Office 365 vs Google Apps webcast

I’ve just participated in a Google Hangout with Richard Tubb, Owen Kane and James Kimberly discussing the merits of cloud solutions like Google Apps and Office 365.

The inspiration for this chat came about after Richard Tubb moved from Office 365 and particularly Outlook, to Google Apps. There he found additional functionality with a number of productivity plugins. This move garnered some strong reactions on Google Plus which tended to focus on the technology. Hopefully, this webcast proves that it is the information that is important to the customer. So if you are expecting fireworks then you’ll probably have to wait till we no another webcast.

Have a look and let me know what you think and how we can improve this. Also if you have some topics you’d like to see discussed then by all means send them along to me at director@ciaops.com.

Many outsourcers will disappear

Have been reading from some interesting research on infrastructure outsourcing (IO) (Managed Service Providers, MSPs, if you like) from Gartner. They are predicting a market consolidation of up to 20% but here some other interesting snippets:

“Gianluca Tramacere, research vice president at Gartner, said traditional IO providers are at serious risk of extinction.”

“In the past decade many outsourcers have procrastinated, failing to make the changes needed to transform challenges into opportunities. Many will disappear- some slowly, some rapidly.”

“Traditional infrastructure outsourcers can no longer survive in their current state. The market won’t allow it and customers are demanding much more.”

Source – http://www.4-traders.com/GARTNER-INC-12710/news/Gartner-Inc-Many-Outsourcers-Will-Disappear-but-Which-Ones-and-How-Fast-16371739/

The report also has the following to say about small providers:

Small Managed service providers

The most immediate implication is for small outsourcing and managed services providers. The value-add they provide is eroded significantly when compared with cloud services. As larger organizations providing cloud-based solutions attract more small business customers, small IT shops will lose customers, margin and traditional service opportunities.

This is also an opportunity for those service providers that are agile enough to transform themselves into cloud partners. What I mean by this is that there are opportunities to help small businesses take advantage of cloud services and save money either through migration services or cloud service reselling. The sales pitch is easy but the margins are low. In order to have a viable business model, volume is key. This means that the small managed service provider will need to grow their customer base significantly to maintain sustainability.

So what does this mean for the IT pro at a small outsourcing shop? I would expect that there will be far less hands on technical work and much more menial administration across many more customers. There will also be an increase in network architecture and management requirements as connectivity to the cloud will increase in important compared to local connectivity.

This again simply reinforces what I have been writing about for a long while here. Just one example:

https://blog.ciaops.com/2012/04/valley-of-discontent.html

The Internet will force change on every business but only some will survive.

Adjusting license components in Office 365

Assigning a license to a user is pretty straight forward in Office 365, however if you ever need to change a license be careful of the following.

image

When you view a users licenses you will see something like the above. Now let’s say that you want to reassign an Exchange license so you uncheck the option like so:

image

Now, if you press the save button without assigning another Exchange license you’ll see the following:

image

If you proceed all the users Lync contacts will be removed but what about the mailbox?

From what I have been able to see is that if you do indeed make a mistake and fail to assign an Exchange license you can go back in and assign an Exchange mailbox to that user and all their mail will still be there. Now I can’t say for sure how long that will happen for but judging be the above message you would think 30 days, however I don’t I’d be willing to leave it that long.

So the moral here is, if you are adjusting Office 365 licenses between plan make sure you have assigned a license for everything that user required BEFORE proceeding and saving changes. If you don’t you run this risk of losing their data, however from the testing I have done it seems that if you correct your mistake quickly enough you should be ok.

Best advice is always to check before proceeding.

Office 365 Small Business Plans now have https

I was noodling away with a recently set up Office 365 Small Business Premium (P2) plan when I notice the following on the default team site:

image

In the previous version of the P Plan all the SharePoint sites (internal and external) were http like so:

image

I haven’t as yet tested all the new plans but I would have to assume that all new Office 365 internal SharePoint sites now run using https! (if not leave a comment on this post so I can check).

Yet another improvement over the old version.

Getting Started with SkyDrive Pro for Office 365

For people who follow along with blog you will know that I have done some posts on SkyDrive Pro including:

Even more SkyDrive Pro info

SkyDrive Pro Primer

A bit more SkyDrive Pro info

I have taken these, added more information and published my next e-Book – “Getting Started with SkyDrive Pro for Office 365”, which is the first title I have done on the new version of Office 365.

Abstract

This book helps users understand the basic usage and operation of SkyDrive Pro which is part of SharePoint 2013 in Office 365 so they can be more productive. SkyDrive Pro is a location with SharePoint that users can save and share files with others inside and outside their organization. It examines the following components of SkyDrive Pro: Uploading, Creating, Editing deleting and recovering files. It will show you how to edit, create and view documents as well as share files with contacts inside and outside your organization. It will show you how to synchronize these files to your desktop. If you are keen to find out how to make the most of SkyDrive Pro for Office 365 then this book is for you.

You can purchase the book at all the usual locations but I certainly would appreciate you purchasing it directly from my site at if it is of interest:

http://www.ciaops.com/publications

All purchases continue to support the work that I do in providing other free content like this blog and my YouTube channel. So if you find benefit from what I offer please support me and help me to create more. You can also assist by letting other know about this and my other publications.

Keep an eye out for more upcoming publications on the new Office 36 from me.

Some Office 365 training resources

With the plethora of material becoming available for Office 365 I thought I’d add a few links of some stuff I found recently that looks useful. Unfortunately, I haven’t as yet worked my way through it, but I will. In the meantime, it is not really worthwhile keeping all of that to myself so here it is:
Office 365 Ignite training
Cloud Sales Training – SMB Partners
Office 2013 / Office 365 – System Integrator
Office 365 – Business decision Maker/Sales and Marketing/IT Professional
SharePoint 2013 training for IT Professionals

CIAOPS Podcast–Episode 47

In this episode I speak with Justin Handley from Narasopa Media about marketing your business digitally. Justin shares with us some secrets that every business should implement when it comes to online marketing. Whether web sites or social media, have a listen and I’m sure you’ll find something.
You can listen to episode at:
http://ciaops.podbean.com/2013/03/07/episode-47-justin-handley/
You can support this podcast via http://donation.ciaops.com
Don’t forget all the other podcasts at http://ciaops.podbean.comand appreciate a like over at http://www.facebook.com/n2kpodcast.
Remember if you want to be a guest please contact me (director@ciaops.com).

Office 2013 now transferable

One of the big changes Microsoft made in Office 2013 was to remove the ability for some licences to no longer be transferable. This caused a lot of confusion so I covered in a previous blog post:
Office 2013 transferability made easier
The biggest issues was that you couldn’t transfer Fully Packaged Product (FPP retail) from an old machine to a new machine as you could with Office 2010.
I know this has clearly been an issue and source of hostility for many who feel Microsoft is unfairly ‘forcing’ them to a cloud only option. However, Microsoft has just announced that it is changing the licensing agreement for the retail product to allow customers to transfer software from one computer to another. The details are in this blog post:
http://blogs.office.com/b/office-news/archive/2013/03/06/office-2013-retail-license-agreement-now-transferable.aspx
but it says in summary:
“this change is effective immediately and applies to Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013, Office Professional 2013 and the standalone Office 2013 applications. These transferability options are equivalent to those found in the Office 2010 retail license terms.”
So please give Microsoft some credit for making this change. Many are quick to criticize but neglect to praise Microsoft when they do something like this. I would suggest that if you want to make them more receptive to change you need to acknowledge when they do make changes like this.