I’ve heard some rumblings about Microsoft Office 365, so I thought I should go take a look.
Many Churches and organizations are moving in the direction of cloud computing, and Microsoft has recently decided to jump in the pool with Office 365.
You get the latest versions of the familiar Office applications and the Office Web Apps, freeing your people to create, communicate, and work together efficiently from virtually any device.
I’m not sure they picked the greatest name. I understand, you have access 365 days of the year, but I want to leave work at work! The last thing I want is to be in the office 365.
The name is lame, but what about the applications and service?
Microsoft Office 365
Again, Microsoft has shown up to the races while everyone else is laps ahead. The only think they bring to the table of competition, is they are the business world’s default and everyone knows their name.
Everything they offer here is fairly standard for cloud business computing.
- Work from anywhere on just about anything – desktop, tablet, smartphone.
- All of your Outlook features and feel, online, with a disappointing 25MB inbox.
- Share documents, edit, and collaborate.
- Consistent formatting between Office Web Apps and desktop Office apps.
- They provide some integrated video chat and project planning, which is nice, but there are so many more robust options.
- Website designer? Seriously?
- Manage, editing and sharing a database via Access. Very nice!
- Video chat and IM.
I am really disappointed with what Microsoft put together. A handful of sub-par programs and apps and that can easily be beat with free apps.
That pretty much sums it up.
Maybe we’ve gotten spoiled with all of these single use apps and free services, but Microsoft Office 365 is complicated. There are different levels of services, and then within those services there are variations in the plan:
- Plan P
- Plan E1-E4
- Plan K1 and K2
What does it mean!?! #DoubleRainbow
Just like Microsofts OS, they have multiple levels and pricing.
Microsoft Office 365 is $6 per user, per month for small business and professionals. The subscription model is really taking-off, as Adobe and others are delivering their products on a per month basis, now. Maybe it’s the economyor maybe technology is moving so fast, versions lock users in too much.
This is what you get for $6 per month, per user:
- Email, calendar, contacts, personal archive, and 25 GB mailbox storage with 25 MB attachments with Exchange Online.
- Online document viewing and basic editing capabilities with Office Web Apps.
- Easily access and view files from your mobile device with Office Web Apps.
- Consistent file formatting from desktop Office versions to web versions with Office Web Apps.
- Sites to share documents and information with SharePoint Online.
- Easily design and maintain a professional-looking public website with SharePoint Online.
- Instant messaging, presence, online meetings, and PC-to-PC audio/video calls with Lync Online.
- Share your desktop with colleagues and partners with Lync Online.
- Premium antivirus and anti-spam filtering with Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange.
Microsoft recommends jumping-up to the Enterprise plan for those that have more than 50 employees, giving you different features and price points, varying from $10-27 per user, per month.
Since Microsoft is such a huge name, many Churches and organizations may be tempted to make their first jump into cloud computing and web apps with Office 365. Let me save you some time – don’t.
Unless you have some serious problems with the ‘terms of service’ of the other alternatives, I would stay clear of Microsoft’s Office 365.
Had Microsoft made the web apps as robust as their installed programs, they would have a real contender and maybe even a clear winner. They would have also done better if they would have made the web apps available for Microsoft Office users at no charge.
Again, Microsoft is so close, yet so far.
Microsoft Office 365 is an all-around disappointment.