Office 365 is the robust cloud computing offering by Microsoft. Very quickly and inexpensively, an organization can enable the power of Exchange 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Lync 2010. For as little as $6 per user per month you can put the power of high-end collaboration software to work for your organization. Either as a long term solution or a proof-of-concept implementation, Office 365 takes the pain out of trying out technology without investing a huge amount time and money up front.
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So what do you get? The bare bones, small business offering gives you shared calendars, email access anywhere from any web-enabled device, instant messaging, PC-to-PC calling and (wait for it) video conferencing. For me, at least, the best part was getting SharePoint, a central location for my teams documents, lists, team calendars and collaboration. While it is the lower end SharePoint Foundation version, it is enough to empower any organization to take advantage of all the great features SharePoint offers, from document management to team discussion boards and from contacts databases to document workspaces.
It’s also a great way to do your own proof-of-concept project for SharePoint. Enable a team of 5 or 6 folks to create and use a basic team site or document library. They can even try out a basic 3-state workflow to use for review and approval processes you already have in place. Even if you have a single project with a far flung workforce, it would be worth the low commitment/low cost, high uptime (99% financially backed) Office 365 to quickly get your team working effectively together in less than an hour. Visit the Office 365 site for more information and to sign up for a free 30 day trial.
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