In the 1990s, Microsoft conquered the Desktop by selling an Office suite that ultimately grew to an installed base of over a billion desktops. The success of the Office suite was due to rich business applications that just worked better together. Since then, the way people work has changed, and nothing reflects it better than Microsoft’s Office 365. More and more businesses are moving to the “cloud first, mobile first” model. Work, which once needed a personal computer and server network in an office location, is now done on other devices as well – mobile phones and tablets – from home, cafes, parks, gardens, bus terminals, airports, and just about from anywhere. Thanks to the Cloud, people also keep working when they are travelling in a car, bus, train, or even an airplane.
Now, Office 365 is the subscription services package, managed and provisioned in the Cloud, which Microsoft is using to tie together its most successful desktop, server, and online applications for businesses. Applications in Office 365 include the traditional desktop ones such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote; traditional server-based ones such as SharePoint and Exchange, and business versions of online successes such as Skype, OneDrive, and Yammer. Office 365 makes its component applications available from anywhere, on any device – by using just a browser or with a richer client. Office 365 umbrella also includes Office 2016 desktop and mobile device installable applications purchased under a subscription plan. Millions of organizations have now moved to Office 365 making it the dominant business application in the Cloud.
Office 365 is the platform for now and future, with more and more applications coming under its umbrella. Several Cloud-based applications that people prefer for office and personal use are already in Office 365, with even more features. Lately, Microsoft has been adding new features in Office 365 first before these features are included in later on-premises version, reversing the previous process. The browser versions of applications, Office Online, are catching up on features of the full desktop versions. Even consumer licensing of Office 2016 for desktops has been converted to a subscription-based program called Office 365 for Home.
While Office 365 is a fully-cloud delivered application, some plans like the Enterprise also include fully-installed Office applications on PCs and Macs that allow you to work offline and automatically sync it online. No matter which plan you opt for, Office 365 remains the first to get updated versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Skype for Business, and others. The updates are automatically downloaded in the background and installed without hampering your work. So your IT guys no longer have to bother about keeping track of different versions on difference computers or even updating them. They can also breathe easy with Office 365, knowing that as it is hosted on Microsoft servers, a system crash or loss of data would be impossible. A good measure of the reliability is the financially backed guarantee of 99.9% uptime offered by Microsoft for all Office 365 subscribers.
There is more to Microsoft Cloud than Office 365. You can also purchase a variety of other applications from Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers such as Apps4Rent. These include Dynamics CRM Online, Project Server, Power BI, and the Enterprise Mobility Suite. For compute power and Cloud servers, CSPs offer plans on Microsoft Azure, which is a large and fast-growing Microsoft Cloud service.