Office 365 is a big change that raises some confusion for enterprises accustomed to buying desktop licenses. Is licensing and deploying Office 365 simple? Will all our user data need to move to the cloud? Is it just “install and go?” Does Office 365 reduce administration? The short answer is that it isn’t and it doesn’t. But IT Managed Service Providers like TierPoint, can make it easier by providing expert guidance and resources every step of the way – from discovery and licensing to deployment and administration.
Myth #1: Office 365 licensing is easy.
In fact, licensing is complex and timing matters.
We have found that many of our customers appreciate our help in navigating the business side of Office 365 as much as the technical side. This involves identifying the right user subscriptions and the right time to move to Office 365. It can be complicated. An enterprise may be paying annually on a three-year Enterprise Agreement (EA) with Microsoft for traditional Office licenses installed on PCs, for example. This CapEx is sunk cost, so timing matters.
Office 365 moves the business expense from CapEx to OpEx. The service is billed monthly, for example, and if an employee leaves, their subscription cost goes away, too.
We work closely with our customers to understand what they have and to identify what they need. Microsoft will sell as little or as much Office 365 as a customer requires each month. If a customer just purchased Microsoft Office, they may only need Office 365 email (Exchange Online) subscriptions.
[Related post: Office 365 Managed Services Provider: 7 Reasons Why]
Myth #2: Office 365 is a ‘one solution fits all.’
In fact, deploying Office 365 may involve a hybrid approach.
Deploying Office 365 in an enterprise is often complex. Business needs may dictate that some user data be moved to the cloud but some user data remain on premises. Exchange and Active Directory may both need to be housed on premises and replicated in the cloud. We work with our clients to determine the best deployment methodology for their situation and optimize their cloud model to meet their business needs. This includes hybrid cloud implementations with Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS, as well as TierPoint Cloud and colocation solutions.
Myth #3: Office 365 does not require customization.
In fact, planning and design can greatly enhance the end-user experience.
Enterprises that self-deploy often run into ‘gotchas’ that affect the end-user experience. For example, depending on the deployment, the result could be single sign on, same sign on or dual sign on could be required. Will end users sign into the company domain, and then have to sign in again to Office 365? TierPoint guides our customers through the options and explains the end user experience for each. In a hybrid deployment, for example, we can stand up servers that synchronize between on-premises Active Directory and Microsoft’s cloud, so end users have a seamless experience with password changes that stay in sync between cloud and enterprise systems.
Myth #4: My team won’t be burdened because Office 365 is automated.
In fact, there’s a lot of administration, just as there was before.
Office 365 essentially swaps out on-premises servers, such as Exchange, and gives the job of managing the server infrastructure to someone else – in the cloud. This saves the customer CapEx and IT resources – but someone still needs to manage end-user devices, desktops and email administration.
In addition, Microsoft will make automatically make applications and updates available. But do you want users to upgrade at any time? Many Managed Office 365 customers prefer to ensure their organization has a centralized process for managing updates. Similarly, Office 365 customers by default automatically receive a myriad of tools – such as SharePoint Online, Skype for Business, Teams – and more are added all the time. Some companies choose to let everyone play with all the latest tools, but other customers want to monitor that. TierPoint can manage end-user access for our customers, easing the burden of management, administration and support for new versions and new services.
In fact, TierPoint makes Office 365 easy
We do this every day. We know how to navigate the common challenges and how different deployment models will affect end users. We apply our deep experience with cloud computing, colocation and on-premises deployments to ensure our customers maximize the benefits and experiences of each Office 365 investment. TierPoint will provision the right Office 365 subscription for each end user and provide full management and support to ensure the best outcome.
Learn more in the Managed Office 365 fact sheet or feel free to comment below.
As a Senior Product Manager, Midd is responsible for delivering key features to define and translate TierPoint’s cloud product strategy into innovative and compelling solutions. Midd brings over 20 years of IT infrastructure, operating system, database administration and product management experience to the TierPoint team.