CRM Online and Sharepoint Online

Last year (2011) Microsoft released a cloud version of their CRM Software, CRM Online. This was fantastic news to those of us out there who had faced the cost barrier of deploying CRM software. Really at the time the only competitor of any standing was Salesforce.com and even though Salesforce bought CRM to the cloud, it too was expensive.

The great thing about Microsoft CRM is that you get the sweet sweet integration through outlook and the other products in the Office stack. The great benefit now with Microsoft CRM Online is that Office 365 – Sharepoint Online now supports full integration as well allowing document management of your CRM created customers/contacts to be held within your Sharepoint online site.

And thats where I found a “but”. If you have managed to be an early adopter of Office 365 and at some stage in the past selected the Small Business “P” plan of the offering then your CRM => Sharepoint Online integration will come to a grinding halt. There is no support for the CRM list solution within the P Plan of Office 365. The other piece missing from the Sharepoint Online experience in Office 365 P Plans is the lack of a secure connection (SSL).  The simple steps for installing CRM components in Sharepoint online can be found here if you did the smart thing an purchased the Enterprise offering or “E” plan. This has also been talked about before in more detail by a fellow WordPress blogger here.

The only way out of this somewhat disappointing situation was to migrate this customer from their P Plan to one of the available E plans. This meant I needed to setup an entirely new tenant or customer within Office 365 as there is no ability to move from the small business offering to the enterprise offering of Office 365. Moreover Microsoft doesn’t provide any “wizards” to assist you with this. My recommendation for any customer thinking about moving to Office 365 would be to choose from the enterprise range of products.

A few things to plan ahead of the move.

1) First of all setup a new Office 365 tenant. http://www.office365.com

2) Ensure you have easy access to the DNS settings for the domain you plan on moving

3) Plan for the migration. This means informing users of the changes and the cut-over date.

I plan to move this customer over a weekend. I am able to setup everything within the new tenant of Office 365 ahead of time but due to the reliance on the DNS records I will only cut over after business hours on a Friday night. Microsoft suggests that 24 hours may be required to “release” the domain record from the old “P” Plan tenant. You will NOT be able to add users to the new tenant until this has been released.

I thought I would share some of the “tricks” that helped me with this move.

1) Powershell is fantastic! – I managed connect to the old P plan tenant of Office 365 and export the users details to a csv file using a simple command. This saved me time and allowed me to import the users into the new tenant in a matter of seconds, be aware that the domain must be transferred BEFORE you import users. Also pay attention to the difference in cmdlets out there for BPOS and Office365, you can download the Office 365 cmdlets here or through the admin console.

2) Connect to Sharepoint Online using explorer in order to migrate documents to the new libraries. This method will avoid using bandwidth as the documents will be copied in the cloud rather than coming down to your PC. It also allows you to drag and drop documents, a task that you may want to assign to someone more familiar to the document structure used by the business.

3) Think about migrating user emails. I used the migration tool within Office 365 using the Exchange 2010 setting, this worked sweet as I had the auto discover settings still pointing to the old tenant.

I will update this blog post after the migration has completed and let you know of any “hiccups” on the way.

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  1. #1 by Calvin Peng on April 20, 2012 - 9:51 am

    Thank you for blogging on this topic. We are planning to move from office365 P1 to E3 and found your Blog. Thank you for blogging on this topic. Did you use the migration tool within Office 365 or the MigrationWiz Product? Since you talk about using the MigrationWiz on the next blog. Why did you decide to switch the MigrationWiz, is there an issue with the Migration Tool within Office365?

    • #2 by Nick Bowyer on April 20, 2012 - 10:24 am

      The tools provided with Office 365 to import via OWA or IMAP didn’t appear to work with another Office365 tenant. To be honest the Migration Wiz interface, logging, and overall experience was a lot better and allowed me to do a staged migration. Thanks for the comment!

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