Last Review: November
Product(s): BPOS, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office 365
In June of 2011, Microsoft released Office 365 for online services as the successor to Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). While offering various new features, the main difference is a backend infrastructure upgrade from 2007 products to 2010. From September 2011 to September 2012, Microsoft will transition BPOS customers to Office 365. After September 2012, BPOS will be discontinued. Background operations like data migration will be done by Microsoft, but customers will need to take some action on the desktop. There is a full transition site at Microsoft, but the following are the most important points:
Prior to the transition, you will begin to get e-mails with instructions to prepare. Verify the listed administrator e-mail addresses are monitored. The most important consideration is desktops must have Office 2007 (including the latest service packs and updates) or greater as previous versions are not compatible.
Next Microsoft will send an e-mail to propose a date range for transition. If the administrator does not respond, Microsoft will select a date. A customer can request a later date, but a transition date before June 2012 is recommended.
Before transition, administrators should ensure online passwords are at least 8 characters or have users change passwords. Administrators should also save these Office 365 Downloads. The Single Sign-On applications is replaced by an Office add-in and Lync replaces both Communicator and Live Meeting. The Office add-in and any updates may be installed before transition, but it is recommended to install Lync after the transition. Although not required, it is recommended to add a CNAME to external DNS of autodiscover.yourdomain.com that points to autodiscover.outlook.com. In addition, administrators must advise users of new Office 365 Important URLs.
Microsoft e-mail notice to administrators about transition will generally arrive on a Thursday, but transition does not start until late Friday or early Saturday. During transition, SharePoint sites are read-only, Outlook will continue to function, and mail flow will be uninterrupted.
After transition, Administrators should add the DNS records for Lync and change the MX record as specified in the Admin/Domain section of portal.microsoftonline.com. Users should re-open Outlook if left open and Outlook settings will automatically be redirected preserving existing profiles. Smartphone server addresses should be updated to m.outlook.com. Next for users using Communicator, Lync should be installed which will automatically uninstall Communicator and retain previous settings. Going forward, the first time a user opens Outlook they will be prompted to authenticate, but will not be prompted subsequently for Lync or SharePoint. There is also a save password option.