Making the leap to Office 365

Making the leap to Office 365

June 28 – mark that date in your calendar. That’s when it’s out with the not-so-catchy-named BPOS (Business Productivity Office Suite) and in with Office 365 – Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity suite. The public beta’s been out since April, and Microsoft is offering a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

So what does this mean?

  • It’s a subscription service, and depending on the package, you’ll be forking out between US$6 and US$24 a month.
  • It’s not just an online version of Office 2010, and has oodles more functionality than Google Apps. Sure, you have Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but it’s also bundled with Microsoft Exchange for email, SharePoint for collaborating and sharing, and Lync Online.

Wading into the cloud is a huge step for Microsoft, and there will no doubt be teething problems. (There are plenty of chuckles about whether or not Office 365 will work in a leap year, or if Microsoft will demand a special licence just for 29 February 2012.)

But is Office 365 worth it for creative professionals?

There are benefits aplenty. For professional document designers, formatting remains consistent no matter what device you’re using to view pages – even from a smartphone, on any operating system. And SharePoint means that you can collaborate and make light edits to documents no matter where you are, by setting up a Team Site. Unless, of course, you are internet-less…

Speaking of collaboration, Lync Online makes video conferencing, online meetings and instant messaging a snap! Especially for project teams who have creative professionals working together all over the world, as is often the case in the modern agency environment.

But many reviewers of the beta version are suggesting that you should still keep a full version of Office 2010 Professional installed locally.

What have you heard about Office 365? Are you going to sign up, or wait and see?