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Sometimes people refer to the cloud as a "disruptive" technology. But that's really the wrong word to describe Office 365. Constructive? Yes. Practical? That, too. Microsoft understands that businesses don't care for surprises. We have gone to great lengths to make Office 365 familiar and easy to use.
New capabilities, no matter how powerful in theory, don't deliver value unless users use them. That's why Office 365 is all about lighting up Office - the desktop and Web-based productivity tools that users rely on every day. For example, it takes little to no training for users to take advantage of the presence information in Office that becomes available with Office 365. It just works, immediately, easily enabling more efficient collaboration and decision-making.
Now let's look at how Office 365 doesn't disrupt your datacenter. First of all, you can choose a plan that enables coexistence. That means you can keep your on-premises Exchange Server and Lync Server and integrate them with Office 365 services. Therefore if some users are on Exchange Server and others are using Exchange Online, they can share free/busy information-no silos, no disconnect. If you want to take advantage of the PBX replacement scenario available with Lync Server, you can do that while using Exchange in the cloud. Coexistence* gives you the flexibility to migrate to the cloud at your own pace, keep certain users on-premises for compliance or other reasons, and get the right mix of features and architecture for your business.
Notice we said "choose a plan." That's also an important point-there's a range of plans available to enterprises, and you can mix and match them as you need. If some users need Office Web Apps and others don't, you can do that. If you have some kiosk workers who don't have dedicated PCs and just need lightweight, Web-based access, you can do that. If you need coexistence, you can do that, too. It's your choice and you can get what works for your business.
Of course, one of the benefits of cloud-based productivity services is that you get the latest features without having to do much. But, our approach to this style of innovation is business-focused-that is, surprisingly surprise-free. We plan to update the services frequently with deliberate, responsible, fully-tested capabilities and upgrades. It's innovation that is customer-centered rather than for its own sake.
Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into how Microsoft takes a measured, customer-centric approach to productivity in the cloud. In the next post, we'll talk about how we deliver enterprise-class security and reliability so you don't have to.
* Check out the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant, which provides customized instructions for your business about how to configure rich coexistence
Allen, Office 365 Product Manager
Does SharePoint Online support globalization/localization and where can one find well detailed and walkthroughs?
Any feature details on SharePoint Online for education ?
My SharePoint inquiry above pertains to developer solutions.
@Techieg: I think you can find what you are looking for here: www.microsoft.com/.../details.aspx. Walkthroughs will continue to come as we approach General Availability of Office 365, no education details have yet been announced.
I am sharepoint developer and always looking to learn something new. tell me If u know any new features in sharepoint 2010. I would like to know.
@richapallote: A great place to start would be to check out that SharePoint 2010 site at: sharepoint.microsoft.com/.../default.aspx. You can also follow us on Twitter where we will be doing a bunch of new Did You Know posts in 2011.
Businesses should have no issue with the "5 user minimum" Office 365 requirement but are any accomodations planned for individual users? (Yes, I would like to use Exchange and SharePoint as an individual user on my home system.).
Is there a release date for office 365 yet? I have a small business and I have been hesitant to purchase office for our new computers as I would prefer to simply purchase the cloud solution of office 365. How can we be notified of it's official release?
I would like to know Office 365 ( Exchange Online and Lync Online) does it support ITAR Compliance. If not what is the preferred way to have a ITAR Compliance architecture. Do you recommend having an Onpremise Setup and a Cloud setup in coexistence mode. Please explain.
@Techieg: Do you have a MSDN subscription? I would check out this link: msdn.microsoft.com/.../gg153540.aspx
@Barkingdog: The 5 user minimum is being removed with Office 365. So yes!
@Michael C: Thanks for the comment Michael. Official release dates have not been announces, I would sign up for the beta, which will provide you the opportunity to subscribe to a mailing list, which will provide you updates along the way.
@Lakshman: ITAR compliance is not something that is available to all in Office 365, but as we work with Federal organizations moving to the cloud, we've made our Federal offering compliant with regulations, (although this is not attested to by third party audits). While we haven't released our specific details about Office 365 offering for governments, my thoughts would be that we will probably handle it similarly to what we do today with BPOS, as stated above.
People would like to sign up for the beta. If only that were possible. I have been trying to sign up for 2 months and have never even had an acknowledgment email.
@Eric: The Beta is not available to imaginary characters :). We apologize for the lack of email response, it is a noted issue and we are working to fix it, should be done shortly. Rest assured that we have recorded your information for a beta spot, and will be notified of an opening. As for the beta, take a look at this FAQ. We are only in a limited beta for the moment, so your lack of email response is not what is keeping you out. Again, apologies and please be patient with us as we test this service, before we open for the masses to test.
Thanks for the response. I found the lack of email response poor when that is what we are led to expect when we sign up for the beta. At least that way we would know we possibly have a spot in line and our application was received. I shall attempt to remain patient.
I had wondered if the product is imaginary as my character ; )
Thanks for the patience Eric, just to clarify further, we DO have an email for all signups, just there has been a bug that is preventing them from being sent.
I understand but I am getting frustrated. I have a new client whom I know Office 365 would be perfect for and I do not want to keep stalling them indefinitely. I do not want to start them down the road into BPOS, which is not ideal for them anyway, only to have to convert them over soon.
I know, patience is a virtue.
@Eric: could you email me at Office365@microsoft.com? I'd like to chat in email.