Microsoft Office 365 – easier to use and more powerful

February 27th, 2013 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

Microsoft  Office 365 is now an easier way to set and to run a full network for small and medium-sized businesses. The new edition is:

  • easier to set up,
  • easier to administer
  • easier to use,
  • more flexible
  • friendlier to mobile devices
  • capable,of working with additions in Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Lync 2013,

The ability to switch on mail, file sharing, Web/intranet, messaging, and live meetings without standing up servers and SANs will be enticing to companies eager to save time and money

The’s still plenty of room for improvement  andmpanies who think implementing Office 365 will eliminate the need for IT staff (and IT pros who think it will mean more hours in the day for World of Warcraft) are going to be disappointed. Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync may be running in Microsoft’s cloud, but thoseill require attention from knowledgeable hands.

Different Office 365 plans are available, and Microsoft addedwo more to the mix: the Small Business Premium and the Midsize Business. These plans come with the Microsoft Office 2013 suite  on a subscription basis, including the ability for each user to install the software on five devices (PCs or Macs but for other users its a price per device.). Should you need to edit a document on some other device, such as an iPad, you can do so with Office Web Apps, which support all the latest browsers and are good enough for light work. Even better, if you can borrow someone else’s PC, you can stream the Office 2013 applications from the cloud for temporary use.  Note that users get the same features using the streaming Office apps or the on-premises installations.

 New features to highlight include::

  • The People feature (basically a beefed-up contact database)
  • The Newsfeed that lets users combine all their online resources, such as websites they like, blogs they read, RSS feeds, and status updates from other users.
  •  A new Sites feature combines all of a user’s individual and team SharePoint sites.
  • Finally there’s SkyDrive, which allots varying amounts of online storage for each user depending on how much you want to pay, with geo-redundant backup thrown in for free.
  • Users also have one-click access to the Office Store, for new Office-certified apps (think add-ons).
  • Of course admins can control access to this.

Note however a change in license policy that reflects the move to the cloud, and the move towards a BYOD world.

  • There is no purchasable physical, removable media – when you buy an Office 365 subscription or one of the single user copies of Office 2013, you will receive a product key code.
  • You will have to use your browser to navigate to office.com/setup and download the actual applications.
  • A single user copy of Office 2013 is licensed to a single machine, not to a single user. Officially: The software license is permanently assigned to the device on which the software is initially activated. That device is the “licensed device.” In the event of an under warranty failure, you can ask Microsoft to transfer the license
  • The pricing of Office 2013 is favourably biased towards Office 365with full office professioanl at $399.99 per user per annum.

    Switching to a subscription model requires a major shift in perspective when it comes to how we purchase and use our software, but that does not automatically make it a bad optiont. This change is a reflection of the living in a networked, always on, cloud-based, software as a service world and even Luddites like me are going to have to come to terms with it – sooner or later.

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