Microsoft has announced the worldwide availability of Office365, released as their next generation of productivity applications. The product makes the popular productivity tools such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint available as a cloud service, where the software will always be up to date. By accessing these applications as a cloud service, a business can benefit in many ways including:
There are potentially many other benefits too including the payment on a monthly basis for the software from £4 per user per month. This fee is for professionals and small businesses and represents a real cost savings over the traditional ‘shrink wrapped’ Office productivity suite. For midsize businesses Microsoft offers flexible deployment models enabling some users to have on-premise office access, whilst others to have the cloud hosted software. This is a hybrid cloud approach and allows specific compliance, security and operational needs to be met.
Whilst termed Office365, this software suite provides much more than the three applications listed above and includes email, SharePoint and Lync – an application that enables a number of different communication channels including online meetings and audio/video calls. With this exciting release, Microsoft offers a strong alternative to Google Apps, with a very similar cost model. What is interesting is that Microsoft offers some interesting possibilities that Google does not, such as the hybrid approach to deployment. It will be interesting to see how these products evolve over the next few months.
If you are interested in learning about the features of Office365 and Google Apps and comparing them, why not consider attending Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing course, we discuss both offerings and compare them from a business and technical perspective.