The beta has been available for quite some time now, but today marks the official release of Office 365, Microsoft’s bid for cloud supremacy among professionals and small businesses, as well as midsize businesses and the enterprise. (Note: There’s also an Office 365 for Education offering.) Hit the links for specific details (including benefits, services, and an estimation of costs) and videos that have been prepared to showcase each offering, all of which promise “familiar Microsoft Office collaboration and productivity tools delivered through the cloud.” And yes, those tools include SharePoint Online.
Since the Office 365 site provides the opportunity to speak with a Microsoft representative, and since I was tooling around the site to write this post, I figured I’d ask what’s the single point that Microsoft would most like me to share with the Bamboo Nation audience about Office 365. Based on the (four-minute) wait to chat with a rep, I’m guessing that Microsoft is fielding a ton of questions from interested parties today in response to the launch announcement. In response to my question, Brandy had the following to say:
“One of the main things that many companies may be interested in is that Office 365 would be hosted directly Microsoft, so you would have no need to manage and on-premises server for these features. This would free up your IT resources for other projects. Another big point is that the Office Professional Plus 2010 suite is now available as a monthly subscription, it is included in the E3 plan of Office 365 ($24 per user per month), or separately for $12 per user per month.”
On a related note, since concerns over security in the cloud were raised as recently as last week in AIIM’s Using SharePoint for ECM report, I feel as if I should point out that Microsoft has made available a Security whitepaper for your download and perusal.
So, in summary, Office 365: It’s many of your favorite Microsoft collaboration and productivity tools, hosted for you in the cloud Microsoft. It’s kind of a big deal.