December 10th, 2010
We should all know the story by now. While there are plenty of great technology solutions out there that could improve a business's productivity and security, the price tag for these systems has just made them out of reach for the small business. For decades, Microsoft's business model was to sell servers and systems which had significant up-front licensing and hardware fees, forcing small businesses to find cheaper alternative systems which really were not complete, but were acceptable. Most of these alternatives did not utilize some of the best options in email and document sharing and security.
For those who did take the leap into one of these technologies, they are faced with a hardware and licensing upgrade that can be just as expensive as the initial investment. The sticker shock for such upgrades causes small businesses to skip upgrading, and push hardware to beyond its recommended life span, putting their operation at risk. Plus, they don't get the latest features associated with newer versions of the technology.
Now, with Microsoft Office 365, there is finally a total package solution designed for the small to medium sized business that provides all the best that Microsoft has to offer as far as securing and collaborating with email and documents, but without the up-front/upgrade sticker shock. We feel this new offering will have a direct impact on not only a company's technology, but the overall technology budget going forward. Every small business should give a serious look at Office 365 before moving forward with any other technology decision.
Microsoft Office 365 combines the following Microsoft products into a combined hosted, monthly fee, Cloud service:
These products can be ordered individually per user, or bundled together into different package options. Since these run over the Cloud in one of Microsoft's secure data centers, there is no hardware to purchase. One of the best package options is the one that combines Exchange and SharePoint, along with Microsoft Office, for $24 USD / month / user. Without Office, that same offering is $10 USD / month / user.
At this time, Office 365 is in beta, and due to be released early 2011. Office 365 is actually the next generation of Microsoft's current hosted cloud offering called Business Productivity Office Suite, or BPOS which has been operating for over a year now. The current BPOS offering is very similar to Office 365, minus the Microsoft Office licensing, and has the same bundled price tag ($10 USD / month / user ).
Microsoft has already defined a smooth migration path from BPOS to Office 365. Therefore, if your business is ready to get started with Microsoft's Cloud systems today, go ahead and migrate to the Microsoft BPOS package, and switch to Office 365 as soon as it becomes available.
$10 / month
(Includes 25 GB mail storage)
Calc Estimated Cost
A lot of business owners have a hard time understanding what technology does for them. But, everybody knows how much it can cost. Let's take a look at what the option was for small business up until this offering:
THE OLD PRICEY WAY: Sample Configuration with Microsoft Small Business Server:
The previous option for providing some of these systems was to install a Microsoft Small Business Server. SBS Server combined Exchange, SharePoint, and some other decent tools (fax server, etc.) into a single system that would be installed in most cases onto the business office premises. That server would need to be backed up nightly, and anti-spam and antivirus filtering software would also need to be added to protect the server. For individual users, Microsoft Office would need to be purchased for each user. Ok, so let's go thru those costs for say a 10 person company:
THE NEW AFFORDABLE WAY: Same configuration with Office 365:
Same systems, but Exchange, SharePoint, backup, and Microsoft Office are all provided thru Microsoft Office 365, hosted on the Cloud, so no server to maintain onsite. Only up-front costs required would be the labor to migrate to Office 365.
BPOS Now, and upgrade to Office 365 first quarter of 2011: Make the switch right now! Sign up for Microsoft BPOS today for $10 USD /month / user USD. We recommend you make the switch today to get all the benefits of Exchange and SharePoint right away. Once Office 365 is released, Microsoft will handle the transition for you from BPOS to Office 365.
What about purchasing Microsoft Office? If you haven't upgraded to Microsoft Office 2010 yet, then go ahead and upgrade to Microsoft BPOS, and wait to upgrade to Office 2010 until Office 365 is released early in 2011. No need to pay that high price tag on Office if you can get it included with your Office 365 agreement.
This is a big deal. These systems will have an impact on how your business operates, and will definitely improve productivity. Plus, there is very little to lose without the up-front costs. Give it a whirl!
If you are interested in trying out Microsoft BPOS for 30 days, Click here to activate your 30 day trial. Once you are ready to convert to Microsoft BPOS / Office 365, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll send out an official quote with updated quantities for your corporation.