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Office365 Era

In the world of productivity everyone wants to rely on a secure anytime anywhere access to professional email, shared calendars, IM, online conferencing and collaboration on documents.The ease of using Microsoft Office products has always attracted large community of users. But for small scale organizations with fewer than 50 users; a typical IT environment as well as a dedicated IT administrator is not feasible because of lack of both skills and budget to implement and maintain the infrastructure.

Posted by

Kalyani Koul, Technology Architect, Product Engineering, Infosys

Office365 which offers cloud-based suite has many more things to like but the one of the most compelling features of the service is the price. It offers the power of cloud productivity to all size businesses to save time and money and also free up lots of valuable resources.
This new era in Microsoft Online Services combines the very familiar Office desktop suite with online versions of next generation communication and collaboration services. These collaborative servicesincludes the new cloud-based versions of SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online each based on 2010 versions of their servers as well as Office Professional Plus 2010 as subscription.
Businesses have been using the power of Microsoft email and collaboration products since decades as desktop suites. When these suites are offered with efficiency without involving business resources then it brings real value by eliminating the time and effort involved in managing the email and collaboration servers and at the same time keeping you in control. The seamless integration with Office Outlook and other office programs which business users already count on brings real productivity in the business processing. Gartner has evaluated Office 365 solutions of Microsoft as a Market Challenger. The collaboration and communication services of Office 365 are well experienced by the customers such as Patagonia and New Belgium Brewing. You can view the Gartner report to know what Office 365 suites of Microsoft stands as Market Challenger.

What attracts customers
The pricing model that O365 offers to its customers virtually pays for itself. It offers the services ranging from $2 to $ 27 per user per month. Depending on the business needs and volume of users, customers can opt to choose the entire suite of O365 or they can opt for the standalone plan which offers the key components that the organization needs. Each plan has the same 99.9% uptime guarantee and includes the security and support from Microsoft.

O365 solutions are designed specifically for secure access over the internet. It provides 2 options for user identification like Microsoft Online IDs and Federated IDs. The connections established over the Internet to the Office 365 service are encrypted using industry-standard, 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) encryption. Office 365 supports additional security measures to protect sensitive information such as Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) for public key encryption and digital signatures as well as Information Rights Management protection for restricting who can access and perform specific actions on documents, email, and even voicemail messages.

It also has subscription plans for kiosk workers that offer value and flexibility with $4 per user per month. The standalone plans and their pricing structure are described in the following metric. Each plan is rated on per user basis.

Customers can easily transition to Office 365 as Microsoft offers a full fledge transition center that guides to the customer at every step of their transition. The support at each step of transition right from planning till deployment makes the overall transition hassle free.
Microsoft also offers a transition forum on TechNet where customers can communicate with other customers or Microsoft SMEs to discuss and resolve their issues.
The operational cost is cut by an estimated 30% and the variable cost model provides increased flexibility.

What it offers Developers
Developers can write their common solutions which can be reused for Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online. This greatly incurs the reusability and reduces the development efforts, time and cost.
With Office 365 developers can reach to larger audiences as their solutions would be used by more customers. Also they would be able to enhance their knowledge as they will get to communicate to these customers on and often to understand their pain points and to resolve their queries.
Microsoft offers huge information about developing applications for Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online as part of Office 365 solution development.  The articles are available in MSDN as well as in TechNet articles. 

Office 365 is the future of productivity that brings together next generation cloud based services. So when customers think about saving their high valued resources, time and cost; Office 365 suites may be the solution they are looking for!


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