Office 365 Tips
Nearly 4 years ago, we began deploying cloud computing with Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). Microsoft selected Matrixforce because we’ve used and supported Exchange, SharePoint, Communicator, and LiveMeeting since the first versions (Exchange was the first product released in 1996). It was a different business model in which you had to have at least 5,000 individual user subscribers to be a viable business. Plus, Microsoft needed a Partner with business savvy to help regional and national business customers with consulting and productivity aspects in addition to infrastructure knowledge. Today, Matrixforce is one of the few Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partners in the world and we’ve been heavily involved with deploying the new Office 365 released in June. With all the confusion about Office 365 we thought we would share a few tips:
- Office 365 is a 2010 product set instead of the 2007 products for BPOS, so you’ll need to have Office 2007 or preferably 2010 on the desktop.
- There are several SKUs for Office 365 for business with the most common of the E series for Enterprise with E1 ($10 per user per month) being the equivalent to BPOS and E3 ($23 per user per month) the most popular choice with web apps and always current full version of Office.
- The Office 365 P1 offering during the Beta should be avoided as it has various limitations such as a hard user cap of 25, daily message delivery limit, and no ability to upgrade or downgrade to other products without backing up the data and starting all over.
- It is not required to move external DNS to Microsoft. Just add the appropriate CNAME, TXT, and SRV records to your existing external DNS and do not interrupt the corporate website or customer facing settings.
- Unless you have a large organization, Federation and Active Directory Synchronization make migration easy, but breaks some of the benefits of cloud as mail still flows through the on-premise site first and you may not be able to logon if the on-premise site is down.
- You can add Windows Messenger users to Lync and external company users to SharePoint without Active Directory Federation.
- If you don’t have an SSL certificate for ActiveSync or Outlook Web Access, you’ll need to get one to perform the Outlook Anywhere migration of Exchange mailboxes to Office 365.
- It may not be Spring, but now is a good time to clean out mailboxes and archive documents which you’ll find that over half are not relevant.
- Utilize the Team Site and try to eliminate a file server too. Know you’ll likely always have at least one server on-premise for policy and security, as well as any applications that cannot be moved to the cloud.
- Buyer beware as Microsoft is pushing all 600,000 partners worldwide to sell Office 365, but there are only approximately 50 Cloud Accelerate partners with proven implementation aroud the globe.