Choosing a large-scale software solution is a difficult thing. Obviously, in these tough economic times, cost savings are a huge deciding factor. However, saving money up front can lead to future headaches down the road. In other words, if the software causes the employees to be less productive, you may as well flush your cost savings down the toilet. Hell, it may cost you more in the long run.
Microsoft is a dependable name in software solutions, and Office is one of the most powerful software suites bar none. One county in the state of North Carolina has realized cost savings and increased productivity thanks to Office 365 and Surface tablets.
Successful people often go everywhere with a pad and pen. After all, you never know when an idea might materialize. However, as the technology age progresses, paper and pen is being replaced by smartphones and tablets. This is ideal, as it is easier to organize digital notes than paper ones -- syncing across devices and computers.
Many companies offer software solutions for idea retention and note taking. For example, Google offers Keep and let us not forget about the wildly popular Evernote. Microsoft also offers an amazing solution called OneNote, although it does not get the attention it deserves. Microsoft intends to change that, as today it announces a few major changes -- there is now a Mac version which will be free. Also free is the Windows version. Clearly, these moves signify Microsoft declaring war on competitors -- but is it enough?
Office 365 Home Premium is a great value product for families. For the Leave It To Beaver market, it is a great way to save money as it provides five licenses. Wally, Beaver, Mom and Dad can all have Microsoft Office for a paltry $99 per year. Hell, they can give Eddie Haskell the extra license.
However, what about the lonely bachelors and single ladies of the world that do not need five licenses? Maybe a person only owns one computer and only needs one license. It is a sin to pay for five licenses and have four go to waste. Today, Microsoft announces a new option for the Juan Pablo's of the world -- Office 365 Personal. It offers potential cost savings to individuals.
Service Pack 1 has just started to roll out to Office 2013 users, but Office 365 users have been left out in the cold. You might think that as a subscriber your software is kept constantly updated -- and this is true to a point. But talking to Paul Thurrott, Microsoft reveals that a "handful of updates are totally new in SP1" and these have not all made their way to Office 365 yet. Unless you follow the little trick that Paul has shared, that is.
Unlike many applications Office 365 does not have a built-in means of forcing an update check -- so we have to force a forced update! The steps are very quick and simple to follow, and you can grab yourself a copy of SP1 in next to no time.
Microsoft has released a service pack update for the latest version of Office. Service Pack 1 (SP1) promises greater stability, expanded functionality, and security enhancements for Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Exchange Server 2013, as well as improved compatibility with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
The service pack contains all of the public and cumulative updates released since Office 2013 first became available, as well as numerous unreleased fixes and updates that reflect recent changes. SP1 improvements include:
The existence of a paperless office and the overall death of paper has been greatly exaggerated. Anyone who has been in an actual company office recently knows that paper is still haunting the corporate world. Sure, there is less of it being used, but even one sheet is too many.
What can be particularly annoying is signatures. Printing and signing something feels archaic. Hell, you might as well chisel your name into a cave wall. Today, however, Microsoft and DocuSign join forces to bring eSignature to Office 365. While the partnership won't single-handedly kill paper, it is a start.
It seems you can’t have a platform these days without an attached store, and Microsoft Office is no exception. There are many useful tools and templates that users can add to Word, Excel and other programs contained in the suite.
Now Access will be joining the party. A report today claims that as of February 3, Microsoft has given the green light to apps for the database program. Microsoft’s Matt Evans reports that “Access apps have been part of Office 365 subscriptions since Office 365 General Availability was announced in February 2013. Until now, Access apps were in preview and weren’t supported under the Office 365 service-level agreement (SLA) and compliance standards”.
With as much time as I've spent in the education sector, as a student on one end and a high school IT specialist on the other, I know the landscape of educational learning management systems (LMS) decently well. And to be completely honest, it's a landscape rife with half-baked products delivering a fragmented me-too experience.
There's a lot to be desired from LMS environments, at least the one's I've played with in the last half decade. As a grad student at DePaul University (Chicago, IL USA) right now, I'm juggling between no less than three distinct platforms the school relies on.
Microsoft's Office 365 has been rolling along as of late, scoring wins with both corporations and local governments. Now the service is visiting overseas locales, looking for even more market entry. This time around, it lands in Italy, but not for a gondola ride in Venice.
Instead, Office 365 has been adopted by RCS Group, a leading multimedia company within the European nation. "With the benefits of a consistent approach for the end user, complete transparency for the delivery and the availability of Office applications, there will be more and more opportunities for our employees to continue to deliver new, innovative ideas", said Umberto Tonelli, chief information officer of RCS MediaGroup.
You're probably expecting me to write a scathing exposé on how I've come to dislike Google Apps. That's quite far from the truth behind why we left Google. There is a lot more to the story than meets the eye. It goes way farther than just a decision based on boxes checked off on a spec sheet. After more than one month since making the move to Office 365 full time, I can comfortably say we made the right decision as a company.
And of anyone who can make an honest dissection of Google Apps against Office 365, I'd say I'm as well suited as anyone in the IT blogosphere to be passing such critical judgement. Notwithstanding my own personal usage of Gmail since 2005 and Google Apps for my IT company since early 2010, I've likewise been both a Google Apps Certified Trainer and Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist for years now. And I've personally been involved in Google Apps transitions for numerous small and large organizations in both the public and private sectors. So to say that I've been deeply invested in Google-ism for some time now is an understatement.
The year that slowly draws to a close has been a big one in technology, but when is that not the case these days? It seems the rate of hardware and software releases grows exponentially -- it's Moore's Law on steroids. We've seen new tablets, laptops desktops, phones...you name it.
I've been fortunate enough to test more than a few of these products and I have had the usual share of hits and duds. If you asked what I liked, what I really liked, then I would give you a few answers. And that’s what we will stick with here. I’ll spare you the whining about products I didn’t care for.
One of the problems facing an organization investing in subscription software is determining what package to opt for. It makes sense to keep things as cheap as possible and plump for the lowest priced package, but what happens when your business expands and your needs grow? Microsoft is looking to make things a little easier for Small Business users who find that their needs change over time, making it possible to easily jump to the Midsize or Enterprise plans.
The Switch Plans program also makes it possible for Midsize Business subscribers to switch to an Enterprise plan. This is a great option for businesses whose employee numbers swell faster than expected, or for those who discover that they need access to additional features and options that are not available on the plan they originally chose.
It's a fairly typical situation these days: a small business approaches me with a need to replace an aging Exchange 2003 server and Office 2003 for 14 users. They want to compare purchasing their upgrades outright vs just renting them from Microsoft. The in-house server approach for email and Office software will run them roughly $10K USD before any consulting labor -- or they could opt to have us move them into Office 365 E3 for $280/month.
At face value, sure, you could say that the in-house approach pays for itself in just about 3 years compared to paying for Office 365 E3 over that period of time. But you're squarely forgetting about all the hidden nasties which I brought into full light in a previous article on the TCO of cloud vs on-premise technology.
California-based SaaS security specialist Adallom has revealed the existence of an Office 365 token flaw in Office 2013 that could allow malicious web servers to intercept authentication tokens and remotely access a SharePoint site without any alerts being raised.
Writing on the company's blog Noam Liran, Adallom's chief software architect describes the attack as an "ice dagger" because it's the perfect weapon, leaving no trace. He says, "The vulnerability we've found and the security incident that used it have all the makings of a great crime mystery. Only through months of diligent research were we and the Microsoft Security Response Team able to piece together the elements of what might otherwise have been a perfect crime, totally invisible to existing perimeter and endpoint protection defenses".
Microsoft has been busy this year, working towards landing its Office 365 in the enterprise, government offices and educational institutions. The company announced its latest ploy back on October 15, aiming at any school that licenses Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for its employees.
Today the program officially goes live, bringing Office 365 Student Advantage to thousands of educational institutions. Eligible locations will be able to begin offering Office 365 ProPlus to all students.