Office 365 is Microsoft’s next generation of its Business Online Productivity Suite (BPOS). BPOS has been around for a few
years and is Microsoft’s Hosted offering of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live
Meeting and Microsoft Office Communications Online. Office 365 now includes the following
- Microsoft Exchange Online – This is the hosted version of Microsoft Exchange and
provides businesses with an enterprise level email system with virus protection
backups and 25GB of storage.
- SharePoint Online - Microsoft’s Online version of SharePoint 2010. It is a cut down
version of the SharePoint 2010 Enterprise, but includes many more features than
SharePoint 2010 Standard and is outstanding value.
- Microsoft Office Professional Plus – Microsoft has been attempting to offer
Microsoft Office as a subscription for some time now, but it has never been a
successful offering. With Office 365 I believe they have created a compelling offer for
businesses. Users of Office 365 Enterprise can now install the latest versions of
Microsoft Office Professional Plus as part of their monthly Office 365 subscription.
- Lync Online – Many businesses today use video conferencing, VoIP, desktop sharing,
instant messenger, and online meeting software. The brilliance of Lync Online is it
offers all these services and more in a single integrated environment. On top of that
Lync offers additional features like seeing the availability of a colleague from within
SharePoint, starting an instant message conversation with a colleague while co-authoring a Word Document or booking an online meeting right from within Outlook.
Never before has businesses had so many communication features offered in one
- Microsoft Web Apps – Microsoft has included Microsoft Web Apps as part of Office
365. This is Microsoft’s online version of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. A user
does not require any of these Office products installed on their computer to open and
edit Office files.
Office 365 is a software as a service solution licensed on a subscription basis. For business
there are two main editions:
- Office 365 for Small Business - $6/user/month
- Office 365 for Enterprise - $24/user/month.
The game changer for business is all these products (except Microsoft Office Professional
Plus) are hosted online by Microsoft. This means businesses don’t have to worry about
installation, license fees or maintenance. A business can instantly start using these products
with confidence knowing they will always work. As part of Office 365 Microsoft also offers:
- Virus protection
- Spam protection
- Money backed service level agreement
- 24/7/ phone support for Office 365 Enterprise Edition or community support for
Office 365 Small Business Edition