Office 365 switch may hit BPOS die-hards


blog Are you a customer of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite who hasn’t yet confirmed your intention to upgrade to the new Office 365 paradigm? Well, reality check: You don’t have much time to make the change before BPOS is switched off, and you could reportedly even lose your existing hosted data if you don’t get a move on. Local cloud media outlet BoxFreeIT reports on a somewhat frantic email Microsoft’s local cloud partner Telstra has sent to its own partners on the matter (we recommend you click here for the full article):

Telstra wrote in its email to T-Suite Microsoft Online Services (MOS) partners, “We require your URGENT support to contact your BPOS customers who are yet to consent to the terms and conditions for migration to Office 365 which will avoid disruption to their online service.”

Sounds like this migration process isn’t quite being managed as smoothly as it could be. Well, that’s probably to be expected, given that the cloud computing landscape is still relatively in its infancy, the products are still changing regularly and the relationships between the various players haven’t quite been hammered out yet. But we suspect that this little kerfuffle shows the whole process is a little too fast-moving for some, who will cling to a service even if it’s being closed down. Ah, BPOS. We barely knew ye.


  1. This is an interesting first example of the fact that the remorseless iterative evolution of cloud services is a two-edge sword … the service gets better (good) but the customers need to keep up or get left behind (bad?).

    The iterative evolution, however, is indeed “remorseless”. Cloud services providers have no interest or motivation to maintain access to ‘old’ versions of their services. The deal is, “we are running fast into the future, come along with us if you also want to run fast and can keep up. We can’t afford to carry you though if you aren’t fit enough, so think about it”.

    Two things are required for cloud services to work. The first is good cloud services with all of the attributes that characterise what I call the Cloud Innovation Edge: large operational scale, focused R&D and skills, multi-tenant architectures and operational models, high resiliency, configurability, iterative functional evolution, genuinely services-oriented architectures with published interfaces, integration with social and mobile platforms, Internet-age authentication and security, user self-service, usage-based charging, transparent performance reporting and the creation of platforms for the integration of ecosystems of other vendors and service providers. This will take time to evolve …

    The second thing that is required, however, is intelligent customers that are prepared to adopt a new set of expectations, behaviours and skills for how they source and manage ICT capabilities. This will take time to evolve …

    Cloud services can end in tears if either of these things are missing … so keep your eyes open people.

    • Very true.

      We’ve seen plenty of examples in other fields over the past few years of cloud-based services shut down or substantially modified without a lot of user consultation. In the consumer space, it could be something as simple as a redesign of Google Apps which most people don’t like (and would have preferred not to be forced to use), or Apple forcing customers down a certain path with upgrades. Another example might be the way Microsoft forces you to continually upgrade your Xbox 360 on demand — or else you won’t be able to connect to Xbox Live.

      In the enterprise space this is clearly going to go a lot slower — large vendors like Microsoft and, when they do enforce changes on users, tend to give those users a lot more notice — at least three to six months, if it’s a minor change, longer if it’s a change as substantial as BPOS to Office 365. But it seems clear that in some cases there is going to be no way out of that change — you either adopt it, or you lose access.

      As you say, Steve, this will require customers to be more flexible in adopting change as it comes through, with regular small iterations.

      I think many customers can handle this in general. What I would be more concerned about, however, if when third-party developers or even large customers themselves start building things on top of these cloud platforms. We’ve seen in the desktop space, for example, that Windows XP and IE6 continue to stick around because so many other systems were built on top of them. Will this happen in cloud computing as well? Will Microsoft gradually lose the ability to make major innovations as third-party additions get ladled on top of platforms like Office 365? I haven’t seen many examples yet, but I’m sure this is already happening with some of the platforms out there — and, for example.

      Interesting times.


  2. Having been through a 40 user migration just a few weeks back, things went pretty smoothly…. until the sync issues became apparent.

    It was > 7 days since the migration, so Microsoft refused to assist. I’m now dealing with Telstra directly and the experience isn’t exactly instilling any confidence in me that they know what’s going on.

  3. Calendar/meeting request acceptance status (accepted, tentative, declined) not syncing between devices. It doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s proving a nightmare for a group of travelling sales reps.

    • That’s actually a pretty major issue, when you consider how many organisations absolutely rely on their Exchange shared calendar systems for everyday functioning. And this is also exactly the kind of thing which you would expect to go wrong when you migrate platforms from something like BPOS to Office 365. This is the kind of little nitty gritty stuff which takes a while to sort out post-migration, and the reason why a lot of customers don’t like doing these kind of migrations at all.

      This ties in rather well with a blog post I just wrote on this subject:

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