When Microsoft decided to revamp the format of ‘Office’ (which is one of their flagship products) in order to usher in some new cloud capabilities, there were some who immediately loved the idea. They most likely saw the inherent potential of what might be gained by combining what is arguably one of the world’s most popular software suites with the power and convenience of the cloud. Conversely, some individuals are simply beside themselves with the notion that the standard versions of a time-honored institution like MS Office will be permanently adapted.
Most people, it would seem, are rather eager to explore the new capabilities of MS Office 365, however. Regardless of what side of the controversy you find yourself on, you’ve got to admit that it’s an incredibly smart and forward-thinking move on Microsoft’s part, even if it’s considered somewhat risky. After all, they’re taking the initiative and bringing real cloud technologies to an extremely large audience, and that’s got to count for something, right? The power and capabilities inherent to cloud computing seem to imply that it will eventually eclipse traditional, or grid computing, at some point in the future in terms of adoption and abilities. By going ahead and integrating cloud technologies in a very obvious way now, Microsoft are just making sure that they’re well ahead of the curve, so to speak.
In a nutshell, MS Office 365 is an evolution of the features of older versions of the software, but with increased focus placed on web functionality. In other words, all of the familiar components like word and excel are included, only along with the “365 elements” which are largely cloud-based.
The cloud capabilities of Office 365 are designed to open you up to a whole new world of sharing and communication. For example, those who are connected to a cloud account have the option to instantly upload their work to MS’s cloud. In turn, one can even quickly share their work across public and private networks which are either inside or outside of their company’s influence. Also, unlike previous versions of the suite which had a great deal of features that required unintuitive installation and activation, Office 365 integrates abilities like video conferencing in right from the start. Along with video and audio communications however, 365 also allows for multiple people to work on documents simultaneously, much like you would be able to through something like Google Drive.
What’s the end benefit of the aforementioned adaptations, you’re probably wondering? Well, to put it simply, these cloud technologies, along with the more streamlined design of office itself, basically allows business owners and employees to focus on what they’re doing in lieu of how they’re accomplishing it. In other words, Office 365 is an attempt to create a more intuitive experience that’s free from many of the technical hurdles one usually encounters when attempting to utilize several types of technology simultaneously. For instance, in most offices across the globe, employees will often use teleconferencing in tandem with other form of communication. This type of approach allows them to maximize their ability to convey information across multiple sources, which helps a great deal when it comes to working on intricate projects which require collaboration and the exchange of precise diagrams and technical information.
Office 365 is also able to provide its users with an entirely new level of mobility. Meaning, regardless of the type of device you are using at any particular time, you can gain instant access to your files and information as if you were on another machine. Needless to say, this greatly simplifies a wide range of issues like sudden loss of devices; with Office 365, you can basically just go out and pick up another computer or device and quickly enable it on your network account, giving you full access to what you were previously working on. Likewise, if you’re able to quickly transition from the office to a mobile device while still maintaining your files and settings, your entire approach to work itself might very well shift, making you even more efficient and organized than you might have ever anticipated.
Along with its excellent cloud email features, Office 365 also makes it extremely easy to build a professional-looking website. Moreover, most 365 plans include web hosting fees as well, so you can literally create and publish a great looking site in virtually no time at all without relying on the assistance of a designer.
Currently, Microsoft is offering 4 different types of Office 365 plans with costs ranging from $4 for a basic cloud email plan, to $20 per user, per month for a completely loaded package designed for mid-sized businesses.