Microsoft launched Office 365 yesterday which competes with Google's enterprise cloud service – Google Apps. Luckily, I've had the advantage of using an scaled back (functionality wise) version of Office 365 called Office Live Small Business so I was really excited to see Office 365 finally launch. Did I mention I use Google Apps as well? Although I like Google Apps for what it offers (mainly because it's FREE) I'm more inclined to use and recommend Microsoft 365 to small business owners for several reasons:
1. Office in the Cloud – Synchronization with Office 2010 client and Office Web Apps. This is essential for being able to easily backup your documents to the cloud. This includes the entire Office suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, & Access) in the cloud which even users without the Office client installed on their PC can use the online version to create and edit documents.
2. Collaboration tools- In today's business world, collaboration is a must-have. With Office 365, your getting a web conference tool (Lync) like GotoMeeting, and Intranet (SharePoint) portal to share documents, company calendar, announcements, and more.
3. A public facing website – As part of your subscription, you'll get your very own content management system (CMS) to host your company's public facing website .
Office 365 offers an entire suite of tools that rivals what is currently offered by Google's Enterprise cloud based service – Google Apps. Office 365 for small businesses under 25 employees costs $6 per user, per month. Larger businesses can choose from four enterprise plans, from $10 per user to $27 per user per month for more options and advanced tools.