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Jared Shockley, Information Technology Professional This is my spot on the Internet for me to share my thoughts on technology, software, hardware, gadgets and IT in general. Please feel free to comment.


Office 365 Notifies Customers About November Outages

Microsoft Office 365 teams notified users of their system about the recent outages they suffered. In the notification, they explain the reasons for the outages seen and let users know that they do matter via a credit automatically applied to the monthly billing for Office 365. All in all, the transparency and credit goes a long way in keeping customer satisfaction on the product at high levels.

No one likes to suffer through a downtime at all. I hear that daily in my day job as most IT professionals do. When you do have a downtime, the transparency and the response is what counts the most in the end. Users that want to leave will use any excuse to leave you. Users that are your biggest “fanboys” will stay through thick and thin. The transparency and response is what keeps the majority of users, the “We just want it to work” group.

In a mail sent to Office 365 administrators at 4:00 pm PDT today, Microsoft says:

Dear Admin:
The Office 365 team strives to provide exceptional service to all of our customers. On Thursday, November 8 and Tuesday, November 13 we experienced two separate service issues that impacted customers served from our data centers in the Americas. We apologize for the inconvenience these issues caused you and your employees.
We are committed to communicating with our customers in an open and honest manner about service issues and the steps we’re taking to prevent recurrences.
Here are more details about the recent issues:

  • 

The first service incident occurred on November 8 and resulted in prolonged mail flow delays for many of our customers in North and South America. Office 365 utilizes multiple anti-virus engines to identify and clean virus messages from our customers' inboxes. Going forward, we have built and implemented better recovery tools that allow us to remediate these situations much faster, and we are also adding some additional architectural safeguards that automatically remediate issues of this general nature.

  • 

On November 13, some customers in North and South America were unable to access email services. This service incident resulted from a combination of issues related to maintenance, network element failures, and increased load on the service. These three issues in combination caused customer access to email services to be degraded for an extended period of time. Significant capacity increases are already underway and we are also adding automated handling on these type of failures to speed recovery time.

Across the organization, we are executing a full review of our processes to proactively identify further actions needed to avoid these situations.
We understand that any disruption in service may result in a disruption to your business. As a gesture of our commitment to ensuring the highest quality service experience Microsoft is changing the standard credit procedure for this incident and is proactively providing your organization a credit equal to 25 percent of your monthly invoice. [Emphasis added by me] The credit will appear on a future invoice, and there’s no need to contact Microsoft to receive this credit. Please note, processing of the credit may take as long as 90 days.
If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Questions and answers about this and other Office 365 issues can be found at our Office 365 community site.
Thank you for choosing Office 365 to host your business productivity applications. We appreciate the serious responsibility we have as a service provider to you, and we know that any issue with the service is a disruption to your business and that’s not acceptable. We apologize for the inconvenience these issues caused you and your employees.
Thank you,
The Office 365 Tea

Given what we know about these outages, it seems to me that the Office 365 team are doing the right thing, both in telling the users what happened, how they are responding to the incidents and the “gesture” of the credit. For some, a credit of 25% their monthly bill is a pretty good gesture.

What have you seen from Office 365 or other hosting providers for information around outages?




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