For a long time it seemed like the notion of incorporating cloud functionality into the more standardized software applications was a bit of a no-go. You know…one of those seemingly good ideas that just couldn’t be implemented properly, hampered by all sorts of hang-ups be they technical or even security-based. It all gave way eventually, now it is quite common for people to regularly rely on a host of web services for work and play. Seriously, how many times have you hit that bookmark and landed on a file conversion site? Of course you use Youtube and perhaps some social media account like Twitter or Facebook too, maybe online word processors are no stranger to you either, this is all fairly commonplace these days… With the release of Office 365 however, we see the integration of web features and those already on your machine elevated to a new plateau of sorts.
You can think of Office 365 in two main ways, basically. It’s a…
- SAS (also called “Software plus service”) that allows for online storage (OneDrive) and quick connection to locally stored elements hardwired into an existing machine / OS.
- Suite of familiarly-titled applications, each one neatly updated with its own features
Naturally, this pairing of hosted services with traditional office apps quite a unique item indeed, challenging everything else out there in nearly every area. For instance, you’ve got:
- One Note
- Power Point
Of course, alongside that there’s a ton of additional little perks scattered about. Those who tend to really delve into programs, learning its deeper secrets and abilities will find every single app under the Office 365 umbrella to be deeply loaded, in fact. That’s really one of the great things about Microsoft, in fact – (despite all the naysayers who like to claim they can’t build functional software that’s stable for the long-run) they always seem to turn out software with near universal functionalities built-in.
Then there are all the assorted options with regards to plans out there. Regardless of who you are, what you do or what you might need in the way of software, Office 360 provides a uniquely tailored package that’s probably going to be perfect for your needs.
The basic categories are (SOURCE):
- Personal: Includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access for home/non-commercial use on one computer and one Windows 8 tablet, 1 TB of additional OneDrive storage, and 60 minutes of Skype international calls per month. A version of Personal purchased on a discounted four-year plan, known as Office 365 University, is available for those in post-secondary institutions.
- Home (formerly Home Premium): Aimed at mainstream consumers and families; same as Personal, but for use on up to five devices by up to five users.
- Business Essentials (formerly Small Business): Offers access to hosted Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync services only.
- Business: Offers desktop apps for both Mac and PCs for up to five computers per users.
- Business Premium (formerly Small Business Premium): A combination of Business Essentials and Business plans.
- ProPlus: Offers access to the Office 2013 Professional Plus applications for up to 25 users on up to five devices per user.
- Midsize Business: Aimed at businesses with 10-300 employees. Offered access to the Office 2013 applications from ProPlus, plus hosted Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync services. No longer available.
- Enterprise: Intended for use in enterprise environments. Offers access to all Office applications, hosted Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync services, plus enterprise-specific legal compliance features and support.
If there are any real gripes about Office 365 it’s that Microsoft has been just a teeny bit relaxed with regards to their update schedule (we understand though…you’re probably really busy [that was not sarcasm]). What bits we do get of course work quite well and add to what’s already there, which is substantial to say the least. In other words, consider it less of a quip and more of something to add to a wishlist of sorts.
Lastly, when we consider the price factor, which is pretty low, everything falls into place neatly. It’s really cool to have everything integrated this way, especially if you find yourself connected to the internet most of the time or even relying on it in a professional capacity. In short, Office 365 is a must buy.