For the past year, we have been pushing Office 365. To some, it may have seemed that we were mandating the changeover. There is a method to our madness. It isn’t just that you will be using the latest available version of the software. It isn’t that it provides a more secure environment. It isn’t that there are more than a billion other people using Microsoft Office. There is another reason.
Office 365 is the best suite of office and communication applications moving towards Unified Communications. Unified communications includes all the ways we communicate. It includes voice, video, text, instant messaging, social chat, collaboration and common tools for sharing information. This is a term we don’t usually see in office applications because we are at the forefront of a rising technology. It has been pure theory for so many years with many vendors offering a solution, but none of them has turned out to be a real contender. I have looked at unified communications and collaboration intensely over the last 5 years. I have had some hopes over the years. Google Wave introduced in 2009 and offered some really imaginative multi-lingual communication tools but was killed off in 2010, and with FirstClass from OpenText which has never able to stay current. There is Basecamp which handles only some aspects of unified communication. Even Microsoft SharePoint introduced in 2007 could never find a real footing. It continues to miss the boat.
That said, Microsoft has created standards we live with every day and is making strides by expanding the universality of these standards. We all know what a DOC (Word) or an XLS (Excel) file is and more and more of us know what a MDB and ACCDB (Access) file is or a PUB (Publisher) file or even a VSD (Visio). We are also learning what PST and OST files are. These are all standards created by Microsoft. Sure there are other standards, PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format) and ZIP (compressed file), MP3 (music), MP4 (video) are examples. But, in the end, we communicate with a certain set of tools each and every day. These tools include voice, text, email, time-sharing (calendar), file-sharing and social media. The easier we can share, search, find, schedule and assimilate, the easier we can communicate. The easier we communicate and collaborate, the better we understand one another and understanding is the cornerstone of cooperation, progress and peace.
Microsoft Office 365 provides a way for all of us to improve the way we communicate and collaborate. It isn’t perfect yet, but it is far superior to Google Apps which remain disjointed and less integrated with your desktop. It is light-years away from FirstClass, and far and away more robust than any other offering on the market.
With the right Microsoft Partner, companies can harness the latest versions of Outlook, SharePoint, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Excel, Publisher, OneNote and Lync within their entire organization and spread the ability to communicate and collaborate with customers and vendors. For more information email me at email@example.com or click on our Office365 page.