Simon May on why you should try Office 365


Read Simon’s TechNet blog and chat with him on Twitter.

Why should you try Office 365?

Wouldn’t the world be a great place if you didn’t have to worry about your users quickly running out of email storage space; if your users had a single place where they could collaborate on documents; if they could contact each other at the click of a button and if you didn’t have to waste time upgrading your servers?  Sounds a little too good to be true already, but how about if they could do it from any mobile device with a familiar experience on the desktop and web no matter what computer they use or where?

We’ve launched Office 365 and it’s something you should try right now, because it’s free to trial, but more importantly it’ll help you explore what it can do far better than a technical document can. Office 365 combines all the parts your businesses depends on from Microsoft to be productive: Office 2010 Professional Plus, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. The very latest versions managed by Microsoft’s experts and backed by uptime guarantees that give your business money back if things go wrong.

With all that said you might be thinking there’s less for you to do: less time spent patching, less time installing server software, less time ensuring uptime, but of course you’ll spend more time making your users happy. 

Office 365 can integrate with your existing Exchange environment or run stand alone and it links with Active Directory Directory Services (AD DS) so your users still only have to sign on once. If you don’t have AD DS in place, don’t worry there’s a single sign on client for smaller operations.  Small businesses using Small Business Server as their platform also benefit from tight integration between Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Office 365 - they act as one. Office 365 works with your existing infrastructure to provide a cloud only or hybrid approach (connecting on and off premises) that matches the reality your organisation faces today.  Let’s be clear though, the skills you bring to bear as an IT pro will help make it seamless to the people who matter - your users.

The tools to do the job are just what you’d expect: there are hundreds of PowerShell cmdlets like this one and the Exchange 2010 MMC can be used to manage Exchange Online (just like Exchange 2010). SharePoint sites can be created and managed in browser or with SharePoint Designer or even Visual Studio 2010, just like they can with the on-premises versions.

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