Portal aims to slash cost of Office 365 migrations

Nick Beaugeard CEO HubOne

IT services company HubOne has built a service that automatically generated reports for Microsoft BPOS customers wanting to upgrade to Office 365. The service, at transition.MigrateOffice365.com, created an inventory of desktop PCs and smartphones within a business and wrote a report on the steps required to prepare each computer and device for working with Office 365.

HubOne CEO Nick Beaugeard (pictured on right) said a 10-person business with 20 machines would typically pay an IT services company more than $1500 for the two days’ work needed to compile a similar report. By comparison the HubOne service cost $29.95 for five users and $5 per user above that.

“All the steps in the report follow Microsoft’s recommendations in what you should do (to transition to Office 365). An (IT services company) needs to find out what every machine is and do those steps.

“Most SMB customers in my mind are going to say ‘I’m not paying for that’,” Beaugeard said.

Microsoft has said it would finish migrating all BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) customers to Office 365 by July 2012. However, Microsoft would only migrate user data and settings stored in its data centres. BPOS customers would need to reconfigure desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets to access correctly Office 365.

Beaugeard said the report had enough detail that technically minded business owners could use it to do the migration themselves.

The report was divided into an overview of the business’ IT assets, a list of tasks for transitioning each user and three appendices with checklists to use before, during and after the transition.

The report covered preparatory steps such as changing passwords and updating browsers and operating systems on office PCs and reconfiguring domain records of the company website.

“It is going to work for customers who don’t want or need a service provider all the way up to slightly larger organisations who want a really quick way to get that step-by-step guide,” Beaugeard said.

“Even an organisation that wants to get a partner to do the migration can work out exactly what needs to be done and then get three quotes.”

HubOne has tested the service on five customers with a combined 768 users running on desktops and mobile devices running Windows, Mac OSX, Android and iOS (iPad and iPhone) operating systems. Beaugeard said the service could cater for an enterprise with up to 2000 users.

HubOne had also built an automated service for the BPOS to Office 365 migration. Beaugeard said his next project was to combine the preparation and migration processes with a self-service portal.

“Instead of businesses spending thousands of dollars to get migrated they could be spending hundreds or tens” of dollars, Beaugeard said.

Disclosure: Nick Beaugeard is an adviser to BoxFreeIT.

About Sholto Macpherson

Sholto Macpherson is a business technology journalist, consultant and analyst specialising in cloud accounting software.

Sholto is the author of the Macpherson Report, which examines the key technology trends facing accountants in Australia.

He lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

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