Hot! Microsoft Releases Office 365

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Found this awesome gem over on TechCrunch’s Microsoft Office 365 Rollout article:

At a press event in New York City, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer rolled out the general availability of Microsoft 365, an online suite of productivity apps which includes Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync. It is “where Microsoft Office meets the cloud,” he says. Microsoft first announced Office 365 last October, and has signed up 200,000 business customers since then.

Microsoft Releases Office 365

Office 365 is Microsoft’s top-to-bottom answer on the question of office productivity in the cloud. To-date there has been, and all of us at Zincubate can confirm, a sometimes awkward combination of tools in today’s modern organizations.

You have many companies still managing their data in a “low-tech” fashion… storing all of their data locally. With a push for cloud based solutions where the data is stored in one’s personal or business account and then accessed via their desktop or a web application – de-centralized storage has become more popular.

However, there is STILL a disconnect at many organizations with a reliance on a combination of technologies in order to accomplish daily tasks.

What is Office 365?

Office 365 appears to be the next evolution in the Office Online move, which has been around in some incarnation for many years, starting with the ability to store documents in the cloud, under one’s Live Account (microsoft login), then more recently offering a full online suite of applications in order to directly compete with the likes of Google and its Google Apps offering.

The release of Office 365 includes a number of new features that were a surprise, but should help a number of small businesses. These new features include:

Outlook/Email – In perhaps the biggest, and most unexpected turn Microsoft has added Outlook and what appears to be enterprise grade email to their new Office 365 Offering. As a user of exchange it appears they’ve borrowed and added to the existing online interface of the latest version of Exchange and made it a 100% online interface (although it is assumed you can still connect to their email servers using whatever platform you’d like.

Their email includes 25GB of storage and allows large file attachments. At just $6/user/month for the ENTIRE small business package, this item alone is worth the cost.

Includes a modest website – Much like Intuit’s own offerings in the web space, Office 365 also includes a simple website. Although not much can be expected here – and based on screen shots, the design and functionality is deplorable, again at $6/month no small business can pass this up if they’re on a tight budget or just starting out.

Document storage – Another amazing feature, and one item that we at Zincubate feel is one of the greatest tools you can implement in order to increase your team’s productivity and your company’s performance, Document Storage on Office 365 is a welcomed roll out. Again, it appears Microsoft has expanded the functionality found in it’s Office Live and SkyDrive offerings.

Online Meetings & Desktop Sharing – Another great tool, and one that many small businesses are already paying  a hefty monthly fee is for tools that allow your employees, managers, etc. to perform online meetings and share their desktop. Office 365 has this built in.

 

 

Author

Zach Katkin

Zach is the owner of a number of small businesses including Atilus. He has used many of the small business tools and tips featured on this site in order to help his company. Zach – who general doesn’t like speaking about himself in 3rd person – wants to help you – that’s right, now I’m talking to you – make your small business the best it can be using the Interweb.

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