Recently Microsoft announced an upgrade to BPOS. It is being revamped and renamed to Office 365. If you haven’t seen the announcement then it is worthwhile taking a look.

I think that this a major step forward for the product. I continually hear resellers criticize BPOS, pointing to all its failing and I have no argument with the fact that it is far from perfect. Most of these people are comparing to mature on-site technologies like Small Business Server (SBS). They are overlooking the fact that the online offerings from Microsoft are still version 1 (maybe even still beta realistically). To be truly fair you should be comparing to SBS 4.0 rather than SBS 2008.

The other thing that I find most interesting about these people’s attitudes is how they don’t realize how short sighted they are being. They continue to pick apart Microsoft online offerings, pointing to how it doesn’t do this, how it doesn’t do that and how the products they use are so much better.

Let’s come at this from another angle. Let me ask you this question – who wouldn’t want to be able to offer more product options to their customers? Who wouldn’t want to be able to offer more product options to prospects? Hmmmm…I think most ‘business’ people would certainly welcome more product options in their suite.

Let’s assume that you do a great job for your clients and their technology. Let’s assume that all your peers also do stellar work for their clients. Great. Does that cover every potential business using technology out there? Hardly. It probably represents some minute fraction of the potential market. What happens when a new prospect, who already has a cloud solution, comes to you seeking your services? Are you going to turn them away because you don’t do ‘cloud’? Are you going to tell them they have to dump the ‘cloud’ and go back to implementing infrastructure on premises?

I certainly hope you are. Why? Because it means more market share for me. I run a business and if you can’t services these clients then I am happy to do so no matter where they are. Yes, you read right – no matter where they are. I can achieve this with ‘cloud’ services can I not?

I’ll have plenty to say about Office365 in upcoming posts but I’m on board because I know it is only going to improve. The jump from BPOS to Office365 proves that, imagine what the next improvement will be? I can hardly wait to get my teeth into Office 365 and start offering it to clients AND prospects. Office365 is simply another ‘product’ that you can make money around. If you are not prepared to do so someone else certainly will (but if you send them my way I’ll pay you a finders fee at least).

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