Office 365 MS Partnerships

Hello.  I am moving our 55 hosted Exchange users to 365 soon.  However, I am being  solicited to "join" with a MS Partner to do this migration.  A little research into this "Partner" business reveals what looks like a profit-center scheme designed to enrich big consultancies.  I don't like it at all.
Question: I would like some assistance in this migration as needed.  ARe there localized consultants in the 90249/90045 Southern California area, or small shops, who do this?  What is my best approach?  We are looking to ONLY move email and calendaring (no Sharepoint nor online storage at this time) to 365.
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Juan OcasioApplication DeveloperCommented:
If you're referring to a partner of record, they do get a monetary benefit if you add them.  IT really doesn't hurt and technically you don't need to add the vendor to your account as partner of record.  We have one for our organization, but that's because we're given free tools to use with AD.  It you find someone who is reliable, trustworthy, and attentive, I don't see why you wouldn't consider it.

Good luck with your migrations!!!

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michaelheffernanAuthor Commented:
Well, the "free tools" is intriguing.   How can one get "free AD tools?"  Negotiate?
Juan OcasioApplication DeveloperCommented:
You can check with the vendors to see if any of them have free tools. Manageengine (the vendor we use  - not for migrations, but I think they do have tools) have a bunch of free tools for all sorts of things.
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michaelheffernanAuthor Commented:
Okay.  Thank you. I'll wait for any other responses before awarding points, but my appreciation for your replies.
Juan OcasioApplication DeveloperCommented:
no, prob!  Points are good, helping is better :)  Good luck!
michaelheffernanAuthor Commented:
Damien KayCommented:
As a one man shop, I became a Microsoft Partner many years ago to benefit both me and my customers.   All MS Partners have resources that can be valuable in using any of Microsoft's products and technology.  

When BPOS started, partners were given the opportunity to take the training required to help their own customers purchase the Online Products.  When certified, the partners were also given NFR licenses so that they could use the products in their own business. There are also some small commissions that are earned on the initial purchase and on annual renewals.  Partners then ask their customers to keep them as the "Partner of Record" for the subscription.

Now that it has become Office 365, Partners have had to maintain their training to be able to continue acting as a Partner of Record.  The customer also has the option of Delegating Admin Permissions to the Partner, so that they can access the customer's portal with their own Portal Login.

I'm assuming you may do most of the work on your own, but having a Partner along for the migration is a good idea because of their experience with previous migrations.  I have regularly helped businesses that have their own IT department work through the issues that can come up during a migration.  Proper preparation is essential in a migration...

This type of Partner Consulting can easily be done remotely, but you can always look for a local partner using the PinPoint website:

And I agree with "jocasio123" - find someone you feel comfortable with, and trust.
michaelheffernanAuthor Commented:
The "one man shop" model is pretty much what I am targeting.  Thanks.  I will check out Pinpoint and see what pops.
michaelheffernanAuthor Commented:
Always good to get second, third opinions....
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