- Better mobile experience
- Improved branding
- New Business Intelligence and Business Connectivity Services capabilities (limited in SharePoint Online)
- PowerShell for SharePoint Online
- Records Management & Compliance
- Revamped Office Web Apps
- Site Mailboxes
- SkyDrive Pro
- Social – including Yammer (the options for Yammer should show up by July for all tenants)
- Totally reworked external file sharing
For a more extensive education about the new features of SharePoint 2013 visit Capabilities and features in SharePoint 2013 on TechNet or specifically for SharePoint Online – What’s new in SharePoint Online–top 10.
* Note: Please keep in mind that you should always test changes in a separate environment where possible before making production system changes like this. During the process you will be presented with an option to set up a demo site with the new features. If you have questions about how upgrading the service will affect your content and existing SharePoint environment I recommend you test on the demo site before following these instructions. *
Here are the steps you follow to upgrade your SharePoint sites:
1. Log in to your Office 365 tenant
2. You should see a bell icon in the top navigation bar:
3. Click the bell icon and a drop-down box with additional information will appear:
You’ve read the reviews, maybe you know someone who has already switched but it’s just more than you’re ready to do on your own – how do you find good help moving to Office 365?
At any size, migrations to Office 365 can be fairly complex and even for larger companies with an IT staff doing the migration work on your own may just be too much to plan, manage and implement. Finding a qualified partner can make a potentially complex migration a breeze. A good partner will have completed many migrations before yours and will incorporate best practices and tools in their work for you.
Partners will also be knowledgeable about the various offers Microsoft has. You may be able to pay for some or all of their consulting work using Microsoft funds. For instance, if you had a Microsoft EA (Enterprise license Agreement) and were looking to migrate to Office 365 you could have taken advantage of a $40 per seat deployment offer up until the end of March 2013. In many cases that would pay for an entire migration project… and the only way to access those funds was through a Microsoft Deployment Partner. Also if you have an EA, you may have deployment planning services (DPS) days available – free (paid for) consulting days that partners can use to help you plan desktop, Exchange, and SharePoint migration work. Many EA customers leave these DPS days unused… a terrible waste in my opinion. (Hint to Partners… be sure to know how to use DPS!)
The top Microsoft credential for Microsoft partners that focus on assisting companies in migrating to Office 365 is “Cloud Deployment Specialist.” The picture above shows the requirements to achieve this level (click on the image for more details). Having a combination of certified consultants and experience migrating large numbers of mailboxes to Office 365 provides good value to most customers.
A step down from that is Cloud Accelerate. Cloud Accelerate Partners have sold three cloud deals for 150 seats or more within 18 months and are registered Microsoft Partners. Most of the more experienced cloud partners will have this credential.
At a minimum, look for Cloud Essentials Partners. These have registered with Microsoft and passed a sales assessment to ensure they understand Microsoft’s offerings. For more about the Microsoft Cloud Partner program see the FAQ.
To find MS partners in your area go to the Office 365 Marketplace.
Good luck in your move to Office 365!