All the Office Confusion over 365!

With the implementation of Office 365 in the office, we are now more connected than ever, right? Wrong. While Office 365 is being deployed, no one is really clear as to what are the benefits it brings. When I talk to different people in the office, I realised everyone has a different understanding of Office 365, even the IT folks. For the non-IT folks, they are even more confused.

Now, all that confusion comes after the training sessions done by Microsoft and our in house IT folks and a Microsoft led “office” road show. None of them clearly explains what is Office 365. Everyone focus on some cool new features that are part of Office 2013, Yammer, OneDrive. It does not help that some folks in the office are still on notebooks running on XP which does not support Office 2013. For these folks, they think that since Office 2013 cannot be installed, they do not have Office 365.

From my perspective, Office 365 is Microsoft’s attempt to create a ecosystem for its products just as Apple has done with iTunes and the AppStore. Using its strongest product in its stable, Microsoft is building its own ecosystem around Microsoft Office and called it Office 365. Office 365 is based on a subscription model which ensures revenues are locked in year after year. With it is the promise that you can always update to the latest version of Office. The current version is Office 2013. I think on one of my notebooks at home, I am still running on Office 2003. I guess, I did not have the incentive to pay to upgrade to more updated versions.

Sidenote – Adobe has done the same by trying to move its users to their subscription based Adobe Creative Cloud.

Office 365 Confusion #1 – So Office 2013 is the latest version of Microsoft Office, not to be confused with Office 365 annual subscription that allows you to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Office on up to five computers.

To make its Office 365 more attractive, Microsoft throws in Sharepoint (company collaboration site), OneNote, Yammer (company Facebook), Lync (company MSN messenger/Skype) and OneDrive (cloud storage). As you become more entrenched in the ecosystem, you will find the cost of switching becoming higher and higher. It keeps you loyal, keeps you paying the annual subscription and keeps the competition out.

Office 365 Confusion #2 – Technically, Office 365 runs on all platforms, but features may be limited. I have colleagues who tells others that they do not have Office 365, because Office 365 is not supported by Windows XP. Well, Office 365 does run on XP, but Office 2013 does not. You can simply login in via http://login.microsoftonline.com, you just don’t have the full functions.

Office 365 works as long as you have an internet browser. There are now also dedicated apps for iPads – OWA, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, OneDrive for Business. Android too, but its a platform I don’t used. It does NOT support Blackberry.

So what is Office 365? Here is Microsoft’s video:

Personally, I like Office 365. It gives me the freedom to work from where ever I am am on whatever the device. I may not use all its features, but I am happy to know that they are available if I need them. The Office 365 I have is based on the office subscription, which means I will lose all access when I leave the company. So does it make sense for to have a personal subscription?  I am not sure yet.

Maybe I should just continue to use the Office 2003 at home. My personal files are stored with Dropbox. I don’t use Outlook as my emails are stored in Gmail and AOL. The native iPhone and iPad mail app consolidates the accounts for me. Even in the office I don’t use Yammer as my friends are on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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