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Q&A with Don Jones: What To Expect from an Office 365 Migration

Don Jones, author of Redmond's Decision Maker column, went through an Office 365 migration with his company, Concentrated Technology LLC. Ahead of his similarly themed session at this year's Live! 360, Don shares some of the highs and lows of the Office 365 move.

Q: How was the initial set up?
A:
Mostly easy. We kind of screwed up and started a trial in the beta period, which we couldn't carry over to production, so have a weird account name now, but nobody sees that. We needed to learn a bit of Windows PowerShell to bulk-import our external address list, but it's a well-documented procedure -- and pretty neat once you've got it figured out.

Q: Were there any surprises?
A:
The need to use Windows PowerShell for some stuff. While I'm obviously a fan, it's not what Office 365 is marketed as. I imagine the Web UI will pick up more of that functionality over time -- just go in with your eyes open, and know that for a few tasks you might need to dive into the command line. The Lync Online piece was also a little dicey in the beginning, but that seems to have smoothed out now. It's working pretty reliably across Windows, Mac and even smartphones for us.

Q: You're an IT pro. How do you think a typical small business would handle it?
A: Pretty well. For the most part, it's no harder to set up and use than something like Gmail, and I like the interface a heck of a lot more.

Q: What advice would you give to Microsoft in order to broaden the Office 365 footprint in small businesses?
A:
Integrate Live Meeting in some fashion. Lync isn't great for conducting online meetings with people from outside your organization, so we still maintain a GoToMeeting account. As an MVP, I get a free Live Meeting account -- I'd love to see that made part of the overall Office 365 offering. Aside from that, frankly, I'm not sure why a small organization wouldn't choose Office 365. It's less expensive than on-premises, easier to manage and, unless you've got some specific security issues that Microsoft hasn't yet addressed -- and the company has already worked out a government-ready offering -- it's a great product.

If heading out to Orlando for year's Live! 360 even in December, make sure to catch Don's workshop, "Lessons Learned in a Small Business Office 365 Migration."

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/15/2012 at 1:19 PM


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