There are signs that Microsoft is winning the war for productivity applications. According to a recent report on the Wall Street Journal, Office 365 is rapidly catching Google Apps in large enterprises, and while it has a way to go with small business, Microsoft’s aggressive strategy with Cloud is helping to build its appeal to SMEs as well.
Microsoft recently released productivity apps onto the iPad, for instance, demonstrating a clear willingness to go where the customer is even when, in terms of both hardware and software, the ecosystem of these devices is in direct competition to Microsoft. The fact these apps were immediately best sellers is proof that demand for them is strong.
There is still room for Office 365 to grow, but in general terms the service has become the superior choice for organisations that want to make heavy use of Cloud apps in the business. Microsoft is seeing Google customers come back to it for their apps, for many reasons, but below is five of the most compelling of them:
Office 365 applications are protected by 128 bit SSL/TTSL encryption, which means that even if a transmission is intercepted by someone without permission, they won’t be able to read its contents. It’s not fully PCI-DSS compliant, but it is certified as compliant by accepted industry (ISO) standards. With Google Apps still being seen as largely a small business solution, organisations that do consider security to be important is finding peace of mind from adopting Microsoft’s solution.
Microsoft writes into its SLA a 99.9 per cent uptime (outside of scheduled downtime), and has a great deal of redundancy, with large datacentres around the world acting as temporary backups in the event of an outage.
Collaboration is critical to modern business, and SharePoint is one of the most robust collaboration tools available. SharePoint works easily and efficiently with Office applications, allowing multiple users to edit projects simultaneously, while Office Web Apps allows people to work on documents in Web Browsers. PowerPoint broadcasting allows Internet presentations, even if the other person doesn’t have PowerPoint. Increasingly mobile work forces need flexibility in how they work, and where they work, and SharePoint gives organisations robust Cloud tools to do this.
OneDrive and Skype
Microsoft’s online storage is a bonus for Office 365 users, allowing users to securely store documents or backups on the Web for use anywhere. Office 365 users also get some free Skype minutes to make landline calls as part of the package, which is a nice bonus.
Keeping things updated
Office 365 takes the headache out of managing software versions within the organisation. There’s a requirement that each Office 365 user connect to the Internet once a month in order to maintain the subscription, which has the benefit of ensuring regular checks that users are running with the latest version.
With the iOS apps making it even easier for any user within your organisation to make optimal use of the Office 365 subscriptions, it seems likely that Microsoft will continue to make strides into corporations of all shapes and sizes.