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Microsoft Expands FastTrack to Windows 10, Dynamics 365

Microsoft's FastTrack program, which is aimed at increasing business adoption of the company's various cloud products, is now available to facilitate Windows 10 and Dynamics 365 migrations.

Started in 2014, FastTrack initially covered Office 365 migrations, expanding later to other Microsoft cloud products such as Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). On Monday, Microsoft announced previews of the service for Windows 10 and the new Dynamics 365 solution, as well as some improvements to the existing Office 365 service.

"Just as it does for Office 365 and EMS, FastTrack for Windows 10 and Dynamics 365 provides customers with resources and tools to support onboarding and user adoption," the company said in an announcement.

FastTrack for Windows 10
The new FastTrack for Windows 10 service will facilitate customer migrations to the new OS with readiness assessment services, best practices and, notably, partner-led onboarding services.

Typically, the process of onboarding customers through the FastTrack program is performed by Microsoft's in-house engineering unit, called the FastTrack Center. However, FastTrack for Windows 10 will be "unique" in that it will defer to Microsoft's partners to provide deployment services to customers, according to Niamh Coleman, director of partner business strategy at Microsoft.

"Unique to this service is that deployment planning and service delivery is provided through partners. We are also making it easier for customers to find great partners to assist in their deployment directly through the FastTrack portal," Coleman wrote in a Microsoft Partner Network blog post.

Coleman also pointed to Office 365 ProPlus as an additional partner opportunity when guiding customers through the Windows 10 migration process.

"[T]here's a huge opportunity to align the rollout of Windows 10 with Office 365 ProPlus for a secure and productive computing experience on modern PCs. Start by helping customers opt in to include Office 365 ProPlus in Windows 10 success plans through FastTrack," she wrote.

FastTrack for Windows 10 is Microsoft's latest programmatic effort to accelerate Windows 10 adoption through its partners. Earlier this month, the company enabled its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners to upgrade organizations' older PCs to Windows 10 at no cost, provided those organizations subscribe to the Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5 programs.

FastTrack for Dynamics 365
Similar to the Windows 10 program, FastTrack for Dynamics 365 is designed to migrate customers to the Dynamics 365 suite, which launched last November.

Dynamics 365 is a componentized version of Microsoft's existing Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP solutions, offering customers with customizable app bundles that target different CRM and ERP functions.

FastTrack for Dynamics 365 will give customers access to migration planning resources, best practices and Microsoft engineering resources, according to a blog post by Kees Hertogh, senior director of technical product marketing at Microsoft.

"FastTrack represents an exciting opportunity for our partners as well," he added. "By leveraging best practices and guidance offered directly by the Microsoft FastTrack engineering team, you can enhance your engagement with customers through FastTrack, and accelerate deployments by helping customers make a smooth transition to Dynamics 365. Moreover, you'll be able to expand your capabilities through real-time readiness and enablement from Microsoft, and increase customer satisfaction by driving predictable and repeatable deployments to the cloud. Participation in the FastTrack program will strengthen the partner-customer relationship by focusing on offering high value-added services."

FastTrack for Office 365 Improvements
Microsoft also announced changes to its current FastTrack for Office 365 offering, most notably the addition of support for Microsoft Teams.

In preview since last fall, Teams is Microsoft's enterprise-focused chat platform that the company positions as an alternative to the popular Slack application.

"Today, we're pleased to introduce new FastTrack resources for Microsoft Teams, including a new scenario, awareness kit and Productivity Library cards -- plus remote onboarding and user adoption guidance from our FastTrack team," wrote Cyril Belikoff, senior director of Office marketing at Microsoft, in a blog post. "We are making this available in advance of Microsoft Teams general availability to allow you to begin planning and piloting Teams ahead of your organizational rollout."

Other additions include:

  • Access to best practices for Office 365 ProPlus deployments.
  • Access to best practices for Office 365 adoption.
  • Improvements to ISO and HIPAA compliance.
  • Support for six more languages in the FastTrack Web site, bringing the total to 27.

To date, Belikoff said the FastTrack program has migrated 22,000 customers to Microsoft's cloud, amounting to 3.7 petabytes of data (that's up from the 2.45 petabytes he cited in November). The program clocks 4,000 new customers each month, he said.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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