Microsoft's customers have been clamoring for more visibility into the status and availability of the company's cloud-based Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), and now they're getting their wish.
On Monday, Microsoft rolled out its Online Service Health Dashboard, an online tool where customers can obtain up-to-date information on the status of BPOS apps as well as a 35-day status history of service performance and availability.
Morgan Cole, Microsoft's director of Business Online Services Marketing, in a Monday post to Microsoft's Online Services team blog, says there are actually three separate dashboards, one for each of the geographical regions in which Microsoft has a data center running BPOS: North America and Latin America (NOAM); Europe, the Middle-East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific (APAC).
After significant BPOS outages on Aug. 23 and Sept. 7, customers have been pressuring Microsoft to be more forthcoming about the frequency and duration of BPOS downtime. The company has been providing a modicum of insight on BPOS outages through an RSS feed, but dashboards offer a better way of disseminating more detailed information.
For example, the Service Health Dashboard shows both current status and historical status for all BPOS apps, and also allows users to obtain more granular details on performance degradation and service interruption, according to Cole.
"We hope the service health dashboard gives you confidence that we take information regarding status very seriously, and that you can stay ahead of questions from your own internal customers and users," Cole said in the blog post.
However, unlike Salesforce.com and Google, both of which make their cloud apps status dashboards publicly available, Microsoft is only allowing BPOS customers and trial members to access the Online Service Health Dashboard.
This difference wasn't lost on visitors who left comments on the blog. "Why hide the dashboard from prospective BPOS customers? Would be good information to have as they deliberate on whether to commit," wrote one apparently peeved commenter.