Thursday, April 12, 2012

Our Recent Switch to Office365: How it Went & First Impressions

Microsoft Office365We recently switched to Microsoft Office365!

Prior to the transition, we were running our own Exchange Server in-house and while that’s fine & dandy, we decided it was time to move everything into the cloud.

Not to mention, we were among the millions of San Diegans affected by the massive power outage back in September 2011. As you can imagine, it’s fairly hard to work without power at a technology company, so... to the cloud we go!

Migrating from Microsoft Exchange to Office365

Thankfully, Microsoft made it extremely easy to transition from an Exchange Server to Office365.

Transferring users, groups and mailboxes was painless and mail continued to be sent/received through the Exchange Server while the migration process was underway, minimizing the impact that the transfer had on the business workflow.

Once the migration was done, all of the mailboxes were synchronized one last time to make sure nothing was skipped. MX Records were then updated right before the migration is finished and voilà! The data migration was done.

Now, since we opted for the plan with all of the fixings (E3, cloud-based email, shared calendars, Lync, Office Web Apps, SharePoint & Office Professional Plus), we had to install the complete suite of Microsoft Office 2010, Lync 2010, and setup our desktop for Office365. Again, a piece of cake since all of the necessary files were available for download upon our first login to the Microsoft Online portal.

And of course since we’re all constantly glued to our smartphones after we leave the office for the day, we each updated our Android devices to sync our mail, contacts & calendars from Office365.

Our First Impressions of Microsoft Office365

So, how do we feel after the switch?

Obviously, we were all a fan of the ease of the migration.

Cloud-based email has made it very easy for us to check our email from virtually any computer that has a browser and internet access. We can easily share calendars and synchronize our schedules, which can be a big help when sales calls come into play.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of SharePoint since it allows me to save documents created in Office straight to the cloud. From there, Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote documents can easily be edited online, which is helpful when you’re not using a work computer with Office installed (*cough*my personal Mac*cough*).

Not to mention, the Team Site allows me to store our marketing content in one central location that each of us can access from anywhere at anytime.

It's also comforting to know that everything is backed by enterprise-grade reliability, disaster recovery capabilities, multiple data centers, continuous monitoring and a very strict privacy policy. All with a guaranteed 99.9% up-time, money-back guarantee!

Want to Try Microsoft Office365 In Your Business?

For those of you who didn’t know, Office365 offers flexible, pay-as-you-go pricing plans that help you get all of the functionality you need in your business. If you’re interested in a 30-day trial (no credit card required), you can sign up for one of the following plans:

  • Small business plan (P1), which includes:

    • Cloud-based email

    • Shared calendars

    • Instant messaging, PC-to-PC calling, and video conferencing

    • Web-based viewing and editing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files

    • Team intranet site for sharing files and content

    • External website

    • Antivirus and anti-spam filtering

    • Microsoft community support

  • Midsize business & enterprises (E3), which includes everything in the P1 plan, PLUS:

    • Live 24x7 IT customer phone support

    • Office Professional Plus 2010 desktop version subscription (for up to 5 devices per user)

    • Active Directory synchronization

    • Configurable anti-spam filtering

    • Unlimited email storage and archiving

    • Hosted voicemail support

    • Team intranet site with 300 sub-sites for sharing files and content

    • Customize this plan by purchasing additional services like Kiosk plans and additional storage

    • Supports on-premise, online, and hybrid deployment options

I’ll be posting more about Microsoft Office365 in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out if you’ve been thinking about making the switch in your business.

Feel free to shoot over any questions you may have as well.

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