By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2006-02-15 Print this article Print

From the Member Center page (the hub of the service), we were able to create as many as 50 e-mail accounts for our domain name (such as Once the account was created, an e-mail message was sent to each new account with a link to sign in to Office Live. Office Live Mail uses the current Hotmail infrastructure, but Microsoft has said that Office Live Mail will eventually have the functionality of Microsoft Live Mail, the AJAX version of Hotmail thats now in limited beta. Office Live Basics supports 10MB-file attachments, while Office Live Essentials supports attachments up to 20MB.
We could also access our Office Live Essentials e-mail account from Outlook. This allowed us to synchronize online and offline versions of our e-mail and calendar.
Site Designer Office Live Basics and Office Live Essentials provide Web site design tools that will help users quickly put up a Web site and then manage that Web site. More interesting, however, are the surprisingly sophisticated site reports that users can get from the service: Both Basics and Essentials provide Web site data including total page views, hourly statistics and most requested pages, as well as information on the browser versions and operating systems site visitors are using. Office Live Essentials takes things a step further with tools that allow users to find out which Web sites are referring the most traffic, as well as what key words and search engines are being used to find the site. With search engine optimization being such a big business, the ability to key in on key words is a huge advantage. Microsoft Office Live Business Applications Office Live Collaboration and Office Live Essentials subscribers have access to some 30 online tools for managing company, customer, project, sales and employee information. All of these tools share data with each other, and the Office Live Today Dashboard—available with both the Collaboration and Essentials editions-—can be customized to provide a view of data from any or all business applications. All of the Office Live applications integrate with Microsoft Office Outlook, Word and Excel. During tests, we successfully exported data from Office Live into Excel spreadsheets, for example. Office Live Collaboration and Essentials provide two customer-related business applications: a contact manager and a customer support tool. After populating our contact manager with accounts, business contacts and opportunities, we were able to access customer lists and information on prospective customers, as well as assign tasks associated with sales opportunities. The customer support application allows a small business to track frequently asked questions and customer support issues. Other applications included with the Collaboration and Essentials versions of Office Live include a project manager, which allows users to track projects and their status, and a sales application that enables users to track sales and marketing campaigns. Employee-centric applications include an employee directory, a place for employees to submit expense reports and a tool to track work hours for projects. Broader applications include group calendars, tools that track company assets and a document library where data such as HR policies can be shared. Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at For reader response to this article, click here. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in Web services.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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