I have been working with Microsoft Office 365 Small Business version for 2 months now and I believe we have pretty much reached its limits.
As we are currently leaving migration until we are both back from our holiday we have been looking into more features of Microsoft office 365 that we might have previously missed, features such as RSS feeds, target audiences, info path lists, complex workflows and more. None of these appear to work in the small business edition, there appear to be a huge amount of restrictions that only allow us to do the simplest of task (no IT pro required). For us to continue with Microsoft Office 365 I believe we need to upgrade to the Enterprise edition, this will allow us to test features that may actually be useful to the University, it will also allow us to use features that even SharePoint 2003 currently use, such as target audience. To me, I believe that even Office 365 Small Business should be an improvement on SharePoint 2003 and not hold features back that would put 2003 ahead of small business.
So after we have looking into migration more closely and tested some of this, I believe we have no choice but to move up to Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise edition, so we can test these useful features.
In a recent meeting that Michael and I set up, we were asked about Info Path and Office 365, unfortunately would could not answer the question as we had not looked into Info path at that time. I have quickly checked it out this morning and it appears to be quite a useful tool in SharePoint development. Info path can easily create forms for SharePoint 2010+, granted this can already be done within SharePoint online, however, it is possible to customize it with different fonts and images to make it look more professional. There is an example of this on the right. Info Path needs to be connected to be connected to the SharePoint site before anything can be made for SharePoint. It is also only compatible with the Enterprise edition of Office 365, therefore making it difficult to test this program.
As you may have seen in some of our posts, we have been receiving and pretty consistent and pretty annoying error for the last month and a half . Microsoft have been on the case for the last 3 weeks and I finally got an email last night, the email gave me very simple instructions to a very simple problem, it took an entire 10 seconds to fix the site. The problem with the site was that the default master page was not set to v4 (something I may have accidentally done when fiddling with it) and all I had to do was right click and “set default”, I’m a little annoyed it has taken a month and a half for Microsoft to give me this solution, however, I am relieved that the site is now fully functional again.
After reading some blog posts we were concerned about some of the questions these bloggers had asked and never got an answer to. One of this questions was “what happens if you want to leave Office 365 for something else?”, this could be problematic as we wouldn’t want to loose all our data if we wanted to migrate back to SharePoint 2010 (When we do upgraded I don’t think we would go back to SharePoint 2003 ever again). After asking the question in the community forum I quickly got an answer. It is possible to migrate back to SharePoint 2010 but only through a migration tool such as MetaVis, Quest or AvePoint.
I’m still not sure why Microsoft are getting people to rely on 3rd party migration tools so much, even they rely on them for migrating their own systems. You would have thought they create their own migration tools, at the very least they could have made some more money from it.