10 Ways Microsoft Fortified Office 365 for Enterprises

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-08-19 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When Microsoft's Office 365 launched in 2011, it was a major departure for the software giant. Microsoft had historically offered desktop-based applications to customers and scoffed at any idea that their customers would prefer cloud-based productivity suites and business applications. But as Google and an increasing number of startups started investing in cloud-based productivity suites, Microsoft realized it needed to respond. The introduction of Office 365 proved to be a major divergence from its previous strategy, and the product is now a major force in the marketplace. While Microsoft's Office 365 has gone through a long period of development, the platform's subscriber base has grown robustly within enterprises, where productivity applications such as Word, Excel and Outlook are still corporate standards, only now in the cloud rather than installed on desktops. In fact, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has told the industry on several occasions that his company will remain heavily focused in its quest for future growth as its enterprise customers continue their transition to a variety of cloud applications and services. This eWEEK slide show examines how Microsoft has kept developing Office 365 to win over new customers and increase its value to enterprises.

 
 
 
  • 10 Ways Microsoft Fortified Office 365 for Enterprises

    By Don Reisinger
    10 Ways Microsoft Fortified Office 365 for Enterprises
  • The Cloud Matters to Some Customers

    While the enterprise has been a key reason for growth in the cloud, not every major organization wants to go online. Microsoft, however, has acknowledged that the cloud matters with Office 365 and offers its full productivity suite online. Be aware, however, that not all of the features in the desktop version are available online.
    The Cloud Matters to Some Customers
  • Microsoft Is Still Tied to Desktops

    One of the nice things about most of the business Office 365 plans is that they come with the ability for users to download Microsoft's suite of desktop apps. Office 365 Midsize Business, for example, comes with desktop versions of all of Microsoft's programs, including Word and Excel, and can be installed locally on up to five PCs or Macs.
    Microsoft Is Still Tied to Desktops
  • Outlook Lovers Make Office 365 a Must-Have

    If it's Outlook that's keeping companies invested in Microsoft, Office 365 has quickly become the only rational way to go for most firms. Microsoft offers full Outlook access online for remote employees, but is also available as a free download on computers. Microsoft has taken the Gmail model for online email and improved its own desktop solution. Although the debate rages over which platform is best, it's hard to take too much issue with Microsoft's Outlook.
    Outlook Lovers Make Office 365 a Must-Have
  • Collaboration Is at the Center of the Sales Pitch

    Collaboration is central to Microsoft's Office 365 sales pitch. The company has said that customers who buy into its platform will find that its suite of applications, most notably its integration of a cloud-based SharePoint, makes it a suitable collaboration platform for companies of all sizes. The company might be on to something.
    Collaboration Is at the Center of the Sales Pitch
  • Microsoft Understands the Corporate World's Support Pursuit

    Support is everything in the enterprise world. That's why Microsoft has made clear that all of its Office 365 plans include both community and phone support. The company says its platform allows for "IT-level Web support and 24/7 phone support for critical issues." For enterprise users, that's a key ingredient when deciding whether to invest in Office 365.
    Microsoft Understands the Corporate World's Support Pursuit
  • Office 365 Service Plans Include Mobile as an Option

    As CEO Satya Nadella made clear in his manifesto on the future of Microsoft this summer, his company is both cloud- and mobile-first in its thinking. That's why some of Microsoft's Office 365 plans include mobile application support. Small Business Premium and Office 365 Midsize Business both come with support for its mobile apps, along with Enterprise E3 and E4. Keep that in mind before choosing a plan.
    Office 365 Service Plans Include Mobile as an Option
  • For Most Companies, the Cost Is Reasonable

    Although Microsoft has been criticized by some for going with an annual fee for its Office 365 platform, the company's pricing is reasonable. Its Small Business package starts at $5 per user per month, while its midsize deal is $12.50 per user per month. Office 365 Enterprise E4, which is essentially Microsoft's top package for corporate users, costs $22 per user per month. While Google's own Business Apps service is $50 per user per year, Microsoft argues it's giving customers more for what they're getting. It's up to the enterprise to decide whether that's true.
    For Most Companies, the Cost Is Reasonable
  • Of Course Cloud Storage Is an Important Feature

    No surprise here, but cloud storage is available in Microsoft's Office 365 plans. Outlook comes with 50GB of storage space per user, but the company also delivers 1TB of storage for each user on OneDrive for Business. Cloud storage is an integral component in Microsoft's cloud-first plans, so it's no surprise the company is so bullish on offering storage space to users.
    Of Course Cloud Storage Is an Important Feature
  • Microsoft Makes the Security Sales Pitch

    Microsoft has made an important security sales pitch with Office 365. The company says that its platform comes with full "premium" anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering. While that might seem like a standard feature, it's important for corporate customers to hear. Microsoft doesn't have the best track record in security, so to make clear that it's doing all it can to safeguard its services should help CIOs make the pitch to the business side that remembers all too well the trials and tribulations of using Microsoft software in the past.
    Microsoft Makes the Security Sales Pitch
  • The Cloud Wouldn't Be Complete Without Social Networking

    Microsoft's acquisition of Yammer, a business social network, was met with some skepticism by those who wondered why the service would make such a difference to the software giant. Now years later, Microsoft has answered that question by bundling Yammer into its Office 365. However, Yammer Enterprise is available only to Office 365 Midsize Business, and E3 and E4 Enterprise plans.
    The Cloud Wouldn't Be Complete Without Social Networking
 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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