Office 365 Sharepoint Online Partner Access Licenses Limit has been Increased

We are glad to share the news that Microsoft has increased the limits for Office 365 Sharepoint online Partner Access Licenses (PAL).  Partner Access License allows Office 365 customers to invite external partners to their Sharepoint site collections.

The new increased limits are

Office 365 Plan

No of PAL licenses

Small business plan P


Enterprise Plan E



IOTAP has helped several customers realize the capabilities of Sharepoint online. If you want help with setting up and configuring external partner access for your Sharepoint online site contact us at [email protected]

Change Partner of Record (POR) for Office 365 Subscription

IOTAP a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate partner provides you with the sales, support, and technical expertise to help you set up and implement Office 365 subscription. IOTAP has a range Office 365 implementation services that will enable you to maximize the benefits available in Microsoft Office 365.

Change IOTAP as a partner to an existing Office 365 subscription

1. Logon on the Microsoft Online Subscription portal as an administrative user

2. On the Admin page, in the left pane, select licensing link

3. Under the subscription tab- Click the name of the subscription for which you want to set  IOTAP as the partner e.g. “Office 365 Midsize Business ”

4. You will now see the subscription details. Towards the bottom of the page On the right corner, you see partner information.

5. Click Add Partner and Enter IOTAP’s Microsoft Partner ID 1470733 and click OK. You can choose to check ID.

6. Once you confirm – IOTAP will now be added as a partner for your Office 365 subscription.

Office 365 Partner Edit

Once you have set IOTAP as a partner of record for your Office 365 subscription we will work with you to make the best use Office 365 for your business needs.

Adding Partner of Record (POR) to Office 365 Subscriptions

IOTAP a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate partner provides you with the sales, support, and technical expertise to help you set up and implement Office 365 subscription. IOTAP has a range Office 365 implementation services that will enable you to maximize the benefits available in Microsoft Office 365. You can add IOTAP as your Office 365 services partner at the time of purchasing Office 365 subscription or at a later date.

Adding IOTAP as the Partner of Record at the time of Office 365 subscription purchase

1. Logon on the Microsoft Online Subscription portal as an administrative user

2. On the Admin page, in the left pane, under Subscriptions, click Purchase.

Office 365 Subscriptions

3. On the Purchase subscriptions page, click Add next to each service that you would like to purchase.

4. In the Order details popup enter the number of licenses you want to purchase and Click Add to cart.

Office 365 Plan E2 1 year term

5. When your cart includes all of the subscriptions that you want to purchase, click Check out.

Office 365 Shopping

7. In the first step of the Check out the wizard, in the right pane, under Partner information, click Add.

Office 365 Review Order

8. Enter IOTAP’s Microsoft Partner ID 1470733 and click OK.

Office 365 Partner information

9. IOTAP will now be added as a partner for your Office 365 subscription

Office 365 Partner Edit

10. Complete the rest of the wizard to finish buying your subscriptions.

Add IOTAP as a partner to an existing Office 365 subscription

1. Logon on the Microsoft Online Subscription portal as an administrative user

2. On the Admin page, in the left pane, under Subscriptions, click Manage.

Office 365 Subscriptions Manage

3. Click the name of the subscription for which you want to add IOTAP as the partner

Office 365 Plan

4. On the Subscription details page, in the right pane under Partner information, click Add.

Office 365 Partner Add

5. Enter IOTAP’s Microsoft Partner ID 1470733 and click OK.

6. IOTAP will now be added as a partner for your Office 365 subscription

Office 365 Partner Edit

Is Migration from Office Live to Office 365 the Right Choice?

Office live has served the small business community extremely well with its simple and easy to use website and communication tools designed for convenience at an extremely attractive price of zero dollars. With just days left for Office Live Small Business (OLSB) services to be shut down, many customers are wondering if migration to Microsoft Office 365 is the right choice. The transition involves a whole set of challenges that small businesses are not ready for and more importantly do not have the time or bandwidth to undertake.   Though Microsoft has provided steps and transition guide small business users are having a hard time understanding and executing them

For those who are at crossroads and deciding whether they should migrate to Microsoft Office 365 or look out for another service, Microsoft created an article in the community site that will help you to take a decision.

Below are some pointers that business should be aware of before taking a decision on migrating to Office 365

  • Office 365 is not free forever. After the trial period of 6 months, the charges are $6 per user per month plus the additional domain cost per year.
  • Your domain will not be hosted with Office 365 it has to be hosted with the default OLSB hosting provider Melbourne IT or another domain hosting provider such as GoDaddy
  • Office 365 website designer does not include all the features of Office Live website designer. Form designer, blog module, analytics are some of the features that are missing.
  • There is alternate website hosting providers that are worth taking a look at.

As Small Business solution specialist and Microsoft Cloud Accelerate partner our suggestion to these customers is that if you are looking at more than just website and want to improve your productivity and collaboration tools then Office 365 is the right choice for you.  Below are some of the highlights of Office 365 when compared with OLSB

  • Email services in Office 365 are provided by Exchange Server 2010 an enterprise leading email service
  • You Get 25 GB of space per mailbox with enterprise anti-spam and antivirus protection
  • No Advertisements which means you stay focused
  • Outlook Web App a rich web-based version of Microsoft Outlook
  • Office Web Apps to access MS Office documents from a browser
  • Multiple email aliases per user
  • You can design your website using Sharepoint Designer 2010 a free tool from Microsoft
  • Complete synchronization of your emails, outlook folders, contacts and calendars on your mobile devices like iPhone, Android, Windows Phones

Apart from the above features Office 365 also provides you with

Sharepoint Online: For sharing and managing all your documents and information

Lync Online: For Instant Messaging, Audio and video conferencing and screen sharing. You don’t have to have goto meeting or webex accounts.

OLSB customers have 6 months of the free trial period during which they can evaluate Office 365 and then decide if it is a correct fit for their business.

IOTAP a Microsoft preferred transition partner from Office Live Small Business to Office 365 has been helping a lot of small business understand the value provided by Office 365 and perform a seamless migration from OLSB to office 365. Visit our Office Live to Office 365 migration page to know more about our services.

Microsoft announces Office 365 Prices for Education

Microsoft recently announced the pricing for Office 365 for Education plans also known as A plans. Microsoft Office 365education plans are aimed at providing enterprise-class email and collaboration solutions for students and faculties at a free/cheaper price.

Office 365 for education is expected to become available in Summer 2012.

Below is the Office 365 Education plan pricing details

Office 365 for Education

For more information on  Office 365 for Education, or other  Office 365 plans please visit our Office 365 page or email us  [email protected].

Second Set of Service Updates for Sharepoint Online – Office 365

The second set of service updates for SharePoint online – Office 365 has started to roll out yesterday. This service updates includes several new features and fixes. The most useful feature is the ability for external invitees to use their business email address to access SharePoint online.

Below are the high level features that are available as part of the service update

Increased Scalability – SharePoint Online till now can accommodate 20,000 active directory user objects.  With this service update SharePoint Online can scale up to 500,000 active directory user objects.

Enhancements to Recycle Bin – SharePoint online now has several levels of recoverability from accidental deletion right from particular list item to site collection.

Directly Open PDF Files – The service update enables users to directly open PDF files from a SharePoint online document library without having to download them.

External users can sign in with their business email – External users who are invited to SharePoint Online site collection can now use their business email address to authenticate themselves. All they have to do is associate their business email address with Windows Live ID.

The new features that are made available in SharePoint Online make it a more viable option for building out any company’s intranet and extranet portal. Contact Us to know more about SharePoint Online and how it can improve collaboration.

Office 365 Lync Online Mobile Client Now Available

The mobile app for Lync client was made available to the Windows Phone 7 and Android platform recently. The Lync mobile app that can be downloaded from the apps tore will work with Lync Online which is part of Office 365 and also with on-premise Lync server setup.

The Lync mobile app has below features

• Instant Messaging
• Contacts
• Join a conference call through the conference provider
• Presence information

Lync online mobile client

Lync Mobile app for Iphone, Ipad, and Nokia are already underway and would be available in the respective marketplace very soon.

For Lync servers on-premise an update that enables mobile clients to have to be applied to the servers for the Lync mobile app to connect to the Lync on-premise server. For Office 365 Lync Online these updates are already installed by Microsoft and mobile app can be used immediately. This stresses that how Office 365 alleviates an update and maintenance headache from IT.

For connecting the Lync Mobile app with Lync Online in Office 365 there are changes to be made to the DNS settings.  The mobile app settings are different if you are using vanity domain or if you are using the domain.  IOTAP will take care of all these settings and configurations for our office 365 customers.

Contact Us to discuss your Cloud and Unified communications strategy or click here for details on our Office 365 services

New Feature Updates to Sharepoint Online – Office 365

As part of the November 2011 service updates to Office 365, a new set of features were added to Sharepoint online. The most important features that are available are connectivity to Line of Business data through BCS and external sharing.

Business Connectivity Services

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) feature in Sharepoint online allows connection to external data sources via web service endpoints. This feature will enable organizations to surface their Line of Business data from applications such as CRM or ERP within Sharepoint online. As with on-premise Sharepoint 2010 BCS in Sharepoint online can work in both reads and write modes.

External Sharing

Sharepoint online now includes the functionality for collaborating with people who are not part of the company. With this external sharing capability, external users can be invited to Sharepoint online for viewing and sharing information. This feature will be greatly useful when companies want to share a certain set of documents with their vendors, partners or contractors.

Apart from BCS and External Sharing, there are other improvements and fixes done to Sharepoint online. The notable feature is an extension of support to IE 9 and Google Chrome browsers.

These new feature sets added to Sharepoint online makes it keep up to the motto of connecting and collaborate from anywhere and with anyone.

High Fidelity Preview of Email Attachments Now Available in Office 365

The latest to update to Office 365 Exchange Online Services integrates Office web app with Outlook web app. This integration enables users to have a high fidelity preview of email attachments right from outlook web app. The documents that can be previewed from Office 365 Outlook Web App includes word, excel and power point.

This is a welcome addition to Office 365 as users can view attached office documents directly on the browser without having to download the files their desktop.

All the user has to do is click Open in Browser link that is shown next to the attachment in the Outlook web app.


The document will be opened in another window


Though this feature is available with Sharepoint 2010 on-premise, this feature is still not available to Exchange Online. Seamless roll out of features like this only emphasizes the fact that Office 365 is the way to go as organizations get access to the latest version of software without extra license or downtime.

Microsoft BPOS in the Cloud: Top Challenges and The Silver Lining

Microsoft BPOS is a great solution for businesses to move their communication and collaboration infrastructure to the cloud. Besides saving money, there are other considerations which require planning and a thorough understanding of the solution and your requirements.

Planning for the move

When planning to migrate something as essential as email -it goes without saying that downtime is not an option. Knowledge workers survive without phones but email downtime is a complete productivity killer! A BPOS implementation and roll out should be treated like any other mission-critical project within your organization and a strong project manager and support team are critical to the success regardless of the size of your organization.

BPOS Limitations

BPOS includes almost a perfect offering of a hosted solution for your collaboration and communication needs to boost efficiency and gain control of your IT expenses. However, the individual products that comprise BPOS do not have a 1 for 1 feature parity with their on-premise counterparts. Some of the limitations are

Sharepoint Online: Custom code deployment not allowed, Fab 40 templates not available.

Exchange Online: No IMAP support, Attachment size limitations, No public folders

Office Communicator: Multi-user audio\video calls are not supported. And even for one-to-one calls, the computers should be on the same corporate network.

Some of these limitations could affect you how you use these solutions! If you are counting on any of these plans accordingly, for example, use SharePoint libraries can be used instead of Exchange folders.

Mail box migrations

Migrating mailboxes to BPOS Exchange can get complex because of the various factors that go into it. Some of the factors that need to be considered are

  • Existing Email Environment – Hosted or on-premise
  • Email Type – Exchange or POP3, or IMAP
  • Email Source – Lotus, Exchange, other
  • Size of the mailboxes and Number of mailboxes
  • Email client software used – Outlook 2003, 2007, Thunderbird
  • What email enabled applications are used – Sharepoint for instance

Depending on the mailbox content size the migration time should be planned as migration would gobble up a lot of network bandwidth.

Microsoft provides a migration tool for migration tool for migrating mailboxes but there are some prerequisites that should be taken care of like credentials for each of the individual email boxes. There are also migration tools from other vendors like Quest which come in handy when migrating from other platforms such as Lotus Notes. 

Client software Installation

BPOS comes with a Single Sign tool that makes it easy to access all the solutions without singing into them individually. However, this is an additional piece of software that needs to be installed on all user machines in order to access the different services. In addition, some client software also needs to be installed and configured for Outlook, Office Communicator, Live Meeting. The system requirements for this software could pose a challenge if your systems are dated.

Mobile Device Setup

Setting up mail access for your organizations mobile is another important consideration as not all devices support active sync technology used by BPOS exchange. Devices such as Windows Phone, iPhone, Nokia N series support Active Sync and can be configured to synchronize with BPOS Exchange email and calendar. For accessing BPOS exchange mail in other email enabled devices POP3 has to be enabled for the mailboxes. Also, different mobile devices will require a different type of configuration, for instance, Blackberry devices can set up to use Hosted Blackberry Exchange or Blackberry Internet Service. Though Sharepoint online works fine with the majority of the mobile browsers, the fidelity is not the same across browsers.

Email Coexistence

Migrating from on-premise Exchange to the cloud is relatively pain-free, however, some issues that should be considered during coexistence are

  • Latest service packs should be installed on your on-premise Exchange Server
  • Free/ busy information is not synchronized
  • There may slightly delay in mail delivery as email forwarding is involved.
  • Securing the email traffic between on-premise and BPOS ExchangeEmail coexistence with 3rd party email providers is also possible. But requires more elaborate steps and configuration.

Active Directory Synchronizing

Synchronizing your local active directory with BPOS using DirSync tool will save a lot of time by automatically creating all users in your local directory on BPOS, but understanding these limitations before setting up the synchronization is important.

  • DirSync tool cannot be installed on Domain controller
  • Dirsync tool cannot be installed on 64 bit systems
  • Active Directory Synchronization is only one-way synchronization, therefore, all modifications changes have to be done in Active Directory
  • Active Directory Synchronization doesn’t synchronize passwords
  • A number of objects that have to be synchronized will affect your network bandwidth.

User Training & Support

User Training is a significant opportunity rather than a challenge with BPOS as it changes the way users work with their everyday tools such as email and messenger. If you are already a Microsoft Exchange, Sharepoint, and Office communicator user then the transition is easier, however, for first-timers, it’s like night and day.


BPOS solution provides great infrastructure savings for companies but implementing BPOS has various challenges. An experienced Service provider can help you see the silver lining quickly with these cloud-based productivity solutions for your organization.