Microsoft Office 365 is Microsoft's new and popular way to license the Office products for online and desktop use. It also includes hosted Exchange for email, SharePoint, OneDrive for shared hard disk files, and the communications package Lync. The cloud based platform means Microsoft takes care of the system administration to update versions, apply security patches, monitor usage, ensure uptime and connectivity, and address hardware problems.
If you are still hosting your own Exchange Server in your facility, it's time to consider outsourcing so Microsoft can worry about the versions, patches, hardware failures, and other maintenance chores. Microsoft will also host it in a real data center with reliable power sources, battery backups, multiple internet trunk lines, and enterprise quality physical security.
If you're already outsourcing your email/Exchange hosting, Office365 is a wonderful alternative and lets Microsoft deal with the challenges of keeping email up and running 24/7/365.
If you select an option that includes the Windows copies of Office, you can install desktop copies of Microsoft Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word, Lync, and InfoPath. This lets you have both the online versions of Office 2013 and the traditional non-Internet dependent local copy.
With Office 365, the hassles of hosting and maintaining your own SharePoint site is gone. Microsoft takes care of that for you.
You can also enable Microsoft Access Web Apps to create simple database solutions with data automatically hosted in SQL Server (SQL Azure). The data can also be shared with other applications such as the desktop version of Microsoft Access. Unfortunately, this feature is discontinued in 2018.
There are many options based on your situation:
We are also pleased to extend Microsoft's trial offer for their Dynamics CRM system. Click on these links for free 30 day trial offers (pricing below assumes a one year commitment):
|Version||Free Trial||Description||Detail Link|
|Office 365 Enterprise E3||
|E3 price is regularly $20/user/month and includes the Office desktop versions. Depending on options, prices range from $4 to $22 per user/month. (Includes Microsoft Access)||Details|
|Office 365 Small Business Premium||
|Small Business options are limited to 25 users in the organization. Premium price is $12.50/user/month, the basic without desktop copies is $5 a month. The small business plan does not include Microsoft Access which is only available in the Enterprise plans.||Details|
|Office Pro Plus||
|This is the traditional Office on the desktop without the online services. Rather than buying the licenses upfront, Microsoft now offers the ability to pay for it on a monthly basis for $12 and install it on up to 5 machines. (Includes Microsoft Access)||Details|
|Microsoft Dynamics CRM||
|Microsoft's Customer Relationship Management system and competitor to Salesforce.com||Details|
Good luck and let us know about your experiences using Office 365.