July 14 2011

Office 365 – It’s Officially Here

Posted on the 09:38 am under Cloud Computing,Microsoft by Darren Boyer

On June 28, 2011 Microsoft officially launched a new way of using programs like Word, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote. The subscription service will offer these applications online for as low as $6 per user per month. Included with the familiar Office applications will be a hosted SharePoint site to store information, an Instant Messaging Service, and an Online Meeting Service. All of this is backed by Microsoft’s 99.9% uptime guarantee.

Instead of using your computer’s software to work on a Word document Office 365 will allow someone to do most of the same things over an internet connection. The actual Word document is saved on Microsoft’s servers and the Word application is also ran on Microsoft’s servers.

As a Microsoft Online Services partner and Microsoft Small Business Specialist pcit has participated in trials versions of these services over the last several months After the initial learning curve Office 365 has several benefits to traditional methods. One of the most significant differences is the availability of documents and email from almost any device or location as long as there is an internet connection. The available products are very functional and have generally received favourable reviews, especially compared to competitors as Google apps or Zoho home office.

With Office 365 Microsoft is making a multi-billion dollar bet that many organizations would rather store information on their servers and work on their servers than have that data stored at the organizations office or approved data centre. Eventually they hope enough users at $6 per month will pay for all of the resources invested in making their online products one of the most competitive in the market place.
Having worked with Office 365 and one of it’s chiefest competitors, Google Apps, for over 1 year the products have their niche. For many professionals or organizations they may be the best fit in the marketplace.

One aspect of Office 365 that isn’t well documented in the reviews is the reliance on Microsoft support for service and customization. Both Google and Microsoft only offer service electronically. You can’t pick up the phone and call anyone if there is a problem. No matter how many emails are sent asking for support all requests are processed at their convenience, not yours. Often service is only available to a single designated company administrator. In effect a commitment to Office 365 also becomes a commitment that Microsoft’s support department will be able to manage any customization or resolve any support issues that arise. Microsoft may have spent billions working on a great cloud offering but for Office 365 customers let’s hope some of those billions have gone into efficient, effective support models. Anyone who has ever tried to find the right person to look after a need at a big company before will likely understand how important this can be.

Written by Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer is the founder and president of pcit.

Related Posts: