I can just hear Steve Ballmer (big dog @ Microsoft) singing it now:
"Give me one more chance
And you'll be satisfied
Give me two more chances
You won't be denied"
(lyrics to U2's "Even Better Than The Real Thing")
Ever since Apple has become so unbelievably successful (again), Microsoft's advertising has taken that distinct tone - Please give Microsoft one more chance.
So is it worth it? Is Office 365 going to be what it takes to keep Microsoft relevant against Apple, Google, and the rest of the hordes of pretty good products out there?
Well...... as your friendly consultant, I have to defer to a very old, very safe position: It depends on what you want to do.
So, What is Office 365? Office 365 is, at it's heart, just a hosted version of many of Microsoft's most popular products. (Office, Exchange, Sharepoint & Lync).
So what's the uproar? What is the OVERT BENEFIT of Office 365 for your business? SIMPLICITY.
I'll keep you posted as we use it more here at TKS, but at this point, I'd have to say here are my favorite perks:
1. Office 2010 deployment & licensing nightmares are significantly reduced. You log in to your portal, click on the right link, and as long as your computer is compatible, it downloads & installs your fully licensed version of Office. No keeping up with the license card, no hassling with where you put the DVD's, etc, etc.
2. Sharepoint 2010 is pretty slick. Integration with Office 2010 is almost seamless, so this means that sharepoint can become your central intraweb, your central file store, and your team's calendar, all in the space of a few hours. More to come about Sharepoint 2010 in this blog later, I think.
3. Hosted Exchange. Someone else has to manage your exchange server? Okay, sign me up. After doing this for close to 15 years now, here's my take on Microsoft Exchange: It's still the best email server platform out there for teams, workgroups, and small businesses, but it costs a lot to keep it secure, backed up, and stable. And GOD FORBID that your own, in-house Exchange server crashes. That can often translate to a TON of work, which, for a small business, means A TON OF CASH going out the window. So if you don't use software systems that require that you have an in-house Exchange server, then as of right now, this is really worth looking at.
4. Improved security. Let's be honest here - Microsoft spends more on the firewalls keeping this platform secure than most of us spend on our entire I.T. environment. Here is a cool video tour of some of their datacenters: http://blog.insidelync.com/2011/07/microsoft-shares-video-tour-of-its-cloud-datacenters/
So is it worth it? Should your business transition to Office 365? Give me a call anytime to talk it over, but it's probably worth a look.
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