Friday, March 25, 2011

Why Office365

I thought I do a series of posts on why Office365 is such a great option, especially for small businesses. So let’s start with my favourite – SharePoint.

 

In the current Microsoft Online offering (BPOS) SharePoint is effectively only Windows SharePoint Services v3.0 but in Office365 it is upgraded to SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise. That is a HUGE step up in functionality for effectively the same price. SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise costs big bucks and is normally only seen in use with very large corporations, but now with Office365 even a single man business can access these Enterprise tools.

 

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One of the first big bonuses with SharePoint Server over SharePoint Services is the inclusion of My Sites. Think of it like Facebook for the Enterprise (functionality-wise I mean. Perhaps Linkedin is a better analogy for those that know Linkedin). You access it from the top right of the SharePoint screen under then menu for your name as shown above.

 

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My Sites is actually a full blown SharePoint site dedicated individually to each user. In here people can track others, save documents, share documents, keep track of what they are working on in the main SharePoint Portal, and so much more. As you can see from the above screen shot you can keep track of your Colleagues, Interest and Newsfeed (very ‘Facebookie’).

 

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As you can see from the above shot your My Site is a fully blown SharePoint site that you control. Each Office365 user has the full power of SharePoint Server 2010 at their disposal in their own personal area.

 

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The above screen shot gives you and idea of the information you can aggregate in you My Site. Here we are looking at all my Tags and Notes across the portal sites I have access to. I can easily set information about myself that helps others in my business understand what skills I have. Likewise, I can easily find others with the right skills to help me with my job. I can select and track the work that other individuals in my team. In this way you can see exactly what other have been working on across SharePoint quickly and easily.

 

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Here’s some example of what Newsfeed Activities I can elect to follow. As you can see it is pretty extensive and would be exceptionally beneficial to any team. It makes tracking what changes in SharePoint quick and easy which can be important as SharePoint grows.

 

So the first major benefit of SharePoint in Office365 is the My Sites functionality. I’ll be detailing more in coming post so you can understand why it is such a major upgrade and one that should seriously be considered by ALL organizations.