaction

At the end this is what counts. Users do not want to dig through an A4 page long manual on changing settings on their devices which have no real effect/benefit for them, because they just keep on getting e-mail to their devices. So if the benefit is on IT and the organization side, then this side should also do the best it can to keep the "dirty" work away from users and customers.

Contact us for more information

Please contact us if you want to know more about how we can implement AirWatch and manage all mobile devices in just few days to give you a good start for your Office365 migration, or if you would like to talk to customers who have gone the 'right' and the 'wrong' way and can share their experience with you.