Editor’s Note: For background on this article, check out the first article in this series, Microsoft’s BPOS: Cloud Computing’s Silver Lining?
Here’s the truth: a ton of documentation has been written around Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), Microsoft’s cloud-based messaging and communication platform. Most of this documentation is very succinct and worth reading as you dig into adopting BPOS services. But when it comes to managing BPOS, the admin has a remarkably easy job. Yes, there are elements of the platform that can require some serious technical skills, particularly in the LAN configuration and large-scale migration stages, but in terms of application and user management, BPOS is an admin’s dream. All of the heavy lifting is performed back in Microsoft’s data centers. By and large, the admin has only two tasks: adding users and assigning services to those users.
If this sounds too easy to be true, believe it. This author, a non-IT professional, tried out two admin BPOS accounts over the past month and can attest that, at least at a small business level, BPOS is simple enough for practically anyone to manage. For larger organizations, the simplicity of Microsoft’s platform translates into far less hours spent on traditional management tasks. That means higher ROI up front on IT hours and even more rewards down the road as less “stuff” goes wrong and workers have more uptime.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at BPOS from an administrator’s perspective. What’s entailed in starting the BPOS experience? What does it take to manage services for users? We’ll make this a quick tour but ensure you leave with a fairly comprehensive idea of what’s in store for BPOS managers as they transition from on-premise servers to Microsoft’s services-based model.