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Microsoft Promo Provides Support for Office 365 Migrations

Microsoft has kicked off a limited-time Office 356 promotional offer this month, but it's just for new customers.

The deal extends from Sept. 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 for new customers only that purchase 150 "seats," or more, of various Office 365 licenses. The promo is an extension of an earlier "FastTrack" Microsoft partner effort that provides Office 365 support to organizations, according to Microsoft's announcement on Wednesday.

The benefits of the deal for organizations include either working with a preferred partner to support adding Office 365 services, in which case, Microsoft will set aside some funds for the purpose, or an organization can choose to get remote support from Microsoft for an Office 365 e-mail move. It's an either/or kind of offer.

The promo details are published at Microsoft's "Office 365 FastTrack Onboarding Center" portal page. However, the deal comes with lots of caveats. Those nuances can be found at this Microsoft FAQ page.

For instance, the deal isn't available to dedicated Office 365 customers, free Office 365 education users and charity Office 365 users. However it is available to business, public sector/government users and paying Office 365 education users.

The deal doesn't apply to kiosk (K) Office 365 licensing or standalone Yammer licensing. However, beyond those restrictions, organizations can select from a variety of Office 365 licenses, as long as they purchase a minimum of 150 licenses. Microsoft lists the licenses that qualify for the deal as follows:

O365 E Suites, O365 Exchange Online, O365 ProPlus, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, OneDrive and Project Online, Project Lite, Project Pro for O365 and Visio Pro for O365 standalone SKUs (including G SKU equivalents and paid EDU SKUs).

The promo deal is sold through specific licensing programs, including "EA/EAS, Open, Open Value, Open Value Subscription, MPSA, AOS, and MOSP," according to Microsoft's FAQ.

If an organization opts to work with a Microsoft partner under this deal, that partner gets funded by Microsoft to provide certain kinds of support. Those support activities include e-mail migration, project management, data migration for e-mail, SharePoint or OneDrive, as well as application remediation.

Microsoft sets aside $15 per seat for that partner support, paying for the total number of seats that can range between 150 seats and 1,000 seats. However, if the order goes beyond 1,000 seats, Microsoft sets aside $5 per seat, up to a maximum of $60,000 total.

An organization has to have 15 percent of its licenses in active use for the partner funds to be provided. Organizations need to deploy their licenses "within 12 months of the initial purchase of the offer SKUs or before the end of the customer's current eligible agreement term, whichever comes earlier," according to the FAQ.

If an organization opts to get remote e-mail migration support from Microsoft under this deal, Microsoft recommends setting up a test group, as well as a schedule for the migration. Microsoft will send a report at the end of the migration process indicating any mailboxes that didn't make the transition. Those details are described at this Office 365 Deployment Center page.

Microsoft's remote e-mail migration service can help with moving the following existing e-mail implementations, according to the announcement:

  • Exchange Server 2003 or above
  • Lotus Domino 7.0.3 or above
  • Google Gmail
  • IMAP accessible environments

Smaller organizations purchasing less than 150 seats don't seem to be getting any special deals. Instead, Microsoft offers a FastTrack portal page with some technical guidance at this page.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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