- Managed DaaS
- Happy End Users
Cloud services have been a hot topic in the IT industry for the last half decade. More and more technologies are shifting to a cloud based model making it easier to deliver services and shift revenue to a monthly recurring model. Microsoft Office is no exception and offering Office as a cloud delivered application was a natural progression.
The offering meets the demands of an increasing number of cloud-first organizations, allowing for easier access, improved collaboration and enhanced productivity and efficiency. However, the service has also proved to be somewhat confusing, particularly as businesses adopt virtual desktops and the way people work continues to evolve. Let’s unpack the solution a bit.
Office 365 cloud services was first launched in 2011 to its fair share of criticism. It’s not feature rich, it’s late to market, businesses do not want a subscription based model, the list goes on. But Microsoft wasn’t going to let Google Apps (G Suite) run without stiff competition. Microsoft was persistent and continued to invest resources in their platform and now O365 is in almost every IT conversation I have as a DaaS Sales Engineer.
O365 now has about 26 million users (as of Q2 ‘17), is a $7.4 billion revenue stream for Microsoft (its largest revenue source) and continues to add 1 million subscribers per quarter.
Here are the basics:
Office 365 is the online version of Microsoft’s most popular Office services (Word, Excel, etc.). You pay a monthly fee (per user) for the right to use the online Office services versus paying a one-time fee and owning the license. Most plans also allow users to install the traditional desktop Office Suite on up to five devices. Depending on your plan, additional services may also be included – such as hosted Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business.
Moving some of the most widely-used business applications in the world to the cloud created a host of benefits. Organizations are able to continue using the applications that were already in place, but now aspects like collaboration and patching are easier.
Online versions of your favorite office applications have great collaboration tools allowing multiple people to easily edit the same document. Gone are the days of emailing different versions of a document.
For all the benefits provided by a cloud-based Office solution, O365 does have some hang-ups, particularly for organizations that are using the online-only services rather than installing applications on local endpoints.
As organizations continue to look toward cloud solutions, it’s likely that Office 365 will become even more popular. And since it’s a cloud-based service, it’s compatible with other moves to the cloud, such as accessing O365 from a virtual desktop.
The key when implementing Office 365 is understanding the licensing options, particularly if you do plan on deploying it on a virtual desktop (which makes the licensing even more interesting). It can be a worthwhile endeavor for cloud-minded companies, though, since virtual desktops are hosted in the data center with an abundance of bandwidth, resulting in connections to O365 services being very robust.
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