Migration and unlimited support for Office 365 with COMPAREX Unified Cloud Management

As a consultant, I have often, in the last few years, been in contact with organizations that were either planning to migrate to the cloud or had actually taken the first steps in this direction. In most cases this was a migration from Exchange on-premises to Exchange Online, a SharePoint Online implementation or a data center-related project such as migrating and on-premises workload to the Azure platform.

In many cases, the early adopters have got their fingers burned and have come to realize that implementing a cloud environment, which is often a hybrid, is not always easy and also involves more complexity. Consider, for example, the dependence on Internet connections, the complexity of implementing and managing a hybrid environment and the relationships between the various Office ProPlus plug-ins and Office 365. My colleague Madeleine van de Rotten has written an interesting blog on this subject.

By Jeroen Engelander, Cloud Consultant - September 11, 2017

 Reading time: 9.00 minutes

In the meantime, most organizations are making the move in all confidence to Office 365. Along with my Cloud colleagues, I have noticed a number of recurring challenges from our customers. We have divided these into five main points.

Five recurring challanges with Office 365

  1. Knowledge: Microsoft provides a flood of information about Office 365, usually focused on implementation and new features. Nevertheless, we notice that there are still many questions regarding the hybrid identity and Exchange implementation. Questions about support and the performance of Office 365 have also been asked in many discussions. In addition, Office 365 is a service that is extended with new features every quarter. So far, 155 features have been added, 81 are currently being rolled-out and another 170 are under development. The management load for Office 365 naturally falls off over time, but with the best will in the world it is hard to determine the impact of all new features on the business.
     
  2. 24/7 availability: With the normalization of ‘the new way of working’, the working hours of many organizations have been extended. There are also many organizations with branches all around the world. How do you keep an overview of the performance and operational availability of Office 365? How do you know which branches are affected by any malfunctions? And who will you call and at what price?
     
  3. User Adoption: Users generally know perfectly well how they can exploit Exchange Online. After all, their e-mail is still available in the trusted Outlook application. If we look forward to the use of Skype for Business, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business or Microsoft Teams, we see that there is much to be gained from training users to make the most of the investment in Office 365. This is something that never stops, so it makes sense to make regular assessments of all the new features that keep coming and to monitor the adoption of all available solutions. It is our experience that, in spite of all the TechNet documentation, many features in the Office 365 suites that are purchased are simply not used.
     
  4. Security: With about 500 different settings spread over 11 portals, Office 365 is an excellent yet wide-ranging platform. How do you ensure that the Office 365 installation meets organization guidelines such as the ISO or NEN standards? The effect of a change in one of the 500 available settings may have major security implications if, as a result of lack of knowledge, you cannot determine the exact impact - for example, allowing, say, Human Resources or the Finance department to have unrestricted accesses to external parts of documents.
     
  5. Cost Optimization: After migrating to Office 365, it is no longer possible to have a shortage of licenses, but insight into how they are actually used is not straightforward. In practice, it is seen that many licenses are not used at all, or only part of the purchased Office 365 suite is in use. We can help you to see how the licenses are used so that you know what you can save just by pressing a button.

COMPAREX Unified Cloud Management for Office 365

I would like to show you our Managed Service solution, which is called COMPAREX Unified Cloud Management for Office 365. This service consists of three modules:

  • Support (Problem Management)
  • Optimize (Adoption)
  • Manage (Change Management)

COMPAREX Unified Cloud Management

Service Manager

All our services are managed by a dedicated service manager, who acts as a trusted advisor and a single point of contact. Together as partners we work to ensure that you succeed with Office 365. The service manager is responsible for the following:

  • Working with the organization to draw up and, as necessary, amend an adoption roadmap;
  • Managing the onboarding process;
  • Developing a long-term strategy with stakeholders in the business to ensure continuity and added value from the service;
  • Acting as a single point-of-contact, coordinating all resources and keeping the communication lines short and simple;
  • Being the escalation point, taking responsibility for the escalation team;
  • Providing a monthly audit report for all Office 365 configuration changes;
  • Providing a monthly SLA report with an overview of all logged support tickets, the status, the solution and the customer satisfaction. Part of this report will be an overview of the operational availability of the Office 365 environment based on our unique tooling.

Onboarding

Before you decide to use our managed service, you can try out our service provision and approach for 30 days for a small investment. This Proof of Value comes in two versions.

1. If you intend to migrate, we can use our Proof of Value to ensure that you make the first step towards Office 365 in the right way. In this version we provide:

  • A Cloud Readiness Assessment to deal clear away any hurdles prior to migration;
  • Implementation of Azure AD Connect;
  • Basic configuration of the Office 365 tenant;
  • Migration of the first 25 pilot users;
  • Customer Immersion Experience session: we guide the 25 users through the features of Office 365 in their own live environment (Office Pro Plus, SharePoint, Skype, Yammer, Teams, Delve, etc.);
  • Access to all modules for 30 days;
  • Configuration adoption dashboard and service health monitoring dashboard;
  • Access for end users to our online training platform;
  • Access to our 24/7 support line for all your technical and functional questions regarding Office 365.

2. If you already use Office 365, we will do the following:

  • A Cloud Readiness Assessment to deal clear away any hurdles prior to migration;
  • Implementation of Azure AD Connect;
  • Basic configuration of the Office 365 tenant;
  • Migration of the first 25 pilot users;
  • Customer Immersion Experience session: we guide the 25 users through the features of Office 365 in their own live environment (Office Pro Plus, SharePoint, Skype, Yammer, Teams, Delve, etc.);
  • Access to all modules for 30 days;
  • Configuration adoption dashboard and service health monitoring dashboard;
  • Access for end users to our online training platform;
  • Access to our 24/7 support line for all your technical and functional questions regarding Office 365.

Support

You have migrated your business-critical applications, such as email, to Office 365. Previously you could take control of the server and be kept informed of status of the mail environment by means of monitoring tools. But with Microsoft this is different. Although Microsoft offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee with their SLA, it is always possible for something to go wrong. You have less control over uptime and the performance of the environment. If an incident occurs, you can call Microsoft's basic support, or you can sign an additional Premier support contract with Microsoft.

With basic support, you are assigned to the Tier-1 support desk, together with hundreds of thousands of other customers worldwide, without any obligation for this to lead to a successful result. There are also additional costs and, in the worst case, you get a response time of 72 hours. Another option is to sign a very expensive Premier Support contract. This is too steep an investment for many organizations.

COMPAREX offers a competitive service that provides unlimited 24/7 support and deals with your technical and functional issues. During office hours we offer access to our own Dutch or English language helpdesk. Outside office hours and at weekends, we provide English language support, all with a 30-minute response time so you can be sure that your question or incident is quickly dealt with.

In addition, we can monitor the Office 365 environment and its associated on-premises components. We simulate user activity every 60 seconds to Office 365 from COMPAREX and your locations to find out where the disruption or performance issue is coming from. We also compare the reaction times with those of our other customers. If there is a malfunction, we will inform you of this proactively and determine with you the steps to be taken. Because we survey the entire environment with our monitoring service, we can quickly determine where the problem is and which follow-up actions should be deployed. This is useful because, if the cause lies with Microsoft, your organization’s call will be put straight through to the relevant level of the Microsoft Premier Support Desk and, if necessary, it will be escalated. We have an unlimited Microsoft Premier support contract and can provide targeted problem analysis and optimum resolution.

COMPAREX UCM Health Monitoring

Optimize

In the Optimize module, the service delivery manager ensures that an adoption roadmap is drawn up in collaboration with key stakeholders in the business. In addition, our adoption monitoring service measures the adoption of the products in Office 365. In this way we can work together to find the best adoption result for your organization! We provide end users with live webinars about all Office 365 solutions and allow them to access our online training platform, where they can learn by themselves to use Office 365 products by means of short videos. The successful adoption of new technology requires more than just a good setup of the technology.

Snel starten met Microsoft Teams

Providing knowledge to the employees who need to use this technology is at least as important. Many projects have failed because employees did not know how to work with the new solution. That leads to dissatisfaction. And the stream of new features and online services that is constantly being added to the Office 365 platform makes it even more important to pay attention to the needs of employees who work with Office 365. In our partnership we work together to determine whether the many features that are released are actually relevant to the business and whether or not user training is needed.

COMPAREX UCM - Adoption Dashboard

Manage

The Manage module is a combination of the Support and Optimize modules. Additionally, we take over the full management of the Office 365 tenant, including the change management for all possible Office 365 settings. We uphold security guidelines such as NEN7510 and ISO standards in your organization for Office 365, so that you can focus on your core business. In addition, we provide insight into the Office 365 licenses you use and provide advice on how to use them most effectively.

Would you like to learn more about our Unified Cloud Management solution?

We are confident that our services will help you in the digital transformation of your organization to the cloud. Every customer is different, so we invite you to get in touch if you want to share your thoughts with us. You can do this via jeroen.engelander@comparex.nl

Please contact us

Jeroen Engelander

Jeroen Engelander

Cloud Solutions Consultant

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