When we think about Microsoft Online (Cloud) services and specifically about BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), there is sometimes the tendency to shift our thinking too far to one side of the “ease of deployment” equation. Although it is true that the deployment of cloud based services takes away much of the classic burden of on premise deployments, much still needs to be done, and setting customer expectations is paramount. A migration to Exchange Online is not going to take 20 minutes!
So how long is it going to take to migrate your customer? Well that depends! …as I used to work for Microsoft Consulting Services I can say that!
It does depend and depend on many things. If you are new to the BPOS band wagon I would wholeheartedly encourage you to explore not only the resources on the Quickstart Online Services Resource Center, but also to the great info on the “Deploying the Business Productivity Online Suite” site.
To point out a few of the individual resources…
Deployment Overview Quick Reference (for larger deployments)
Deployment Guide (for larger deployments) – invaluable resource.
At well over one hundred pages it drills down into the knitty gritty. For instance it details the top support issues for BPOS and provides recommendations to remediate the problems. A crystal ball of sorts! I have listed them for you below.
Looking them over and knowing them ahead of time may save some headaches and help to ensure good customer satisfaction on your next deployment.
Almost anything you can think of is gone over thoroughly. Bandwidth considerations, Blackberry support, Co-existence with on premise solutions, Active directory synchronization are all covered. Assessment information I there, Details on phases of migration, etc.
Remember, in this model, the migration to BPOS is a one time opportunity for you and the customer. Hopefully, if everything goes right they will be able to get the next upgrade by clicking a button rather than buying new hardware and software and then paying you to deploy it. For this reason alone it is doubly necessary to set expectations with the customer ahead of time and to exceed them.
For smaller dployments we have a few other resources which you should be aware:
Step-by-step guidance online and Setup Accelerator
Lets look at each.
Step by Step Guidance online takes you to the “Help and how to portal” fr Microsoft Online Services.
From here you can get help on almost any topic that relates to the BPOS Suite!
Notice in addition to the documentation there are tools to streamline the administration of your customer’s environment. I like tools like that, and so do you!
The Setup Accelerator allows you or a customer to answer a few quick questions and get a list of links to instructions to help in the deployment/migration process. Though not as useful perhaps to you, it is a good resource to share with any IT personnel at the customer.
Here are two screen shots that demonstrate the questions and Instructions (my guide) views:
Remember the most important resource is the deployment guide, so make certain you download a copy today.