Recently, Microsoft has increase its marketing push to generate interest for Office 365 in the SME market. Whilst suitable for some users, Office 365 is not without its own pitfalls and companies thinking of switching to the Microsoft service need to consider many factors before moving over.

Tim Anderson writes about his recent experience helping a customer move email from an in-house Microsoft Exchange server over to Office 365. His experience highlights a potential problems with an Office 365 migration:

First, we soon ran into problems. The migration batch seems remarkably slow, partly thanks to using an ADSL connection (fast download but slow upload) but even slower than that would suggest. Some mailboxes report “Failed” for a variety of reasons, the most common being that they simply stop synching for no apparent reason, or in some cases never start synching.

Technical problems are not unique to a specific platform, however the support available to users who need help is often a crucial factor in deciding which provider to trust with your important business emails. Here again Tim found Office 365 wanting:

I headed for the support community. Unfortunately this is not too good either. There are a number of unfailingly polite Microsoft support people there, but they don’t seem all that well informed when it comes to the details of what can go wrong and there is a lot of reference to support articles that might or might not answer the question; or an initial response that doesn’t quite answer the question and then no satisfactory follow-up; or retreat to private messages which, judging from the public responses, are also not always helpful either.

Any company changing email provider should always ask what help is available during the migration process, and what level of support is available from the new provider if assistance is ever need.