Wondering about Office 365 benefits. Time to consider it? We agree! And, we have you covered. Let's jump into the world of online applications. It hasn't been without challenges. The launch of Business Productivity Online Suite, or BPOS, may have been too much, too fast, considering that it was seemingly fast-tracked in response to the launch and aggressive sales campaigns done by another company. Let me pause here and state clearly that I don't work for Microsoft, but I do drink the kool-aid. That said, I had a tough time with BPOS because it was marketed mainly to small businesses, we saw a flurry of tiny deals, a lot of noise, and a little bit of MS bravado – “see, we have a cloud offering too.“
Office 365 is infinitely better, and the exciting next releases of products like Exchange and Lync will make it easier than ever to manage a hybrid environment if that is what will work best – some users on Office 365, others using the on-premise Exchange and/or Lync 2013. New capabilities in Office 365's SharePoint make it a very attractive option for further integrating the business with outsiders like partners, customers, and suppliers. Making disconnected users finally feel like they are part of the corporate environment has huge benefits, too, in employee engagement metrics and overall organizational culture.
We are also seeing a distinct play in the merger/acquisition and divestiture space. Organizations that need to be able to acquire and divest with agility are finding Office 365 a great enablement platform.
Office 365 Benefits
Most of our clients still have a lot of questions. How can I use Office 365? What will it do for me? Will it impact my bottom line? What about security? Up-time? Or, the servers/software/processes/workflows I already have? As a result, huge enterprises like Dupont, Dell, and Scripps Networks (HGTV and DIY Network fans might recognize this name) have clearly answered these questions and have deployed Office 365.
Forrester said, in a June 2011 commissioned study, “Office 365 improves productivity, provides IT peace of mind, and reduces total cost of ownership compared to similar on premises implementation.” Yes, it was a commissioned study, but we're seeing situations where this is totally proven out, and where larger companies are realizing that they can save money, leverage existing staff to do more transformational work, and create a seamless user experience that actually enhances corporate capabilities.
This isn't a commercial for Office 365, and I would not presume to suggest that it is right for every organization. And, while for a small business, it might be a flip of a technical switch, for larger organizations there are a number of architectural questions to be worked out. There is no one answer that fits every organization, but based on what I am seeing, it is time to thoughtfully evaluate the platform for its part in an enterprise IT strategy. As a result, it's time to consider O365!
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