Office 365 Hits Public Beta, Small Businesses Get the Next Generation Cloud Productivity Service

REDMOND, Wash. — April 17, 2011 — David Kroenke has authored more than 15 undergraduate business technology textbooks over the past few decades, with titles including “Database Concepts” and, most recently, “Using MIS.” As a small-business owner working with a handful of co-writers, editors, designers and contractors, Kroenke often collaborated via telephone, email and file-sharing — and mailed printed copies of book drafts to his team for review. However, once he became a beta tester for Microsoft Office 365, it changed the way his business works.

Office 365 simplifies and integrates everyday work tasks.

“I work out of two offices, and Office 365 saves me the hassle of tracking book files between so many different places,” said Kroenke. “I don’t have to wonder where I put everything, because it’s always available to me, no matter where I am.”

As soon as he heard about Office 365, Kroenke signed up for the limited beta program.

“Office 365 has opened up a whole new world of productivity for me — I feel like a kid in a candy shop,” said Kroenke.

“After using it for just a few weeks, Office 365 simplified my business, giving me more time to focus on the work that’s most important. We can brainstorm in real time, organize, and streamline the book-editing process. Office 365 gives small-business owners like me many of the tools we never had before.

“With just one click, I can show my co-worker a document I’m working on and make suggested changes while in a videoconference; we can even use a virtual whiteboard. My co-worker might be in Ohio, while I’m in Seattle, but we’re drawing on the same whiteboard, just like we’re sitting in the same room. That is just really, really cool,” said Kroenke.

Ready for Work, Whenever You Are

Small businesses around the world can now enjoy the benefits Kroenke described. Microsoft today announced the public beta of Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next-generation cloud productivity service for businesses of all sizes. Office 365 was recently introduced in limited beta, bringing together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. The public beta allows millions of people in more countries and more languages — a total of 38 markets and 17 languages in all — to try Office 365 for the first time.

All over the world, Office 365 is attracting attention from small and large businesses alike.

“We’ve been in the cloud for years supporting large enterprises such as Shell and DuPont, but Office 365 takes that same technology power and delivers it to small businesses,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Office Division. “More than 70 percent of the people who signed up for the limited beta were small businesses, so it clearly strikes a chord.”

For small businesses, Microsoft today also announced the Office 365: Ready for Work contest. To enter, qualifying businesses can share their stories on Microsoft’s Office 365 Facebook page. Winners will be determined by community voting, and will be announced in September. The five winners will receive Office 365 for a year, as well as $50,000 in advertising and business services, and a Microsoft executive for a day — who will work at the winner’s business or charity of choice.

Office 365 Marketplace Connects Customers and Partners

Microsoft today also introduced the Office 365 Marketplace, providing a simple way for customers to find apps and services when they want to extend and customize Office 365. The Marketplace is now live with over 100 apps and 400 professional services, available from the established community of more than 16,000 Microsoft cloud partners — with new apps and services to be added over time.

Office 365 Extends the Boundaries of Patient Care

Companies of all sizes often work with Microsoft partners when they want to find the right technology that fits their business needs.

Office 365 lets you jump into the tasks that matter most to your work.

Dallas Neurosurgical & Spine, a private neurosurgical specialty practice group based in North Texas, recently looked to Microsoft for a telemedicine solution. The practice found Office 365 to be a perfect fit.

Dallas Neurosurgical enlisted US Medical IT, a Microsoft Certified Partner, to find a high-fidelity diagnostic tool to help its specialists and radiologists share medical images, build a better network of experts, and provide higher-quality care for patients. With six full-time physicians and five nurse practitioners caring for 6,000 patients each year, Dallas Neurosurgical also wanted to help its doctors provide a remote follow-up care option to patients recovering from surgery.

If a patient requires follow-up imaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging or X-rays, the doctors are able to remotely review these images using the high-definition application sharing included in Office 365.

“Our goal was to make it possible for Dallas Neurosurgical patients to visit their local primary care physician for follow-up, and allow that physician to easily collaborate with the specialist,” said Stephen Cracknell, managing partner for US Medical IT. “Office 365 makes that possible with high- definition videoconferencing and application sharing.”

Dallas Neurosurgical also provides care to patients overseas, in countries including Peru and Saudi Arabia.

“When the doctors travel, Office 365 can help them spend more time performing surgeries, rather than screening candidates or handling surgery follow-up,” Cracknell said. “The doctors also plan to use Office 365 to collaborate with each other, when a patient requires the expertise of several different specialists.”

Dr. Richard Weiner, a neurosurgeon at Dallas Neurosurgical, agrees that Office 365 helps him practice medicine when he’s traveling between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to see patients.

“It’s simple to use,” Dr. Weiner said. “The best part is that it helps doctors offer patients the best of both worlds: quality care and the ability to stay close to home for surgery and follow-up.”

“US Medical IT is excited to be working with Office 365 and to participate in the Office 365 Marketplace,” Cracknell said. “It gives my company the opportunity to share the success Dallas Neurosurgical has had with Office 365, and offer the solution to other physician offices.”

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