Microsoft’s long-awaited Office 365, which will start trialling in South Africa later this year and become commercially available in early 2012, will make it easier for thousands of local companies to get and use the same business productivity solutions used by major enterprises.
Announcing the local launch of Office 365 at Microsoft’s Tech-Ed event in Durban this week, Microsoft’s James Avenant said the new offering brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service, at a predictable monthly subscription.
Microsoft is optimistic about Office 365, which it says will bring cloud productivity to businesses of all sizes, particularly smaller businesses without an IT department. The service will be hosted from the Microsoft datacentres in Europe, leveraging the economies of scale present in these large datacentres.
“Office 365 is the best of everything we know about productivity, all in a single cloud service,” said Avenant. “The power of cloud solutions allows companies to rent computing power, rather than acquire it outright. Microsoft Office 365 is software-as-a-service, a form of cloud computing where business services are presented to the end user in a subscription model.”
Moving to the cloud with Office 365 means people don’t have to change the way they work, because Office 365 works with the most popular browsers, smartphones and desktop applications people use today. It puts enterprise-grade email, shared documents, instant messaging, video and Web conferencing, portals, and more at everyone’s fingertips.
“Great collaboration is critical to business growth, and because it’s so important, we believe the best collaboration technology should be available to everyone,” said Avenant. “With a few clicks, Office 365 levels the playing field, giving small and midsize businesses powerful collaboration tools that have given big businesses an edge for years.”
With Office 365, people can stay on the “same page” using instant messaging and virtual meetings with people who are just down the hall or across the world. They can work on files and documents at the same time and share ideas as easily as they can share calendars. Office 365 gives people new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device.
Customers interested in trying out Office 365 on trial can register at www.office365.co.za. The trail version is a full, free version of Office 365.