Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

Summary: Microsoft execs are doing a number of things to ready themselves internally and externally for the soon-to-be-launched Office 365, Microsoft's suite of hosted SharePoint, Exchange and Lync communications products.

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Microsoft's launch of its updated competitor to Google Apps, Office 365, is approaching. I'm hearing the Softies are closing in on the "code lock" for the product (slated for early June), with late June the likely new general-availability target.

Microsoft execs are doing a number of things to ready themselves internally and externally for Office 365, Microsoft's suite of hosted SharePoint, Exchange and Lync communications products. Internally, the company is moving some of its execs around as part of a reorganization in Server and Tools. As part of that reorg, Microsoft is moving the Online platform team, headed by Product Management chief Enron Kelly, from the Office division to the Server and Tools Marketing Group, as of July 1 (the start of Microsoft's fiscal 2012).

Kelly and his team are going to be working with Rajat Taneja on what's known as the "Service Delivery Platform" -- the underlying guts of Office 365, which includes the shared hosting infrastructure, commerce, user-experience/user interface, digital marketing and marketplace components. Kelly's team will be especially attuned to trying to figure out what kind of common commerce capabilities are needed in Windows Azure, Microsoft's Online Services division offerings, Xbox Live and adCenter, according to internal e-mail about the reorg. Microsoft execs have said Microsoft is planning to host Office 365 on Azure at some point, but haven't offered any kind of time frame as to when that might happen.

Externally, Microsoft and its partners are stepping up their educational campaign around the coming migration from Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS) to Office 365. At TechEd 2011 last week, Microsoft offered a handful of Office 365 sessions about Office 365, including a couple specifically focused on the coming BPOS-Office 365 transition.

I've pulled a few slides from the "What Do Existing BPOS Customers Need to Do to Prepare for Microsoft Office 365?" talk at TechEd to highlight what BPOS users could and should do to get ready to move over to Office 365. There are a number of moving pieces, including the planned phase-out of the current Live Meeting audio/video conferencing service and the SharePoint Online Deskless Worker SKU; new password requirements; and URL changes for Outlook Web Access and portals.

The Deskless Worker SKU is being replaced by the new Office 365 K ("kiosk worker") plans. The Live Meeting service is being replaced by Lync Online, Microsoft's unified communications product that does business instant-messaging, audio/video conferencing, VOIP and more. As the slide below notes, Microsoft will offer customers currently using version 2 of Live Meeting rights to use the product through the end of the company's FY 13 (which will be June 30, 2013.)

(click on the slide above to enlarge)

As Microsoft execs said last year, Internet Explorer 6 won't be supported when Office 365 is launched. Nor will Office 2003 or Office Communicator 2007 R2.

Once Microsoft makes Office 365 generally available, the company will begin contacting existing customers and offering them a transition window as to when they'd prefer to make the move from BPOS to Office 365. Microsoft is staging the moves so that all customers are not moved over at once. The "Blackberry transition" -- a k a, the period when BPOS customers using Blackberry Enterprise Services are moved from Microsoft's hosted BES to RIM's hosted BES offering -- is not going to happen right away. Instead, it won't begin until late 2011 or early 2012, as some of my contacts had been hearing earlier this year.

(click on the slide above to enlarge)

Microsoft is planning to migrate its Live@Edu users to Office 365 in the spring or summer of 2012. Microsoft currently is planning to complete all of the migrations of existing users to Office 365 within a year from when the transition begins.

For more particulars about the planned transition that might be of interest to adminsitrators/IT managers, here's the link to the full Office 365 migration presentation from TechEd.

Update: Microsoft's Office 365 transition center also has migration information for BPOS users.

Topics: Collaboration, Microsoft, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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22 comments
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  • MS should match Office 365 with a Free SKU to tackle Google Apps Free SKU

    Google is getting a big traction with this Free SKU just for mail in SMB space. Not just for Beta, in release version as well.
    jinishans
    • Google and free

      Hi. Not sure if you saw this recently, but Google has tweaked its pricing for Google Apps, adding some new caps and limits affecting SMBs.

      http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/google-tweaks-apps-pricing-for-smbs-sets-10-user-limit-for-free-access/47818

      MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

        @Mary Jo Foley -Besides I won't jeopardize business/enterprise class of Office365 for free consumer class solution form Google. I will actually pay Google to keep it to themselves. Real businesses will compare and see the glaring difference and go with Office365. Most who jump for GApps always run back to MSBPOS anyway.
        techiegz@...
    • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

      @jinishans So is Microsoft for their free SKU.
      Your Non Advocate
      • Does anyone know what is the with ever broken naming "system" at Microsoft?

        @facebook@... I mean that every four years there the quantity of days is 366.
        DDERSSS
  • Business customers are lined up

    I have so many clients in the pipeline for Office365. I look forward to the rollout and promotion of our beta clients to production status.
    Your Non Advocate
    • Message has been deleted.

      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh Trust me - there are a lot of businesses looking at Office 365... it's extremely popular... even if your snarky comment is not.
        jessiethe3rd
  • Thanks

    ...for the migration info. I was always wondering how this is going to work. I currently use BPOS in production through free partner accounts (250 seats for free! Booya!) and I have 1 trial account for myself that I've been mostly just playing with (not using for email or anything). I do want to move my website to the included public website offered through SharePoint but that option wasn't offered during the beta, so using the beta in production was completely out of the question, otherwise I might've switched before the final release. I didn't want to have to change a bunch of DNS settings either, so that's why I never seriously used my own O365 account - my own BPOS account is still what I use for daily use.

    There's that, and I also wanted to use the upcoming O365 Add-in for the Colorado servers. Any word on whether or not that's going to be available on Day-1 of O365 RTW?
    Joe_Raby
    • Add in for Colorado

      I am doubtful that will be available on day 1... The CRM addition to O365 also is something coming later (no date available from MS)... I'll ask and see if I can get more. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

    It is all fun and games until the network gets flaky.

    The first time an upper executive in a business using any app in the "Cloud" can't get to his or her app because Internet access is flaky or non-existent, the company will run back to local apps on local machines.

    The rank-and-file users will notice the problem first. But, corporate decisions are usually not overturned until someone with the executive clout to make things happen gets inconvenienced.

    Microsoft would do well not to put too many eggs in the "Cloud" basket. The "Cloud" is more like a bubble.
    MSBassSinger
  • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

    The "Cloud is only on line you will not save any files to your computer at all and hackers say their going to love it because all of the prgroams are online only you boot up your computer and you have to have to have the web all the time that is the cloud they will see all you do your love letters and pic's and all say no to the cloud it is BAD
    BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD
    ttx19
    • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

      @jt59 Do you think you can throw a datacenter together that is more secure than Microsoft's be my guest...
      jessiethe3rd
      • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

        @jessiethe3rd - As a former employee of a former Microsoft "partner", it's not so much the fear of Microsoft's security as it is of them having access to my or my company's data.
        Oh, and that former employer? They're out of business. Thanks Microsoft! Love ya. Mean it.
        NoCalDrummer
    • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

      @jt59@<br>I think you're talking out of your bi-polar brain crisscrossing around inside and shortening out. As long as you have to use something to connect to the Internet, then you can indeed save a copy for yourself...<br>What do you guys do at night, lay around in bed and think of who you're going to fight with the next day???<br>Anyone that's used office in the past, will certainly figure it all by themselves and others whom have never had any experience, or very little, will pick it up quickly!!! Sheesh....
      T-Wrench
  • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

    I have to give it to Microsoft. They're very slow, but once they got it, they're focused like an eagle on the hunt. I've tried it and even though there are less options available compared to the local copy, which I didn't miss at all, it blows everything else out of the water.
    vhaakmat
  • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

    Tried to create and edit a document on Word in the cloud. Won't do that again. It is little more than a .rtf editor and sloooow. Will only use it as a last resort. Open Office has tons more features.
    nrkmann@...
    • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

      @nrkmann@...
      or IBM Lotus Symphony :-)
      bApTizE
  • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

    Missing OOB external data integration could be a showstopper currently. 3rd party add-on helps! You can connect your enterprise data sources to SharePoint lists in the cloud using the "Cloud Connector for SharePoint 2010 and Office 365".
    fdaske
  • RE: Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform

    I'd consider trusting Office 365 because it's made by a company that's been in the game for a very long time. Google reminds me of some punk renegade biker gang that wants your money and peddles cheap solutions that look good on the surface but underneath it's just a POS!
    Rob.sharp