Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Killer app

I’ve been doing some more playing with Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services (good old BPOS for short) and I reckon I know what is going to be the killer app for the small to medium business. Firstly, let me cover a few other nice things I’ve discovered about BPOS recently.



The first is the Single Sign On (SSO) tool that comes with BPOS. Basically, you install it on your workstation, log into it once and it logs you into all your BPOS applications. Not only that it will configure the local applications for your use automatically. Things like Outlook get configured to allow seamless access to Exchange in the cloud. That is nice and it is going to make it real easy for users on their desktops but that isn’t the killer app.

Next there is SharePoint. There are some limitations around exactly what can be done with BPOS SharePoint but it is more than most customers require anyway. I tested out the ability to index PDF documents, for example, and that works fine, which is great since they are not normally indexed by default (see www.wssops.com for more info). SharePoint in the cloud is going to be huge boon for users since it is going to give them so much more functionality that what they currently have with traditional file shares. Yet that is still not the killer app in my books.

The real killer app for the small to medium business is going to be Web Conferencing (aka Live Meeting). As part of the BPOS package they are going to be able to conduct meetings, conferences, presentations all via the web. This is not only going to save them time and money, it is going to make them appear more professional as well as greener (i.e. less travel). Once you appreciate that you can do so much more business with web conferencing you being to understand that even though the other BPOS stuff is great (and it is), Web conferencing I believe is going to tip most people in its favour.

I can just hear it now - “Wow, you get all that – email, collaboration (SharePoint) AND web conferencing for a low monthly fee? Where do I sign?”