There is much buzz lately in the internet world due to Microsoft’s recent announcement of a new suite of software published entirely in the cloud. Yes, that’s right, Microsoft 365 will be published in the cloud; it combines the latest version of Office, 2010, with their cloud-based services to improve collaboration for businesses increasingly spread across the globe.
First, an explanation of “the cloud”, in case you’re unsure of what the term means. The cloud is simply just the internet; if something is published in the cloud, it means it’s published through the internet rather than locally on your own hard drive. It’s still stored somewhere, but in an establishment microsoft modern workplace you’ll probably never see. Hosting data in the cloud has a number of advantages. It’s generally cheaper than purchasing your own hardware and maintaining it yourself. If you then choose to store the information you have locally as well as remotely, you have a backup which can withstand any accidents that then happen to hit your own office.
The main benefit of cloud calculating, however, is from-anywhere access. With your own site, you can generally access data from absolutely around the globe. Placing the information you have in the cloud means that you don’t have to worry about having your own computer if you need access to your information. You should definitely find a secure location to access it from, but when you do, it will be easily done.
One of the key flagship points of using Microsoft Office 365 is that of increased collaboration. Obviously, their main competition, Google Docs, proudly broadcast this as one of the benefits of their own service. You can see what others are editing and writing and work on it yourself, real-time, making it simple for large numbers of visitors to collaborate and check a document without creating multiple versions today, which can easily be lost or confused with one another. When you’re finished, you can then take your document over to Office 2010 and make the final, more advanced edits that your software offers. Microsoft now offers this same service for all of their Office suite. With pay-as-you-go services, you’re easily able to add on services and employees as you need them, rather than paying for unnecessary services regularly.
Microsoft 365 also has more potential for sharing. Outlook 2010 hooks straight into different social networks, and it’s easier than previously to share slideshows with PowerPoint Broadcast Slide Show. You might never be out of contact when you need to work again. Plus, the apps work with phones : not just the upcoming Windows Phone 7 but apple iphones, Androids, and BlackBerries. Little could be better for cross country collaboration than the ability to view documents on your phone; you need never again worry that you’ve forgotten something important just before or during a meeting, as the information will constantly be at your fingertips.
Truly the only question remaining is whether or not using the cloud to store and alter documents will take off. If it does, Microsoft have positioned themselves well to take advantage of the trend when it arises.