As you may have seen our Office Team is targeting simultaneous releases of the Office 365 service, Office 2013 clients, SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013, Lync 2013, Project 2013, and Visio 2013. More information on these exciting releases can be found here:
The New Exchange Reaches RTM!
Lync 2013 reaches RTM!
SharePoint reaches RTM!
Office Division RTM’s Office
So you may be asking yourself, “should I move forward with Office 365 now or wait for the upgrade to take place?” In the past the decision has often come down to your available resources, administrative readiness that is available, upgrade windows that align with academic years, and funding… just to name a few of the parameters. Additionally if you did decide to move forward with the current version of a server infrastructure, rather than waiting for the next version, most organizations locked this version for years in order to get the most out of their investment. Office 365 changes this model, we will keep your organization current with the latest version of our productivity stack.
A few points to consider -
1. All of our current Office 365 customers will be transitioning to the next version of Office 365.
2. The identity integration work that is built for the current version of Office 365 doesn’t change with the next version of Office 365.
3. There is no data migration required from you in order to move to the next version of Office 365, that process will be handled in the backend and transparent to both you and your end users.
4. You can setup a preview site to begin creating your training and professional development content here - http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en/office-365-enterprise. The preview is completely disposable, and will not be transitioned into production.
5. You can selectively roll out services today, for example if you want to just leverage Exchange Online and Lync Online you can, and move forward with SharePoint Online once you have been upgraded to the next version.
Why wait to talk advantage of the hosted platform that Microsoft makes available to our education institutions? If you can think of any, we would be happy to discuss them with you.
I'm concerned about what plans my clients will be moved to. It looks like the only official plans released are Home, Small Business and Enterprise. The small business plan appears to be 12 dollars and includes more features, but allows for less users. Where will the P1 users go? Will they get access to new features like SkyDrive Pro? How about E1 users? If I sign up an E1 client today, will they get SkyDrive Pro?
I ask because a lot of my clients are specifically asking for SkyDrive and I can't be sure which current plans will get them, what it'll cost if it doesn't and how much the updated plans will cost (and what they are, exactly) if we wait.
if you have academic customers, and they are on Office 365 for education, they will move to the next version as well. They will stay with whatever plan they have today, so if they are on A2, they will stay on A2 after the upgrade. The base offering for EDU is A2 (eq. of E2), which includes Exchange Online Plan 1, SharePoint Online Plan 1, Lync Plan 2 and the Office Web Apps. SkyDrive Pro is part of SharePoint Plan 1, so there are no issues for our academic customers. They should not be going to the Enterprise, Small Business or Home versions however, they need to be on the academic platform to maintain the no cost solution of A2. Finally if a customer wants to see the preview of the new Office 365 they can use the enterprise version, but the preview environment is purely disposable.