8 factors to consider when migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Office 365

Win2k3The retirement of Windows Server 2003 is closer than many think. If you haven’t started planning for your migration yet, now’s the time. For both those yet to start and those already underway, we’ve been presenting the options for migration from Win2k3, including Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Azure. In this final post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about licensing Office 365 (O365), Microsoft’s cloud solution.

O365 provides a number of flexible and cost-effective licensing and purchasing options for migrating Exchange and/or SharePoint to Microsoft’s SaaS offering. If you’re evaluating Office 365, ask yourself the following eight questions in order to make an informed decision on your strategy moving forward. Continue Reading…

Tags: , , ,

Avoid unnecessary pain by properly planning your move to O365

planningMicrosoft’s Office 365 (O365) continues to draw more organizations to the benefits of the cloud. O365 is Microsoft’s fastest-growing commercial product ever, and the cloud software suite was a key driver in the 147 percent jump year over year in Microsoft’s commercial cloud business revenue during its fiscal fourth quarter of 2014.

But while millions of licenses have been sold, not all have been deployed. Some organizations might be slow to take advantage of the O365 licenses they purchased, whether because it’s their first attempt at a cloud implementation, because IT is mired in maintaining the current infrastructure, or as is often the case, because they didn’t invest enough time in planning.

Planning how to deploy and secure O365 is a frequently overlooked topic. Here’s where to start: Take stock of your current IT expertise and resources, and identify any limitations that might hinder rollout of your new investment. There are a number of options available to help make the move to the cloud, so knowing where your organization stands early on will help you choose the one that gets you up and running on O365 faster.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine the best approach for your move to O365. 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: ,

Office for iPad: Answers to your most common licensing questions

Since Microsoft’s unveiling of Office for iPad two weeks ago, SHI has been inundated with phone calls and emails from customers asking about how they can get the new offering. This question would seem to have a simple answer given the nature of how easy it is to obtain apps on an iPad — just download it!

However, as organizations assess their current and future mobile device strategy, it stands to reason that the more robust capabilities available for Office for iPad require a more complete and thorough understanding of the licensing and cost models involved. For that reason, we’ve taken the time to address the five most common licensing questions organizations have asked about Office for iPad.

1. Is Office for iPad included in my existing Office 365 (O365) service plan?

In order to edit and create documents with Office for iPad, organizations must have an O365 ProPlus subscription. The following volume licensing (VL) O365 subscriptions include O365 ProPlus:

Microsoft-Office-365--Volume-Licensing-Plans

2. Is Office for iPad included in my existing Enterprise Agreement (EA)? 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: , , , ,

Microsoft gives students free access to Office 365 through new Student Advantage program

Of the 20 most needed future job skills, Microsoft Office ranks as the third most required skill, explicitly requested in 15 percent of positions, according to a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC. Designed to explore the technical and cognitive skills necessary for success in tomorrow’s high-growth, high-salary occupations, the study also found that Microsoft PowerPoint and Word hold the number 11 and number 13 spots, respectively.

With this data in mind, Microsoft will roll out a new program called Student Advantage on Dec. 1, 2013 to equip students of qualifying academic institutions worldwide with the latest version of Microsoft Office 365.

Microsoft introduced the program as a way to help students gain the skills and technical acumen necessary to pursue future occupations in high-growth career fields, such as medical support, sales, marketing, computer programming, and others.

Student Advantage also benefits academic institutions, namely in the form of huge cost savings. Mark Hachman of PCWorld estimates that a large institution such as Pennsylvania State University could save upwards of $2.9 million per year by using Student Advantage to equip students with Microsoft Office.

Beginning Dec. 1, any academic institution that licenses Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 A3 or A4, or Office Professional Plus for its faculty and staff and does so via Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES); Open Value Subscription for Educational Solution (OVS-ES); or School Agreement will be eligible to provide Office 365 ProPlus to students at no additional cost. To take advantage of this program, institutions must order the $0 Office 365 ProPlus SKU for students through their large account reseller (LAR) or a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER). Student Advantage will not be available through the Microsoft Online Services Portal. 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: , , , ,

Join SHI for a Microsoft Office 365 Webinar on Feb. 28

SHI Microsoft Webinar Series

Whether you’re a small or midsize business, an academic institution, a government organization, or large enterprise with advanced IT requirements, customers agree that Microsoft Office 365 makes it easy to create, communicate, and share in the cloud.

That’s why the next webinar in our Microsoft Spring 2013 Webinar Series is dedicated to showing how your organization can use Office 365 to securely collaborate with anywhere access to email, web conferencing, documents, and calendars. We’ll also cover Office 365 licensing, subscriptions plans, and deployment options.

The webinar is taking place Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. EST, so be sure to register here (scroll down to #5). Oh, and just for attending you’ll receive a chance to win an Xbox 360 to do with whatever your gaming heart desires, such as inviting me over to bust moves with you in Dance Central 3.*

If you can’t make it but have questions about Office 365, let us know in a comment below.

*Disclaimer: Video game and dancing partner not included.

Tags: , ,

Updates and changes to Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 was made available to business customers last week. As with previous releases, this launch not only includes updates to the Microsoft Office Suite, but also to the full line of desktop and server application products including Project, Visio, Lync, and SharePoint.

The last month of our Fall 2012 Webinar Series will be dedicated to exploring Microsoft’s new changes. But if you’re anxious to dive into Microsoft 2013 now, here are five key changes you want to keep in mind for this launch.
Continue Reading…

Tags: , , , ,