Microsoft has recently launched their new cloud based product called Office 365 which is available to small businesses all the way up to enterprise level companies. It is also available to educational institutions and business professionals.
There are several plans available for this service which I will not go into much detail about, but here is what you can potentially get. You can get Office Professional Plus which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. This in turn of course comes with Microsoft Exchange online for your hosted email solution. This will also include the Microsoft Office Web Apps which can easily be run from a web browser.
You can also get Microsoft SharePoint online which allows you to manage and share documents with coworkers, manage projects, have real time communications, and even protect content with document level permissions.
One of the newer and more advanced features that you can get is Lync Online. Lync is the newest version of what Microsoft used to call Office communications server. Essentially it allows you to collaborate in real-time through the use of instant messaging (IM), Video calls, and online meetings. There are also white boarding features available, as well as the ability to communicate with users external users with Lync Federation.
All in all, it is another cloud based service that has real potential. At bva we have done several of the exchange online implementations (before it was packaged into Office 365), and it has gone off without a hitch. For companies or users who do not want to purchase expensive hardware, this is a good route to go. It gives you all of the enterprise level tools you need for a good price. Plans begin anywhere from $6 to $27 (the latter for large enterprises) and are fairly simple to get going.
If you are thinking of going this route, let bva assist. We are Microsoft Gold Partner with a dozen Microsoft certified technicians. We have a decade’s worth of experience with small and medium sized businesses.