Another piece of news from the first day of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference that is worth keeping in mind is that Microsoft has made it possible to move from one Office 365 customer plan, or SKU, to another without the migration problems that have plagued these moves until now.
Office 365 SKUs
This may seem like a no-brainer, and something that should have been done from the beginning, but given the complexity of the different enterprise plans that emerged when Office 365 was launched originally, and again when it was upgraded, moving from one plan to another is complicated enough to dissuade any enterprise from trying it.
The release of these new ‘transition SKUs’ comes as Microsoft continues to dangle a great, big cash carrot to enterprises and resellers to come into the Office 365 stable.
With the new SKUs, customers in different Office 365 payment plans can move up to a better plan without having to take all their data out of Office 365 and then migrate it back into the new plan, or tenant.
Until now, users of the Office midsize enterprise plan, for example, that wanted to move to the Enterprise Office 365 option, would have to take their content out of the midsize offering and push it back into the Enterprise offering.
With the new SKU, they will no longer have to do this. Currently, it covers Exchange Online, Enterprise, Government and Academic offerings.
Office 365 Upgrade SKUs
But it was not only about cloud-based Office 365 -- Microsoft has also announced the availability of another set of SKUs called ‘upgrade SKUs.
These will enable enterprises that are already using on-premises versions of Office to upgrade to Office 365. With it, customers can take existing investments in Office and move them to a subscription-based cloud service.
Unfortunately, while both SKUs will be of major benefit to the small-and-medium (SMB) business space, Microsoft has not announced when they will be available, or how much they are going to cost.
In fact, there was very little detail provided about either one of them so it is impossible to say what kind of time-frame SMBs should be planning for.
In the past, it has taken Microsoft several months to work out the details of these new plans so it would be no surprise if it takes a similar length of time with these.