Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft debuted an enhanced version of their
cloud-based office productivity suite called Office 365 on Tuesday,
October 19, 2010. Microsoft Business Productivity Online
Suite (BPOS)--no making fun of the last three letters--has been
available since 2009. It is a cloud computing version of
Microsoft's communication and collaboration back-end software and
includes Exchange Online (mail, contacts, calendar, tasks), SharePoint
Online (document sharing, intranet news and information, and team
sites), and Office Communication Server Online (unified communication
including instant messaging, telepresence, and online meetings--to be
renamed Lync). Microsoft announced that they are added Office
Web Apps, cloud versions of their desktop productivity suite including
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. With those addition and
the addition of public web sites, Microsoft renamed the suite Office
365. Office 365 also replaces Office Live Small Business.
Photo and video editing are included in the list
of Web Apps, but those are not functions in the traditional Office
In typical cloud computing style, Office Web Apps
can be used virtually anywhere on any device using the web
browser. Office 365 is running always-current updates to the
Co-authoring allows editing the same document at
the same time with others (both inside and outside your organization)
without having multiple versions or waiting your turn.
Office Web Apps are designed to be fully
compatible with Microsoft Office, thus they are familiar to users
Microsoft offers a financially-backed 99.9% uptime
service level agreement (SLA). The data is stored on
geo-redundant, enterprise-grade data centers with automatic
failover. Antivirus and anti-spam protection for e-mail is
included. The data centers are SAS 70 and ISO 27001 certified.
Office 365 is a subscription
service Small Businesses (under 25 employees) can
get just Office Web Apps without having to subscribe to SharePoint
Online and Lync Online. Microsoft offers a range of options
from basic e-mail for $2 per user per month to a complete solution for
$27 per user per month.
In response to questions about whether Office Web
Apps really run in the cloud and what happens when you do not have
Internet access, Microsoft responded "With Office 365, Office desktop
apps are downloaded, managed and updated via the cloud, but they run
locally on your PC."
Availability is scheduled for sometime in 2011.
Microsoft Office 365 is now real competition for
Google Docs. Office 365 offers enterprise-caliber
applications you can trust. Google Docs includes documents,
spreadsheets, presentations, but also have drawings and forms.
Google Docs drawings is similar to Microsoft Visio and forms is similar
to InfoPath. Microsoft has not yet said that these Office
products will be available online. There is no equivalent of
Microsoft Publisher available in the cloud via Office 365 or Google
More information is available at the brand new Office365 web site or Office365 blog.
If you would like to know more about how cloud computing can save your company money or increase efficiency, contact us.