25 June 2012 marks a significant milestone in the move to the Cloud for South African businesses. Microsoft has revealed that this is the “go live” date for commercial availability of Office 365 – the online version of its productivity suite of Office applications, as well as Exchange, SharePoint and Lync services.
Grant Ongers, R&D Team Lead at Space Age Technologies, comments that “Office 365 is, without doubt, the best way for a small to medium business to implement an enterprise-class collaboration and messaging suite, without having to under-go the cost, complexity and on-going hassle of deploying and maintaining this complex hardware and software solution themselves”.
“The big opportunity now lies with allowing users to have the great experience they get when working on Office, to be available whether working on their tablets or smartphones”, according to Mothusi Lukhele, SMS&P Director at Microsoft SA.
With Office 365, users can read emails, view and edit documents and even collaborate via IM (instant messaging), PC to PC voice and web conferencing across most of the main platforms – all under a single monthly subscription for services delivered from the Cloud.
Office 365 has been the priority project for the R&D team at Space Age Technologies since December last year. Space Age has already helped companies migrate to Office 365 during Microsoft’s pre-launch free trial phase, with more waiting in the wings.
They also migrated their own company into the Cloud – a particularly complex architecture which blends certain Office 365 cloud components with its on premise equivalents – something that provided an excellent learning ground to gain a deep understanding of this new service.
The move to cloud services has been met with caution from many sides. Businesses are reluctant to move their data to a hosted service and IT support companies are uncertain of the role they will play when their customers move more and more of their IT services to the large cloud vendors. It is, without doubt, a time of rapid change, bringing along with it opportunities for reinventing IT.
To help companies who are evaluating Office 365, Space Age Technologies will be holding a Q&A webinar on 26 June 2012. The company will share the knowledge they it has gained over the past six months to answer questions related to business benefit, technology considerations, features and licensing options.