Browsing Posts tagged Office 365

What is Office 365?

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Office 365 is a subscription based service to the Office programs you know and love. It’s kept up to date automatically, so there’s no software for you to purchase and install. Your subscription gives you access from up to 5 devices, so you can work from your computer, tablet, smartphone, whatever you need.

 

Office applications
There are a couple different ways to use the Office products with Office 365. You have Office Web Apps, which are basically web based versions of the familiar Office products, as well as the full versions. Office Web Apps have a lot of the same functionality, although not all. And of course you will still have the full versions of the Office products available to install on your computer.

 

Email
Office 365 keeps all your emails in sync across all your devices. It’s also easy to share calendars and view scheduling information for people within your organizations.

 

Instant Messaging
Office 365 comes with Skype for Business (Or Skype depending on the subscription you choose). You’ll have individual and group Instant Messaging capabilities, availability indicators, and calling information. Check out our webinar on Skype for Business for more information on these capabilities.

 

Video Conferencing
Skype for Business also offers individual or group video conferencing. It’s fully integrated with Outlook, so creating meetings with links to Skype calls can be done right from your Outlook client. And Skype for Business isn’t limited to people within your organization, you can also communicate with people outside your organization.

 

Collaboration
Share files and collaborate in real time from any device. Working on a presentation or document with a team? With Office 365 you can edit and track other edits easily in one shared file. Version control is easy because everything is in real time.

 

So which subscription do you need? That depends on if you need email, Office, or both. Below is a more detailed table of the subscriptions:

 

 

 

 

Interested in Office 365? Join us for August Office webinar where we’ll demonstrate some of the basic functionalities and discuss the various subscriptions available.

 

Bob here.  I’ve had several discussions with companies about how Microsoft is looking to use Lync, along with Skype, to muscle into the telephony world, actually replacing old phone systems (ie, PBX’s and the like).

This is a good (somewhat techie) article discussing that very process.  However, most of the discussion is centered on the on site Lync implementations.  I think we’re going to see additional movement in late 2015-2016 timeframe where smaller organizations (

This article excerpt, by Kevin Kieller, originally appeared here: http://ubm.io/1AZQH5S


Microsoft Lync has had a good year in 2014, with a reported 5 million Lync voice seats now deployed and an ecosystem expanding around the tool. This isn’t to say there aren’t challenges ahead, though, especially as Microsoft moves ahead on its Skype for Business rebranding initiative. Let’s take a closer look at this year’s highlights and next year’s intentions.

As noted, Microsoft has reported deployment of some 5 million Lync voice seats in 2014. Other voice-related Lync highlights include:

  • Lync ranks third among IP PBX vendors in North America in organizations with more than 100 extensions, as noted by Peter Hale, an enterprise consultant with UK-based telecom and IT analyst firm MZA, at Enterprise Connect 2014 in March.
  • In October, for the first time ever, Gartner placed Microsoft in the Leaders section of the Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony.
  • As part of its report, Gartner rated Microsoft as the seventh-largest global corporate telephony vendor with significant annual growth––of 106%––in 2013.

Along with these rating and deployment successes, the Lync software, hardware and services ecosystem continued to grow:

  • An increasing number of IP phone set device vendors, including Polycom, Aastra, HP, snom, AudioCodes, Logitech and Spectralink, now support Lync.
  • A growing variety of USB audio and video devices support Lync: 34 wired headsets, 34 wireless headsets, 14 webcams and 11 USB speakerphones.
  • 55 SIP trunking service providers are qualified to connect with Lync 2013 (and 57 qualified with Lync 2010).
  • The number of Lync-compatible choices for gateways, survivable branch appliances and session border controllers is growing.
  • Lync Room Systems are now available from Crestron, Polycom and Smart.
  • Microsoft now has 81 certified Lync support partners, including 16 global support partners.
  • Lync functionality is expanding via a growing catalog of add-in applications for contact center, reporting, attendant console, recording, knowledge reinforcement and more (see the Office TechCenter for the most up-to-date list of qualified Lync infrastructure components).

And yet with all of the success in 2014, many enterprise communications managers still aren’t convinced that Lync alone can act as a PBX replacement. Consider these results from an attendee quick poll taken during my keynote for the recent Enterprise Connect/No Jitter virtual event, “Microsoft Lync: What Is the Impact for Your Enterprise?” (available on demand). When asked, “What do you think about Lync as a PBX replacement?,” respondents said:

  • Lync can be a PBX replacement: 38%
  • I would combine Lync and a traditional PBX: 40%
  • I would never trust Lync as my PBX: 7%
  • I am using Lync as my PBX: 15%

In 2014 the challenges associated with implementing Lync successfully remain much the same as over the past several years. These are:

  • Convincing naysayers that Lync absolutely can serve as a PBX replacement.
  • Realizing that implementing quality of service/class of service to prioritize real-time traffic on the network is a must.
  • Assembling a team with network, telecom, application and change management skills.
  • Recognizing that after you build your Lync environment you need the tools and skills to manage it (ongoing support often requires very different skills than design and implementation).
  • Committing to monitoring and driving quality, usage and adoption.

Looking Ahead


On Nov. 11, Microsoft announced that the next version of Lync will be called Skype for Business and is expected for release during the first half of 2015.

While much of the focus has been on the new name for Lync, the transition to Skype for Business is much more than a simple rebranding.

The next version of Lync brings together the development teams and technologies associated with Lync and Skype and in doing so provides unique business-to-consumer opportunities as Lync plugs into the massive scale that Skype has achieved: more than 60 million concurrent users, more than 550 million registered users, and 2 billion minutes of communications per day.

Specifically, Skype for Business will let corporate users directly connect to external parties using their Skype ID … no more complex and confusing process whereby Skype users need to sign in with a Microsoft ID in order to connect. Already we are seeing improved video interoperability between Lync for Windows desktop and Skype.

Skype for Business will provide an improved and streamlined user interface. Blind and consultative transfers will take fewer clicks, a small item but one that has been a top user requested feature. Interestingly, the new Skype for Business client will include both the classic Lync interface and the new Skype UI. IT shops will be able to flip the UI for specific user groups through a central policy. This is one of the ways that Microsoft is trying to help smooth the transition to Skype for Business. The promised in-place server upgrades is a second feature designed to accelerate adoption.

Moving Forward


Looking to another poll from the Dec. 10 Lync virtual event, we see that organizations are at many different points in their UC journeys:

  • We are piloting/deploying UC from our incumbent PBX vendor: 22%
  • We are trying to decide which vendor’s UC platform to select: 15%
  • We have not begun piloting/deploying, and don’t expect to in 2015: 10%
  • We have not begun piloting/deploying, but plan to in 2015: 16%
  • We are piloting/deploying UC from a vendor other than our incumbent PBX vendor: 37%

I suspect that most of the 37% who responded that they are piloting a solution not from their incumbent PBX vendor may be piloting Lync. If you are in the process of piloting or upgrading to Lync 2013, then I would recommend that you move ahead. Being on the Lync 2013 platform will make transitioning to Skype for Business easier when you decide to do this.

Lync continued its upward trajectory in 2014 and so far 2015 is looking good for the Skype for Business nee Lync team.

Microsoft has announced it is launching a new home page experience in Office 365. Initially, it will be rolling out to current Exchange or SharePoint customers. You access the new home page from the web experience of Office 365, which you get to by signing into the Office 365 portal. Once you’re there, you just click the Office 365 logo at the top-left of the page. New customers will automatically land on the home page when they first sign into Office 365. It looks like this:

New Office 365 Home Page

The New Office 365 Home Page

In the future, new services will be introduced via the home page, so you should know how to access it.

To accommodate a variety of start preferences, you can determine your own default landing page when you sign in to Office 365 via portal.office.com. They’ve made it super easy!

For the full story of the new Home Page, click here.

Ok, on first glance this looks like it’s no big deal, right? I can hear you saying “I can already take pictures with my Smart Phone.” Yes, but…

Office Lens doesn’t just take a picture. This new update gives you the ability to convert your pictures directly into Word documents and PowerPoint presentations – that are EDITABLE!

For Word, Office Lens recognizes the text and the document layout. All the text, formatting and layout in the Word document is preserved. Images of typed text become fully editable—just like you authored it at your desk.

For PowerPoint, all the handwritten lines and strokes are transformed into PowerPoint drawing objects that can be recolored, resized, repositioned and edited. That great infographic or sketch from one presentation can now be reused in other presentations.

This is truly impressive. But don’t just take my word for it. Watch this short video and watch the magic happen firsthand!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvvPxwyu3tE&feature=player_embedded

Very cool!

Despite the explosive growth of cloud services in recent years there remain those individuals and companies with deep skepticism around the safety and security of their data when it doesn’t’ reside in their own physical data center. With all the headlines about security breaches at Target, Home Depot and, yes, even the NSA, that mistrust is understandable. And when we talk to clients about cloud services like Microsoft’s Office 365, this is a prime concern that is frequently raised.

Trust is defined by Merriam-Webster as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something” and interestingly it ranks as the 77th most searched term on their website (at least it did today when I looked it up!). So it’s no surprise that companies like Microsoft have a significant challenge when it comes to earning and keeping their clients’ trust. But a recent Office Blog goes a long way in showing the steps they take to accomplish exactly that goal.

To view the entire article go to What Does It Mean To Own Your Data In Office 365? How We Aim To Raise The Bar On Visibility And Control Of Your Organization Data With Office 365.

Alternately, you can simply view the five short embedded videos in the article that will explain:

How Microsoft protects your data at rest
Who has access to your data within Office 365
How Office 365 does continuous compliance
Why trust Office 365? and
What does it mean to own your data in Office 365?

Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world. That fact remains. Stuff happens. But I think you’ll agree after viewing these clips that Microsoft has done its homework. And they continue to work hard to earn your trust. If you haven’t already, maybe it’s time to reconsider how Office 365 can benefit your organization.

As evidence that more and more government entities are turning to Microsoft Office 365 cloud services in order to serve their constituents better and at a lower cost, the County of Los Angeles has recently announced they are rolling out this technology across their public safety, operation, and health and human services. “In all, over 30 departments will make the move,” it’s reported.

For this to happen in the most populous county in the United States, we believe this is making a big statement. Key in their decision, according to Dr. Robert Pittman, Chief Information Security Officer for the County of L.A. was the security and built-in compliance for both HIPAA and CJIS (The Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) provides state, local, and federal law enforcement and criminal justice agencies with access to critical, personal information such as fingerprint records, criminal histories, and sex offender registrations.)

If your agency is thinking about how to move their communications and collaboration forward, you can read all about it here: http://blogs.office.com/2014/06/18/passion-for-service-l-a-county-chooses-office-365/

Office 365Office 365 is well known as Microsoft’s offering for cloud-based email, but there’s a lot more under the hood than you may realize. Join Simplex-IT for our free June Lunchinar and we’ll show you how organizations just like yours are using Office 365 for enhanced collaboration, video conferencing, mobile file access and so much more! Plus we’ll review some of the latest Microsoft offerings for mobile devices, including iPads, iPhones and Android devices.

Note: this will be a BUSINESS discussion and not a technical deep dive, a real world overview about how businesses are increasing productivity and security without a huge up-front investment!

This is an important discussion you won’t want to miss!

When: Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 11:30am-1:00pm
Where: Stow Hampton Inn, 4331 Lakepointe Corporate Dr. (off Rt. 8 at Steels Corners Road)

As an extra bonus, we will be awarding a door prize of a Microsoft Xbox gaming system. Free food AND a free Xbox. How awesome is that!

We remind you, though, seating is limited. To reserve yours, go to http://bit.ly/1tWyTnE, email John@Simplex-IT.com or call 234.380.1277. Come join the fun!

Microsoft has announced the general availability of their new and improved Office 365 Message Encryption services. Originally introduced in November 2013, this allows users of Exchange Online to send encrypted mail to anyone! To begin using the message encryption service, you simply purchase a subscription for Windows Azure Rights Management, which also includes Information Rights Management capabilities. This will give you a comprehensive solution to help protect your internal end external communications.

Already included in the Office 365 E3 and E4 plans, other subscribers can purchase Windows Azure Rights Management for just $2/user/month. See http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/o365-message-encryption-FX104179182.aspx for all the details.

To see a short video to see how easy it is to send email with enhanced security, and learn how your organization can start using Office 365 Message Encryption today!

 

Whoever said you don’t get something for nothing is clearly not a subscriber to Microsoft’s Office 365 services. Because the company has recently announced they are increasing the size of user mailboxes in all Exchange Online and Office 365 service plans from 25 to 50 GB. At ZERO increase in monthly service fees!

Additionally, Microsoft has announced they are increasing personal SkyDrive Pro storage for both new and existing customers from 7 GB to 25 GB! That’s an increase of 3.5 times at absolutely no increase in monthly fees! That’s incredible!!

If you still require more SkyDrive Pro storage you can buy extra – now up to 100 GB – at $.20/GB/month.

Other improvements of note include the ability to upload files to SkyDrive Pro of up to 2 GB in size. Also, versioning of files is being turned on by default, allowing saving of the last 10 versions of your files.

And there’s a new feature – the Shared with Me view – that allows you to see all the files and folders that other users have shared with you from their SkyDrive Pro libraries, making it super easy to find what you’re looking for.

Of course, there are all the little details in these new offerings that you will want to be aware of. To drill down on them, click here for more details on Exchange Mailbox increases. And click here for more info on the increases and improvements in SkyDrive Pro.

Microsoft keeps making their Office 365 cloud services more and more powerful. If you haven’t looked into how they can benefit YOUR organization, you should contact Simplex-IT. We’d be happy to have that conversation with you!

Real-time co-authoring is a new feature Microsoft is adding to their Word, Excel and PowerPoint Web Apps, which are all available when you sign up for their free SkyDrive cloud storage account. Office Web Apps are also part of the highly popular Office 365 cloud services that many companies are taking advantage of. Other features are also being added, making the Office Web Apps a great free alternative to the standard Office Suite client applications.

New real-time presence in the Web Apps allows you to see where your colleagues, friends and family co-authors are working in the document so you don’t create conflicts as you edit. Also aiding the creative process is the new ability to see changes to text and formatting in real time, helping everyone in the group stay on the same page as your ideas develop and evolve.

For a more detailed look at the additions, click here to see what’s new in the Word Web App.

Click here to see what’s new in the Excel Web App.

In the PowerPoint Web App, new picture cropping functionality gives you more control of the visuals in your presentations. And you can now change the name of your files within the editing window of PowerPoint Web App, as well as Word and Excel.

For more info on how the Office Web Apps and Office 365 can benefit your organization, give Simplex-IT a call at 234.380.1277.