I’ve got the chance to test the Office 365 beta. After registering for the office 365, I’ve found it provides three services on the cloud as shown in the image below:
- Exchange Online (Outlook in the image below)
- Lync Online
- SharePoint Online (Team site in the image below)
Figure 1: Three services provided by Office 365 (Beta).
So Office 365 is all about collaboration. How we collaborate in these days in enterprise environment?
- Send mails
- Text Chat, Voice Chat or Video conferencing etc.
- Share Documents/files in collaboration
All these features are provided by Office 365. As usually, without Office 365, we need to setup Exchange locally in office, we need to setup some kind of communication software (like gtalk, skype etc). Also for collaboration or file sharing we need to use different custom solutions. However using Office 365, local installation and maintenance of these servers/solutions will not be necessary.
Also with the Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote in the cloud (with Office 365 beta), separate license of Microsoft Office is not required. SharePoint Online provides these Office services and also provides a public site as part of the Office 365 package.
So why Office 365? Once reason is cost. Local installation/maintenance of server/infrastructure is not required. No separate license of Microsoft Office is required. Another reason is manageability, Office 365 puts all these three services (Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online) in a single place to manage. This is a great relief for Admin as he can manage any issues from a single point. Disaster recovery is another reason to move to cloud. Office 365 ensures maximum availability of the service.