Posts tagged Office 365

We have some news on the SharePoint project. Michael and I had our monthly review meeting a couple of days ago, where it was revealed to us that instead of moving forward wind Office 365 we will most likely be implementing SharePoint 2010 with Exchange Server 2010. This direction is being taken due to the uncertainty behind Micosoft Office 365 such as the unreliable up time (Microsoft are under investigation by the Advertising standard agency claiming they can’t meet their advertised 99% up time) and the uncertain costs behind the educational version of SharePoint, we also already have the SharePoint lisencing fees.

For the last couple of days we have been helping in filling out a Business Case document, the document had to review all options that the University could take, including the unfavourable options. This included staying with SharePoint 2003, migrating to SharePoint 2010 or migrating to Office 365. We wrote the down side to staying with SharePoint 2003 and the benefits to migrating to SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online. We will hopfully hear something back soon.

In the mean time we will both be looking into migration even further so we can start to create a plan as early as possible.

RE

Over the last few days I have been looking at Workflows in the Enterprise Edition environment, after they were very limited in the Small Business Edition. I started by creating a reusable workflow, that can be applied to almost any list or document library. This workflow would allow users to request annual leave, the workflow would then get their line manager to approve or deny the request. This worked very well, and did what I expected it to. After accomplishing this Rob and I decided to add more functionality, which would add the leave (if approved) to the corporate calendar. At this point I discovered that the workflow would need to be associated with a specific list to enable it to obtain all the fields within the Annual Leave list. This time I recreated the workflow as a list workflow and selected the list to associate it with. I could now access the required fields to add the approved request to the corporate calendar. However upon testing the workflow, it stopped at a certain point and returned an error. Below is the workflow that has been created, and the sections in red appear to be causing the problem, this process does start though as an email is sent to the initiator to say this.

I have been trying to find a solution to the problem, but so far have been unsuccessful. I have discovered though, that the workflow may need to be split in to two. When the workflow is initiated, it runs under the permissions of that user, which will not likely have permission to approve items. I will be looking at this soon too.

Update:
After submitting a service request to Microsoft, I have this morning (17/10/2011) been contacted by a representative, who has taken me through some troubleshooting. Throughout this he took screenshots to enable the process to be recreated, to try and identify the problem. A solution is expected on Wednesday.

Update 2:
The representative from Microsoft has since been in touch to inform us that he is still working on the problem.  A solution is expected any day now.

We now have access to an extended trial of Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Edition. This will now enable us to actively use and test features of the service that the University may upgrade to in the near future. We will now begin to look at complex workflows, integrating InfoPath Forms, and RSS Feeds amongst others. In a just couple of days we have managed to give the site some basic branding, after coming across many difficulties trying the same thing in the Small Business Edition. As always we will keep posting with our progress.

We are still aware that a migration to Microsoft Office 365 is not definite, we have been hired to research the best migration options for the university. However, it appears that we have not touched on SharePoint 2010 at all in the last few months so we thought we might write a little about it today.

Today we have started to compare Microsoft SharePoint On Premises with SharePoint Online to see which has the most features. I will post the features that one system has but the other might lack, in a table here.

Feature SharePoint 2010 Enterprise SharePoint Online
SharePoint Time Jobs YES NO
Business Data Connectivity Service YES NO
External Data Column YES NO
Business Data Web Parts YES NO
External Lists YES NO
Business Data Integration with Office Client YES NO
Business Connectivity Services Profile Page YES NO
Records Center YES NO
Word Automation Services YES NO
Business Intelligence Center YES NO
Chart Web Parts YES NO
Data Connection Library YES NO
Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Services YES NO
Calculated KPIs YES NO
Dashboards YES NO
Decomposition Tree YES NO
Excel Services and PowerPivot for SharePoint YES NO
Many Search features (about 16) YES (FAST) NO
Single Site Collection Search NO YES
Secure Store Service YES NO
Web Analytics YES NO
Lightweight Public Facing Site NO YES
External Sharing NO YES
Office Web Apps NO YES

So there appear to be a fair amount of features SharePoint 2010 is capable of that SharePoint Online isn’t. However, do keep in mind that the list was extremely long and there are many features the the both of them share, this is just a minority really. Many of the features may not even be needed in the University environment, we will be looking into some of these features so we can better measure the difference between the two SharePoint options.

RE

We have not previously mentioned volume discounts, but they are available as part of the Office 365 service. The greater number of users you have means a greater percentage discount.

Pricing Tier Number of User Licences Approx. Discount
Level 1 0 – 249 0%
Level 2 250 – 2,399 3%
Level 3 2,400 – 5,999 6%
Level 4 6,000 – 14,999 9%
Level 5 15,000+ 12%