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This is the first in series of posts about the value Office 365 provides to larger organizations. What do we mean by "larger"? Basically, if you employ (or will soon need to employ) IT staff to meet your security, reliability, and user productivity needs, we're talking to you. (We have a great story for small businesses too, which we'll cover in another series). In this post, we'll outline some of the key challenges that IT decision makers at larger organizations face, and how Office 365 and our vision of the future of productivity answer those challenges.
Top-of-mind for many IT decision makers is security. Maintaining security is expensive and labor-intensive. Viruses, malware, and spam threats are constantly evolving, overcoming the latest defenses. With the explosion in mobile access, attack vectors have vastly multiplied, as have the points at which data can be lost or compromised.
Second on the list of challenges is keeping costs under control while giving employees the tools to be productive and innovative. IT budgets are notoriously spiky. Making any significant upgrades to functionality can result in capital expenditures, which are hard to predict and create a barrier to getting the latest technology.
Of course, having shiny new software doesn't matter if it doesn't make users more productive or, worse, if they just don't adopt it at all. They need technology that "just works." So do IT pros-the solution should, if possible, decrease management complexity so they can get more done with the resources they have. And when they do need support, they don't want to call someone who knows less than they do.
Organizations also need agility. Markets and opportunities change faster than anyone can keep track of. People need to work and collaborate from wherever work takes them. Technology that can change and scale with the needs of the business is essential.
Office 365 is designed to address these pains in line with the Microsoft vision of the future of productivity. It sounds lofty, but it's actually very practical and grounded in what we have learned from customers like you.
It means delivering the best experience across the PC, browser, and phone, which is something we believe users really want in their daily lives. You want to be able to get to your email and Office documents no matter what device you're using. We want you to be able to work on your documents and when someone touches it in the browser, they don't clobber all of the things that someone did in the rich client. We round-trip the Office documents from the PC, to the phone, to the browser, and back, and nobody else does that.
We've also designed this so that the experience is tailored to the technology. When you're on your mobile phone, you can take photos; we'll automatically drop those photos into your OneNote digital notebook, and that gets synced up over the cloud, and people who are using their PCs and their browsers see those photos. We don't have that capability on the PC. When you're on the browser, you can log in to Outlook Web App and get a familiar, rich Outlook experience that's also fast and intuitive on all the major browsers. So, PC, phone, and browser-the best experience for each one of them.
Another key part of the vision is enabling you to get "the cloud on your terms." That means Microsoft is committed to giving you options. Options make you agile. With certain Enterprise plans, you can use Office 365 in coexistence with on-premises Exchange Server and Lync Server deployments. So, you can keep some users on-premises, or just migrate at your own pace. IT pro support is there 24/7, giving you access to expertise that can help you keep your users happy (and you continue to own the relationship with your users). Enterprise-grade anti-spam and anti-malware protection is built in. You can manage your Office 365 services using a Web console and use Remote PowerShell to get data and reports. In essence, you offload the repetitive, time-consuming, resource-intensive parts of IT while staying in control of the stuff that drives your business.
Finally, Office 365 is built for a world where productivity goes way beyond authoring documents. With one service you get email, online meetings, calendars, presence, real-time collaboration, document management and sharing...the list of features goes on and on. The really exciting thing is that, with Office 365, these capabilities work together the way they were intended to. So, right in Word, you can see if a colleague is available for a coauthoring session. You can escalate a PC-to-PC voice call to an interactive online meeting. Voicemail transcripts are delivered right in the Outlook inbox. Users don't have to be tech-savvy-these capabilities are available right in Office, so your organization can really get the value of new technology. And, of course, you get the latest features without having to buy or install new software.
In the next few posts in this series, we'll dive deeper into exactly how Office 365 delivers:
What do you think? Do you agree? IT professionals, are there any other major challenges you face that you need to solve? How will Office 365 be able to help? Thanks for reading!
-Allen, Office 365 Product Manager
Will any of the initial Office 365 offerings provide any of the certifications required by most all federal government agencies? I'm thinking mainly about obvious requirements pertaining to using YOUR cloud infrastructure as opposed to internal ones. The fact that a lot of NASA data is sensitive or even classified. Is there a white paper or guidance on the differences between offerings for PC systems and Mac systems? It seems there are some glaring differences in license models. Am I correct that Mac Office 2011 is NOT part of any Office 365 license options and must be acquired in a totally separate fashion? I believe that was hinted at in other discussions here? I don't believe it's practical to license the PC Office seats month to month and buy the Mac Office seats outright for all the Mac clients. For customers with very large existing Exchange infrastructure in place, including archived mail (required for legal reasons), will there be tools and assistance to migrate to the MS cloud? How expensive will that be?
We're a smaller business running Exchange and Office Software on both the PCs and Macs. Will Office 365 be Mac compatible as well given the recent release of the new Microsoft Office for Mac (which is great BTW - very excited to have Outlook on the Mac).
More details are still needed as eprtains to education and Windows Phone 7 enterprise updates/support.
By: Allen with the Office 365 Group at Microsoft Reposting from Microsoft Office 365 Blog This is the
@Scott: Office for Mac 2008/2011 will support both Exchange and SharePoint. Communicator for Mac will not be supported by the hosted Lync service.
@techieg: Thanks for the question, education details will be announced later, most likely early 2011. Windows Phone 7 will be supported and a great part of the complete Office 365 offer.
Will there be a service pricing structure set up for Non-profits/charities?
This will be very important for small grassroot or non-fund raising types for organizations where every cent counts.
@H. Kyle Jones: Microsoft supports eligible programs and organizations that address the needs of communities worldwide with free and discounted software. No details for Office 365 have been announced yet, so you will have to stay tuned. For more information on our other discounts and support for non-profits, check out our resources here: www.microsoft.com/.../software-list
The current BPOS offering of SharePoint is an abbreviated version of MOSS 2007 Standard Edition. Can you tell me what the Office365 SharePoint 2010 offerings will be?
AUTHOR: Allen with the Office 365 Group at Microsoft Reposting from Microsoft Office 365 Blog With hundreds
We have not seen any information on price/GB for sharepoint storage. I have a client with a large SP database on site and he would like to move online. Any word on pricing for extended capacity?
Customers who sign up for Office 365 for Small Business initially, can they upgrade to Enterprise version in the future? And will the upgrade be seamless?
@Allen_MSFT "@techieg: Thanks for the question, education details will be announced later, most likely early 2011. Windows Phone 7 will be supported and a great part of the complete Office 365 offer."
Does thie mean full support on WP7, Lync secure IM/presence et all? If so, when is secure IM/presence also coming on WP7 for Hotmail/Live users on the personal/consumer side of things?
I can't wait for details on SharePoint Online for education.
@Mark Jones: Could you be slightly more specific? SharePoint Online 2010 will be much more closely aligned with SharePoint Server 2010, with only a few differences. I can speak to sepecifics if you ask.
@Pam: I will look into this for you.Office 365 enterprise services entitle each customer to 500MB storage for their My Site and a further 500MB per user (pooled storage) which means that the administrator has complete control of storage delegation. Each SharePoint Online tenancy receives an additional 10Gb storage. Office 365 for small business will not include My Sites – but they receive the same 500Mb per user and 10 GB base storage.
As for Extended Capacity, I will have to check.
@Norman Ho: Yes they will have a seamless upgrade with full data migration.
@techieg: IM/Presence for Lync has no timeline as of yet, although since their was that capability in Windows Mobile 6.5, so I would expect it in WP7.
And you "can't wait" as in impossible, or you are really excited? :)
Can you please explain exactly what features you get choosing enterprise (without the desktop apps) over the small business version?