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  1. #1
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    Office 365: Office in the Cloud still promising?




    TOP STORY

    Office 365: Office in the Cloud still promising?


    By Katherine Murray

    In a hardworking, digitized world, it's hard to imagine tools more sought after than those that show up reliably on any portable device and work well or at least as well as advertised.
    Whether Microsoft's Cloud-based Office 365 is that tool in fact or even in potential is still an open question.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/top-story/office-365-office-in-the-cloud-still-promising/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Office and/or apps that are necessary for business are a long way off for anyone who travels or lives outside of the US or some other well connected country. Here in Bolivia the internet service is slow (2 hours to update a 70 MB website). A couple of months ago lightning struck a repeating tower of the ISP. No internet for 4 weeks til they got new equipment. Last week I traveled to Argentina. Only had internet in the lobby of the hotel, and it was painfully slow. There is no phone or internet in many of the places I travel, but I have to keep my business running.

    I had an employee using cloud based software to develop an app. They pulled the software off line and he had to start over with something else.

    A long way off.......

  3. #3
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    One of my former bosses taught me a couple of useful rules which it seems still apply:
    "Never be first; never be biggest", and
    "Never rely on version 1 of any Microsoft product, and preferably not version 2"

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    I concur completely

    I signed up with the original Windows Live in 2006 in order to build a website using the Windows Live service. I found all of the issues you mention in the article. I was able to build my website, but not without considerable frustration, and mountains of problems getting it to work properly. And they messed up the simplest things. One would think that a company as large and presumably as competent should have at least the simpler "ducks in a row" as the saying goes. But I found over and over again that that was not the case. And the kind of support you refer to was just not there. It took them some years before all the kinks were ironed out. And now, those of us with websites are now faced with either rebuilding our sites all over again and having to buy Outlook for website email because I have never used Outlook for email, or, transferring everything to another web host. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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    Katherine, You are spot on with your review of Office 365. I had a friend with a small business and he tried it and found it lacking as you did. He finally went to another "cloud" service provider and was thrilled with the ability to install other programs on his Remote Desktop.

    Great article.

    rich

  6. #6
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    Wink Nice

    A very nice article. However Some questions are still unanswered for me even after spending time to look at it
    working in an enterprice context :
    - What is the difference in functionality between Office 365 - SP Web Apps - Fat MS Office 2010 ?
    - Integration aspects ( costs ) around implementing Office 365 ...
    - Support differences ?

  7. #7
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    Microsoft is good at making promises, ignoring them . . . and breaking them

    I'm a web developer with 30 Office Live website clients. Trying to remake their sites before they all vanish on April 30th. I don't trust MS and am trying to talk most of these clients into using a different hosting service. I'm using O365 only for folks who are maintaining their own sites and don't want to learn their way around a different template.

    The most frustrating thing for me is that ungodly process of pointing domain name servers to O365. I'm spending hours doing what takes about 10 minutes with any other host.

  8. #8
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    The biggest issue with cloud computing is...

    In my book, anyway, the biggest issue is security.

    Quite honestly, I don't know how anybody can even consider storing anything with value anyplace but on your own computer. You do understand that the people who own the piece of the cloud you are using can also manipulate your data to their own advantage, don't you? Don't you? And you want to build and operate a business essentially with other people's fingers on your keyboard?

    Brrrr. Just the thought would--and does--make me nervous...


  9. #9
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    I have a question that I sincerely hope anyone interested enough in the article to visit here can answer:

    Given that the trend is towards continually increasing capacity at decreasing cost for storage, processing speed, and (arguably) network speed; and given the fact that there are open source alternatives that allow all of the most common functions of Office to be done at low cost, and the same argument applies to in-house servers;

    Then, for any but the largest 'enterprise' customers, why would anyone pay to run their applications off some central server and store all their information on someone's central server? In other words, wasn't the biggest advantage to the PC that it freed people from mainframes? Other than applications where such an arrangement provides a clear advantage, why would someone like myself even consider paying a monthly fee to run software or store information? It doesn't get me away from needing the PC, I still need an OS with all the headaches that implies, I'm still going to need backup, security, and so on. I just don't get it. What does 'cloud' computing bring me that I can't already beat by myself?

    When I read all this hype about how the future is 'cloud computing', I shake my head. I think maybe that's not in my future unless some disruptive technology is invented that gives a compelling reason to even consider it, considering all the possible drawbacks and pratfalls. Unless 'collaborating in real-time' means more than one person can edit the same file at the same time (and how badly do we need that?), a secure ftp server and perhaps an in-house forum software server (like this forum) can serve most needs, can't it?

  10. #10
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    Contrary to most of the coments here I have found Office 365 to be a useful tool for my team, although I would much rather use Skydrive than Sharepoint.

    One of my businesses has its domain pointing at Windows Live Mail, and which works very well, and the other business uses Office 365, and so I can compare the two well. Having access to my email from various devices is the main reason for using cloud email. It works very well, and much better than grappling with massive .pst files, getting them corrupt, rebuilding, archiving, duplicating, etc....what a nightmare that was! WLM and Office 365 are relatively painless.

    By the way, I migrated one of these business accounts from google apps, because it is still in my experience a poor product in several key areas, and I have used it since 2008.

  11. #11
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    Nice article. My business partners and I appreciate the ability to collaborate in native formats. We formerly used Google Docs and found it a bit frustrating in that regard, as well as in performance.

    Now how about some useful tips on using Office 365? Like how to temporarily share a particular document folder with someone other than your Office 365 users. Or advantages and disadvantages of moving your small business web site to Office 365. Or pros and cons of Lync - is it worth diving into? Since Microsoft support is so lacking, maybe this would be a great place to offer some guidance for those of us finding this service to be a good fit, and knowing that we are not getting as much out of it as we could. Or if nothing else, at least some info on the best places to find this kind of information. That would be great.

  12. #12
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    I couldn't agree more with this article. I've tried to find out answers for migrating a client from a SBS2003 server infrastructure to Office 365 but have found very little with regards to standard procedures or step-by-step instructions that can help with this. Most instructions are more marketing or full of techno-babble. Even though I can do the steps prescribed because of my IT background, you would think that MS would have better, far simpler instructions for this type of migration since each platform is "supposed" to be for those small business owners that may not have IT staff and need simple IT requirements to run their business.
    Just doing a cost comparison for a small business needing in-house storage (due to the large CAD files used and transmitted) shows that it's actually cheaper to just do a replacement of the small business server to SBS2010 even though the business has only 3 users!
    Why MS makes things so complicated is baffling. It's like they just put out products without any real-world trials using real world users to have to support their IT products. Seems their testing is only for the front-end interface without thought to how the users will get that front-end implemented, deployed, or supported. Very disappointing...

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