Posts Tagged 'Microsoft Office365'

The Good News About Office 365 Outage

Last week, many North American Office 365 users suffered a three hour interruption to the service. Some Dynamics CRM users also experienced service disruption. This is not ideal for anybody but any IT infrastructure will suffer outage as some stage of its lifetime. What made this outage acceptable for the majority of users was the fact that Microsoft kept the users informed via their Service Health Dashboard. Not knowing why or receiving no information about an outage is incredibly frustrating for users. The service being unavailable is also frustrating but much less so when the supplier is providing real-time updates as they work to resolve the problems. This is why, despite the large number of affected users there has been very little negative publicity around the outage.

So what caused the outage? Unofficial reports suggest it was a network problem at the data centre but these reports have neither been confirmed or denied. What such an outage does highlight is that moving to the cloud requires a thorough appreciation of the risks, a contingency plan for when (not if) outages occur and also to select an appropriate supplier with high reliability/availability and a good communication channel in the event of outages. All of these requirements make selecting a supplier some challenge. A thorough understanding of the technologies, their points of failure, the suppliers and their products is required to ensure the best possible decision on Cloud Computing can be made for your organisation. This knowledge is exactly what is provided by the Learning Tree Hands-On Cloud Computing course which is delivered by industry leading experts who are Cloud Computing practitioners and can answer your specific questions based on their vast experience. If you would like to build your Cloud Computing knowledge, why not consider attending. A schedule can be found here.

Chris Czarnecki

Do We Need An Office With Cloud Computing

Over the last two years, in my consulting role I have encountered an increasing number of organisations whose staff work from home one or two days a week. This has many benefits for both employer and employee. People still attend the office for a number of reasons, the office culture, communication and collaboration being core.

Cloud Computing has enabled many organisations to significantly reduce or indeed eliminate the office IT, from hardware servers to application software, replacing it with cloud services that can be accessed from mobile devices using high speed wireless networks. As Cloud based software continues to develop and offer more and more real-time collaborative tools including video conferencing, I started to consider the scenario of organisations eliminating the overhead of physical offices. There is, with Cloud technology the real possibility that organisations can exist effectively without having a physical office to which employees attend.

As an example of the type of cloud based services that could help accelerate office-less organisations, Logitech have launched a HD cloud video conferencing system that is available on a pay-as-you-use basis. This opens up facilities to all organisations that have previously only been affordable by large multi-national companies. Many of the benefits of attending an office can be overcome using technology such as this. At a lower level the collaborative features of productivity tools such as Microsoft Office365 enable real-time communication and collaboration too. Its an interesting thought that Microsoft Office365 could be the beginning of the end of the physical office.

Chris Czarnecki

Microsoft Releases Office365

Microsoft has announced the worldwide availability of Office365, released as their next generation of productivity applications. The product makes the popular productivity tools such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint available as a cloud service, where the software will always be up to date. By accessing these applications as a cloud service, a business can benefit in many ways including:

  • Any where access to documents
  • Easier Collaboration
  • Automatic backups
  • Reduced administration

There are potentially many other benefits too including the payment on a monthly basis for the software from ¬£4 per user per month. This fee is for professionals and small businesses and represents a real cost savings over the traditional ‘shrink wrapped’ Office productivity suite. For midsize businesses Microsoft offers flexible deployment models enabling some users to have on-premise office access, whilst others to have the cloud hosted software. This is a hybrid cloud approach and allows specific compliance, security and operational needs to be met.

Whilst termed Office365, this software suite provides much more than the three applications listed above and includes email, SharePoint and Lync Рan application that enables a number of different communication channels including online meetings and audio/video calls. With this exciting release, Microsoft offers a strong alternative to Google Apps, with a very similar cost model. What is interesting is that Microsoft offers some interesting possibilities that Google does not, such as the hybrid approach to deployment. It will be interesting to see how these products evolve over the next few months.

If you are interested in learning about the features of Office365 and Google Apps and comparing them, why not consider attending Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing course, we discuss both offerings and compare them from a business and technical perspective.

Chris Czarnecki

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