by Chad Weaver
Microsoft has announced their entry in to the cloud productivity with the announcement of Office 365. This is a cloud based solution for businesses that looks to align itself in the same marketplace with Google and its Apps for business. The product is not yet released, but the beta testing for both the small business and enterprise versions of this offering are now open to a limited number of people. The two offerings come in at a very affordable $6.00 a user for the small business offering and up to $28.00 for the full enterprise offering, per month.
The small business offering is suited for organizations up to 25 users while giving them access to Exchange online, SharePoint, Lync Online, and the full set of Office Web Apps. These offerings are accessible from desktop as well as mobile devices including my favorite, the iPhone. This is through the browser of the workstation, and sorry for all you Chrome users; while Safari is approved, it looks like Chrome is out. The enterprise offerings include enterprise friendly additions, up to and including a voice offering and integration with your AD domain. There is a lot of product here as well as a pay per use model. This might just be the next best thing from Microsoft. I really would love to get me a crack at the Beta and give an update on my impressions of the product and how it compares with the traditional offerings. (hinthint)
Being in the IT Support world or well at least in the Philadelphia area you can really see how reliant companies are to their office and productivity products, and the ability to take them mobile is really looking to be the next big thing. Not to mention the transition to the cloud. So many more products and solutions are moving to the cloud, why not our good old friend office? In a way it’s brilliant - no more worrying about keeping the installs up to date, controlling access, installing products needed. With the access controls built in this is looking to be pretty hot.
I can’t stress how much I am looking forward to the cloud!
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