Microsoft Office 365: The Power to Think Big and Be Small, to Be Big and Act Fast

REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 19, 2010 — With the announcement of Microsoft Office 365, the productivity power of the cloud just got a turbo boost for customers of all sizes. The new service brings familiar applications, including Office desktop software and Office Web Apps, together with SharePoint, Exchange and Lync in the cloud, for the first time.

“Office 365 is more than a new brand. It’s a progressive approach to cloud applications,” said Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division. “We designed Office 365 to work for a business of one – or a business of one million and one.”

Any business will be able to transform the way it works with Office 365, and make it dramatically easier for people to connect to co-workers, partners, customers and the information that keeps business moving forward – instead of spending valuable time on technology management and maintenance.

For example, The Starwood Hotel chain, which owns Sheraton, St Regis, W, Westin and other properties around the world, will be able to use Office 365 to change how its regional managers work together. Each manager oversees 70 to 80 properties, making it impossible to be physically present in all company locations. With Office 365, Starwood managers will improve the performance of their properties, using Web conferencing with collaboration and messaging technology. This will change how the company implements promotions, trains new employees, and shares its best practices, while saving money. Managers will be in multiple locations virtually, creating better customer and employee interaction and satisfaction.

Office 365 changes the rules

Kurt DelBene, President, Microsoft Office Division.

To date, only the largest businesses have been able to take advantage of modern, enterprise-caliber IT solutions. Office 365 changes that. No longer will enterprise technologies be reserved for traditional office workers and the larger organizations that can afford their own data centers. Instead, organizations of all sizes and people in all types of jobs will use enterprise-grade collaboration tools, social networks and unified communications to improve the way they work – and never again be trapped behind the firewall or on applications from last decade. In a few clicks, a small business can get enterprise-caliber productivity applications, an expansive capacity to grow, and a team of IT and security experts on its side. It’s not realistic for a small company to acquire these resources on its own, but delivered at scale, customers can get these solutions at a dramatically lower cost – saving 10-50% over comparable alternatives.

Any type of business can use the cloud service too. At The HerbFarm, a Northwest restaurant ranked regularly as one of the best in the United States, the manager of guest services doubles as the IT lead. With Office 365, he’ll be able to focus on his “day job” and let Microsoft focus on the technology – all while enabling better collaboration. For example, the team will be able to communicate more efficiently between a sous chef at the local market and a team at the restaurant to set the day’s menu based on the freshest produce and fish available at the moment. A delicious meal will be prepared for customers in real time – helping a local chef create a world-class dining experience.

Office 365 means speed and scale

“There are moments in time when technology transforms the workplace, and this is one of them,” said Chris Capossela, senior vice president, Microsoft Office Division. “By bringing Office, one of the most popular and widely used applications of all time, completely into the cloud era with Office 365, we are throwing down the gauntlet. When it comes to the cloud, we are all in, and we are bringing our very best with us – the very best applications and the very best partners.”

“Customers will be able to use our technology even more quickly,” said Capossela. “That’s great for customers, because we’ll get constant input that we will use to improve and update Office 365, making the feedback cycle much faster and more direct, ultimately improving our solutions in the cloud and on-premises.”

Chris Capossela, Senior Vice President, Information Worker Product Management Group.

Companies can also scale their infrastructure, fast. If a business makes an acquisition, opens a new store or holds a holiday promotion, it can rapidly expand its infrastructure in days, not months, and use only what’s needed.

Milk Link, a co-op dairy of 1,500 British farmers, has a diverse workforce that includes remote workers, employees from acquisitions, and people in different roles at various farms, processing plants and distribution centers. Using Office 365, the dairy will have the ability to pay only for the technology it needs. Some workers will have basic e-mail; others will have mobile applications; and still others will have full versions of Exchange and SharePoint, according to the requirements of different jobs.

Fast forward

Office 365 is not just good for Microsoft and its customers; it’s good for partners. Partners can open new doors, provide more complete services to customers, customize and enhance applications, and create recurring revenue streams.

Office 365 will be available worldwide next year. Over time, the Office 365 family will expand to provide new services to new audiences. Later next year Microsoft will introduce Office 365 for education for students, faculty and school staff. Dynamics CRM Online will also join the Office 365 family of services next year, giving customers a more complete business productivity experience.

Because Microsoft is simplifying its productivity services under the Office 365 brand, Office 365 will replace the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), Office Live Small Business and Live@edu.

Microsoft is also opening a limited Office 365 beta program in seven languages and thirteen countries and regions around the world, including Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States at starting on October 19 at noon Pacific Time.

“Partners are central to our strategy with Office 365. A vibrant partner community is critical to ensure our customers get the most from Office 365, and that’s why we’re investing deeply to provide partners with a clear path to success in the cloud,” said Capossela.

“Chapter one in Microsoft’s history was about putting a PC on every desktop. Chapter two was dedicated to transforming the enterprise data center. Chapter three is, without a question, devoted to bringing the power of the cloud to our customers and partners. What’s exciting is that we’re writing the story right now – and there’s so much more to come.”

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