Microsoft has been prepping for the CRM Online transition to the MS Online Services Environment, which is the administration and billing environment that Office 365 and other online services utilize. New CRM orgs created on or after July 19th, 2012 have already been utilizing the Online Services platform. Orgs created prior to that were done so on a different billing and administration platform which MS expects to cease use of by Q1 of 2014. Because of this, MS is now in the process of transitioning those orgs to the online services environment within the next few months. The transition process will not move your data and your organizations URL will remain the same - the process is only moving your organizations configuration to the online services environment which means users authentication will change.
Some of the benefits to the transition include:
- Enhanced privacy and data security
- The ability to set up single sign-on utilizing ADFS
- The ability to administer users from a single location
- Receive a single bill for all online services
- Access to a service health dashboard which will inform you of service interruptions that are currently being worked on
Your billing administrator should have already received a transition email announcement. Following that, they may have received a call or an additional email notification from your assigned Transitioned Manager at Microsoft who will ask you some questions about your subscription and organization. If they have not received any yet, they should be expected to soon. After that, they will receive email notifications with a "view offer" link to sign up for a trial subscription to perform pre-transition activities and a scheduled transition date.
Below are some of the important pre-transition and post-transition steps that you will need to perform in order to ensure a smooth transition. Depending on the size and amount of custom coding in your organization, the pre-transition activities could take 4-5 weeks. Also mentioned below are some of the changes you should expect in billing & pricing. For questions or assistance on the pre-transition and post transition activities, please reach out to us as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-910-7771.
There are pre-transition activities that should be performed to ensure your organization has a smooth transition. Some of these will include:
- Add users to the online services environment utilizing the trial subscription that MS provides you. You will then need to provide MS a mapping file that indicates which CRM Online users map to which users in the online services environment.
- Ensure all users with the CRM Outlook add-on are on the latest version and rollup update.
- Ensure all custom code and 3rd party add-ons are updated for the new authentication.
- The current Internet Lead Capture will no longer be available post transition, so you will need an alternative in place if your org currently uses this service.
- If you use the Email Router, it will need to be updated to use the new credentials
- Inform your billing administrator and system administrators of the new billing and administrative procedures
Your transition may occur during a work day, since the process does not affect users. You should refrain from adding new users during this time to ensure all users will get transitioned to the new environment.
Some activities you may need to perform will include:
- Provide users with their new credentials and ensure they can authenticate to your org.
- Reconfigure CRM Outlook clients to use the new credentials.
MS is offering a 30 day grace period post transition to allow users to ease in to using their new credentials. After 30 days, users will no longer be able to authenticate using their old credentials, so it is important to get them up to speed as quickly as possible.
- Test and validate that custom code and 3rd party add-ons are working
- Test and validate the Email Router
Some important billing changes that will occur post transition:
- Billing will be performed in advance in the new environment. Because of this, you may receive 2 bills post transition (the last invoice from the legacy system and the first invoice in the new online services environment)
- Your subscription will automatically fall under the December 1, 2012 adjustments MS made in most markets which includes lower pricing.
- Due to some technical difficulties in the legacy system, some organizations may have inadvertently not been charged for ancillary services such as additional storage. Once your organization is transitioned to the online services platform, you may see an increase in price due to these charges.
Beringer Associates is a leading IT solutions provider specializing in CRM Solutions, Managed Network Services, Unified Communications, and Internet Cloud Computing. You can contact us at email@example.com, 856-910-7771.