Deep Dive Into Office 365 Deployment (Part 1)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Both Microsoft Azure and Office 365 Public clouds have been a great success. There have been a lot of improvements in the cloud space recently, including the way cloud service providers have designed the processes and methods for reducing the overall TCO for organizations. Many of the public cloud vendors offer a variety of services that help increase the productivity of the users. Office 365 is one of them.

Microsoft Azure offers IaaS and PaaS services, whereas Office 365 is a great SaaS public cloud platform allowing organizations to avail cloud-based services such as Email, SharePoint collaboration, online meetings, Dynamic CRMs, and many more. If you’re looking for a detailed description of the platform services offered by Office 365, please take a look at this link. The first part of this article series walks you through the common requirements that you might see from a customer and the second part explains the Office 365 Services that you can use to meet common requirements from the customer. In part 3 and subsequent parts of this article series, we will learn about the deployment approach you should follow to successfully implement required Office 365 services.

Recently, I have been involved in a project where the customer wanted to avail Office 365 services such as Email, Lync, SharePoint, and dynamic CRM and also be able to build a Hybrid cloud environment. The requirements from the customer indicated that they should be able to host users at both on-premises and cloud and also plan to keep a few services such as Exchange and SharePoint services on-premises to build a Hybrid cloud environment. By taking a close look at the requirements document that I received from the customer, I found the following items:

Customer Requirements

Our environment is growing fast. We are planning to extend our business by implementing three more locations. We are starting three new branches in Seattle that will help us gain more user base for our products and services that we offer in other locations across the world. We would like to utilize Office 365 services instead of hosting infrastructure services at three new locations. In fact, we have decided to use Office 365 services for most of our locations. However, before we start to move to Office 365, we would like to highlight our requirements as listed below:

  • We need to sync our on-premises users to the Office 365. However, it is important to note that some of the users need to be controlled by using the Office 365 security policies and some users will be controlled using the security policies defined in on-premises Active Directory. For example, we would like to use the password policies defined in On-premises Active Directory to meet compliance and regulatory requirements.
  • Although we have 28 locations around the world, but we would like to use Office 365 services for some locations. In other words, we would like to exclude location X and Y.
  • We should be able to manage mobile devices for all locations via Office 365.
  • We have a few corporate applications that we want to deploy in Office 365 cloud. We would like users to use their corporate Active Directory credentials rather than using Office 365 credentials to run these applications. In other words, we would like to have Single Sign On experience for all of Office 365 services we plan to use.
  • We do not want to move all of our infrastructure. We would like to keep Exchange and SharePoint services on-premises and integrate with Office 365 to build a hybrid cloud environment.
  • Please note that we have roaming users in some of the locations and they should be able to access both on-premises and Office 365 services/resources.
  • We want every user location to install and use Office Pro Plus from their computers and smart devices.
  • Since our users are located across the world and business requires that users interact with each other, our employees should be able to collaborate with each other by using a community forum.
  • We also need to ensure that we protect company information. Currently, we are using AD RMS in our environment, but we would like to migrate our AD ARM infrastructure to Office 365 RMS and be able to protect company information for both Cloud and On-Premise users.
  • We have heard about second factor or multi-factor authentication. We would like to implement a strong authentication mechanism for users other than just the user password.
  • We also need to have an email screening policy in place that helps us screen emails before they are delivered to employees/partners/suppliers.

Apart from the above requirements, customer will need to have a strategy in place that future proofs the Office 365 deployment as well as:

  • Adhering to legal and compliance requirements by delegating some tasks to the delegated teams such as compliance and auditing teams.
  • Gain return on the IT expenditures.
  • Reduce overall CAPEX and OPEX.
  • Reduce On-premises storage costs.
  • Increase staff productivity by eliminating the need for IT personnel.
  • Enable user productivity by allowing users to bring their own devices (BYOD).
  • Simplifying document management and improve collaboration.

In a nutshell, the customer demanded an infrastructure that will help them gain returns on the IT investments, have delegated teams for managing different aspects of Office 365 services, reduce the overall storage costs by eliminating the need for storing emails and documents on-premises, increasing the staff productivity and so on.

As an experienced Office 365 Architect, you can easily achieve the above requirement by utilizing the services offered by the Office 365. However, it is imperative to understand that since there are multiple Office 365 services to be deployed to meet all of the requirements listed above, it is necessary that you follow a steady deployment process. This is where this article series comes handy.


This part explained the common requirements we might see from a customer. In the next part of this article series, I will talk about the Office 365 Services that you can use to meet the requirements from the customer and then in part III and subsequent parts I will explain about the deployment process.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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