Faster Delivery = Happy Users
Automated Process = Fewer Errors
Standards = Cost Reduction
Order Visibility = Confidence
Linking Systems = Efficiency
As organizations on Microsoft Online Services, a.k.a BPOS, hear more about the release of Office 365, (which entered public beta this week) there’s plenty of uncertainty as to what the transition will specifically mean to them. So we dug out some of the most common questions and concerns and faced off with one of Softchoice’s Microsoft specialists, James Brannon, to get you the answers you need.
Navigator: When will BPOS customers be able to transition to Office 365?
Brannon: It will be about 3-6 months after the general release of 365. BPOS customers will be given this leeway time to work with their providers in planning and executing the most seemless transition possible.”
Which one of the many Office 365 plans will BPOS clients be migrated to?
There are several plans for a customer to choose from but the transition can still be easily done. BPOS clients will have the opportunity to choose the plan they want to migrate their employees to, however, if they do not choose a plan they will be automatically migrated to the most basic enterprise plan (E1). (See more about Office 365 plans.)
What are the key differences between BPOS and 365?
Actually this transition offers two seperate and equally important major changes for both the end user and the administrators. For administrative staff it’s all about simplified management. With 365 there will be no need to log in to multiple locations before entering the system because the system will run from one centralized admin pane.
For end users it’s exciting because all of the applications they will be using are the latest versions of Microsoft’s products and will give the user more control over their personal environments. (Read more about alternative Office 365 deployments)
What can/should customers be doing to prepare themselves for the transition?
Customers, if not currently using it, should be using System Center Configuration in their current environment. This is a application from Microsoft that helps to roll out patch management and applications to end users and to desktops, it could be integral in easing the burden of the transition.
There are also operating system requirements and productivity services requirements that should be considered. 365 customers need to be working with Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows XP SP3 or Mac OSX 10.4. They also need to have web based access to IE7 on Vista, IE8 on XP, Firefox 3.x, or Safari 4.x on Mac and office client access to Office 2010, Office 2007 SP2 or Office Mac 2008.
What are some of the most exciting features for BPOS users moving to 365?
The most exciting feature has got to be that Office 2010 is being offered as SaaS. This will give each user the ability to install Office 2010 on at least 5 devices which will greatly extend their ability to be mobile and flexible. People need flexibility and Office 365 can help to create a mobile work force for your enterprise by reflecting the way that people actually work and giving them access to the programs they need anywhere and on any device.
The size of the Exchange mailboxes in 365 is also a great feature. Being able to distinguish kiosk employees from enterprise employees and fitting them with the right sized Exchange mailboxes is a great plus for any enterprise.
The transition from BPOS to Office 365 doesn’t have to be a headache. Not only is Microsoft ready and willing to help, but so is Softchoice. Remember that preparing your enterprise for the transition is the biggest step towards making the switch.