Today is a very exciting day as Microsoft announce the next generation of Office 365 and the Office suite, and everything that comes along with it. Once a heavily business orientated cloud-based offering, Office 365 is now positioned as the primary productivity experience, for consumers and business users alike. The new Microsoft Office 365 is set to be sold in 3 different flavours…
Office 365 Home Premium
This is the consumer based option. Linked to your existing Microsoft ID (Live ID) Home Premium will offer a fully featured Office suite, streamed to up to 5 PCs using new Click-to-Run technology. Also included is 20GB of cloud storage in SkyDrive and some free international minutes on Skype every month.
Office 365 Small Business Premium
This option also includes the full Office suite, as well as Exchange mailboxes & SharePoint sites. Features are in line with current Office 365 offering with new versions across the board.
Office 365 Enterprise
This option has everything above, as well as big time email archiving, rights management, data loss prevention and more detailed admin tools.
You can sign up for all 3, plus a bunch more here – http://www.office.com/preview
In my opinion, the most exciting aspect of today’s release is the new deployment technology, Click-to-Run. (not that I’m biased, being an Office deployment guy ) The technology allows you to stream your favourite Office Apps straight to your computer, in a matter of seconds. No more DVDs, product keys or 30 – 45 minute installations. As a sequenced application, it will run seamlessly alongside existing Office suites, which is good news for anyone looking to preview Office 2013 without disrupting their current setup.
As an Office deployment consultant, I know one of the chief concerns my clients have is that deploying an updated Office suite will negatively impact their user’s productivity. With Office 365 Click-to-Run, IT admins can deploy the latest suite alongside the current suite. This way, if something isn’t working quite right, or the user is having trouble adjusting to the new software, they can easily switch back until the issue is resolved. In my opinion this is great news for IT Pros.
Along with this new deployment technology comes a major shift in the way we operate across different devices. Anyone who uses one of the Windows 8 previews will already be accustomed to having their settings and configuration follow them around, from one device to another. Well the same is now the case for Office. If you use the new Office with Click-to-Run, your settings, customisations and recent activity will all be synchronised to any PC you like. It will even remember which page in a document you were up to, and sync that (really handy when you leave your desk and run off to a meeting with only your tablet under your arm.
Also not to be missed is the new ‘Touch Mode’ which enhances the Office user interface for touch-based devices. Basically it makes buttons bigger and increases the spacing between them, we all know that small buttons and fat fingers don’t mix . This great feature is kind of hidden, so make sure you don’t miss it.
I had better save some features for a full write-up, however I will quickly mention 1 more App that was released today. OneNote MX is now available from the Windows 8 Store. The full OneNote client is still included with Office 365, however this Metro-Style version is pretty slick if you have a touch device. Definitely worth a look.
That’s it from me for today, keep an eye out for my full write-up. In the meantime, go sign-up for the preview and enjoy .