It's Thanksgiving 2010 and it’s the time of year that many IT organizations are finalizing their 2011 budgets and strategy. One of the things on the radar screen for many organizations is Microsoft BPOS (aka as business productivity online suite which will soon fall under the umbrella of Office 365 now in Beta). BPOS is a set of hosted messaging and collaboration solutions for the "cloud" comprised of SharePoint, Exchange, and Communications (and soon Microsoft Office). I don't intend to discuss how to migrate Exchange mailboxes or SharePoint sites to BPOS as other resources on the web already address that more technically. I do, however, want to begin the BPOS conversation because I have yet to see anything written about it on AIIM Communities to date.
One of the first questions I had about BPOS was "is it any different than web hosting?" Generally, when I think of web hosting, it’s a situation where the hosting company supports the hardware and operating system but not the applications. With most hosting agreements, you’re charged a fee for hosting, storage and bandwidth. With BPOS, it’s a service charged per user per month where the applications are supported by the vendor (e.g. Microsoft) and you simply administer the application. At least that’s how I differentiated the two.
Another question I had was which version of BPOS do you need? Well, there are currently 2 versions: BPOS-S and BPOS-D. BPOS-S is the Standard suite where you’re essentially renting 1 or more SharePoint site collections with web based administration (and 250 megabytes of storage allocated per person). BPOS-D is the dedicated version which requires a minimum of 5000 seats and longer term agreement with more granular administration and unlimited site collections. There will also be a government version as well with more attention paid to security, privacy and compliance.
The third question I had was simply “why BPOS”? And the answer is simple economics. BPOS reduces the administrative burden and associated data center, hardware, and software costs as you’re shifting to a pay as you consume service model for your messaging and collaboration infrastructure. Organizations won’t have to worry about backup/restore, disaster recovery, hiring technical resources to support the infrastructure, etc… You’re essentially shifting some risk to a 3rd party vendor. Another key advantage is time to market. In most IT organizations, it can take months to go from approval of funding to implementation of the technology solution. BPOS can help you accelerate the deployment time for solutions.
Of course the broader conversation here beyond Microsoft’s BPOS offering is collaboration and ECM in the cloud. It’s about trusting a 3rd party to manage your messaging and unstructured content and hopefully providing better capabilities for end users at a lower cost. And for anyone interested in understanding more about the value of Microsoft’s online service offerings, I’d recommend checking out the following:
Happy Thanksgiving to All!
#BPOS #office365 #SharePoint