Don’t fall behind on implementing the Third Platform

mainframe computerThe Third Platform, the next phase of the IT revolution, has arrived. While the First platform was the mainframe computer and the Second was built on servers and PCs, the Third Platform is a puzzle of new technologies — social networking, cloud services, and big data analytics — run on mobile devices.

Industry analysts and researchers have noted the impact of these technologies on business. This “Nexus of Forces” is the new platform for digital business, and is transforming how businesses interact with their customers.

Business requires innovation to survive. Simply maintaining “business as usual” threatens even the largest, most established brands. The Third Platform offers the innovation organizations need in four main components – mobile, social media, the cloud, and big data — all of which are spurring growth, strengthening relationships, and improving competitiveness. IT departments, whose role typically involves overseeing the legacy IT resources, and executives planning for the future will need to fully embrace these ideas in order to stay relevant. Continue Reading…

Tags: , , , ,

Microsoft’s O365 price change: What every customer needs to know

O365 BannerMicrosoft Office 365 (O365) has seen its fair share of changes, both in features and functionality and in price point. Most notably, in May 2012 and then again in September 2013, Microsoft decreased pricing on O365 by roughly 15 percent in both instances. Now, effective August 1, Microsoft increased pricing by 15 percent on its O365 Service Plans E1, E3, and E4, aligning them with the pricing offered back in May 2012.

This price change affects both Enterprise Agreement direct and indirect programs whereby an organization is adding O365 plan subscriptions to the agreement for net new users or is transitioning qualifying licenses with Software Assurance (SA) to O365 plan subscriptions.

In conjunction with this O365 price change, Microsoft will also be offering a new, discounted SKU for customers that have invested in fully paid perpetual licenses with SA and are looking to transition to O365. This new SKU, called O365 from SA, will be available to purchase at your agreement anniversary date or upon renewal of enrollment. Eligibility is dependent on your organization’s current on-premises entitlements at the time of transition.

The following table illustrates when customers are eligible to apply an O365 from SA user subscription license (USL) to their agreement either at agreement anniversary or agreement renewal. Continue Reading…

Tags: , , ,

The 4 biggest Office 365 migration challenges and how to overcome them

Overcome-Office-365-Migration-ChallengesOffice 365 (O365) makes it easier for small, medium, and large organizations to create, communicate, and share in the cloud. Leveraging the Microsoft cloud can greatly reduce corporate expenditures on infrastructure and upkeep, and save money on hiring costly data managers to maintain systems.

While some companies have already made the switch to O365, many remain uncertain about the transition, with most fearing the migration process itself. As with any major transition, an O365 migration can present some roadblocks, but many are easily addressed for a smooth transition to the cloud.

Here are four of the biggest challenges SHI sees companies face when migrating to O365 and how to solve them. Continue Reading…

Tags: ,

4 questions customers are asking about licensing Office 365

This post was updated on Dec. 4, 2015.

Microsoft has attempted to simplify the licensing of Office 365, but the rules can still be confusing, especially when migrating from a perpetual-based licensing model to a subscription. To clear the air, we’ve compiled and answered four of the most common licensing questions organizations ask when looking to transition to Office 365. Continue Reading…

Tags: , , , ,

2013: The year of enterprise IT

Remember when Wall Street was bullish over the future of IT? When the Nasdaq soared 40 percent over 12 months, outpacing both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average? When the share prices of giants like Microsoft and HP grew by as much as 40 percent (or more), and new players entered the stage, encouraging widespread adoption of technology and providing choice that was not available just a few years prior?

Of course you remember. It was 2013.

Which made me wonder: Why are there so many stories, ranging from the political to the cynical to the usefully comical, about 2013 being a lost year for IT?

It’s possible 2013 was the year IT realized what carmakers, pharmaceutical companies, and utilities providers have known for a long time: The more reliable and dependable your products become, the harder it is to wow the consumer audience.

Thirty years after Steve Jobs received a standing ovation for letting the Macintosh speak for itself, consumers are more interested and engaged than ever. But they seem to be watching IT with folded arms. Until George Jetson folds a flying car into a suitcase, we may never get back to that singular wow moment.

But a not-so-well-kept secret among the corporate, academic, and government IT professionals SHI supports worldwide is that 2013 was a great year for enterprise IT. According to Dow Jones, four of the 10 most talked about public companies in 2013 were in IT–Google, Apple, Microsoft, and IBM.  Continue Reading…

Tags: , , ,

Microsoft adds flexible, cost-effective Office 365 purchase option

Effective yesterday, Aug. 1, Microsoft customers have a simpler way to add Microsoft Office 365 to their Enterprise Agreements (EAs). Known as Office 365 Add-ons, the new Office 365 purchase plan will allow new, existing, or renewal EA customers to procure Office 365 as an “add-on” to their existing on-premises Software Assurance (SA) investment.

Why Microsoft Office 365 Add-ons are a breath of fresh air

When Microsoft introduced Office 365 a couple of years ago, the goal was to move organizations to the cloud and transition their on-premises, perpetual license workloads, such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office ProPlus, to a hosted subscription-based licensing model. But with thousands of customers already under Enterprise Agreements for these traditional licenses with Software Assurance, the process wasn’t going to be easy.

In order to accommodate organizations that wanted to begin transitioning to Office 365 before the term of their Enterprise Agreement ended, Microsoft offered a purchase option that introduced transitional part numbers (SKUs), Client Access License (CAL) Bridges, and pricing changes that would account for the difference in what customers were paying on-premises versus what they would need to pay in the cloud.

Additionally, Microsoft had to update many of its contractual documents, including Enterprise Agreements, to accommodate terms for online services. The new language used to address minimum purchase order requirements, price level minimums, true-up due dates, and other conditions brought about a whole new set of program terms or changes.

The result: the hybrid licensing model that many customers use today. This licensing approach has its benefits. It allows organizations to transition to cloud services at their own pace, matches online services plans to meet requirements of users within the organization, and amasses no incremental costs in a year for equivalent transitioned users. These benefits make the hybrid licensing model optimal for customers looking for a long-term solution.

However, the new SKUs, licensing options, and product/program terms introduced by the transitional hybrid licensing model add a layer of complexity that can become an unforeseen administrative burden for some organizations. Continue Reading…

Tags: , , , ,

CIOs reveal 6 ways cloud services are changing IT

At Cloud Expo this week, SHI had the opportunity to participate in a number of presentations and panel discussions about the state of the cloud services industry. We offered insights that have come not only from our experiences delivering these services, but through a series of CIO roundtable events we have been hosting over the past four months.

Using some of the best practices and case studies gleaned in these sessions, our CTO, Rich Taggart, kicked off the Expo for us on Monday with a breakout session highlighting how cloud services are changing IT delivery and, as a result, the role of IT departments. One of the attendees of the presentation, Michael Steinhart of The Enterprise Cloud Site, summarized the key takeaways in his article “CIOs Evolving With Cloud Services.”

Check out what he had to say:

CIO best practices and IT case studies

Tags: , , ,