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Office 365 Continues to Peak Businesses' Interests

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June 18, 2012

Office 365 Continues to Peak Businesses' Interests

By Monica Gleberman, Contributing Writer

Companies have begun to work with Microsoft (News - Alert) to deploy Office 365, which allows users to collaborate in a virtual environment, share desktop screen views, host virtual meetings, create online chat rooms, and help streamline communications overall.

Microsoft said the new communications solution could help companies get their work done securely and in real-time by using world-class familiar tools including a complete Microsoft Office Suite, along with all of the virtual features of Office 365. The company also guarantees 99.9 percent uptime for Office 365 servers to make sure that companies will always have access to their work. Microsoft has also implemented a virus and spam scanner called, ForeFront Online Protection, which will continually scan companies online data helping to keep the information secure.

An important feature of Office 365 is its unified messaging system (UM), which provides a full answering/phone service as part of Exchange Online. It’s like Exchange 2010 UM, except it’s cloud-based – allowing for companies to have a voice mail, answering rules, Outlook voice access, speech to text, call recording, and more all maintained in one place.

Jason Parker, a writer for CNET, said after reviewing the online platform he thinks that is is a good beginning for Office 365. “Overall we think Office 365 is off to a good start, offering basic office suite tools most workers can pick up and use right away because of the familiar feel of Office products. Though the tools are not as advanced as those found in the desktop versions, we think businesses will appreciate the collaboration tools and the way the team site ties all of your projects together.”

Looks like WellPoint Inc., a healthcare company, took Parker’s advice, as the organization recently revealed that it finally completed its migration to Microsoft’s cloud. It took almost a year to completely move to the internal productivity platform along with 65,000 employee mail boxes.

“We are leveraging the cloud and Office 365 to achieve new levels of collaboration internally,” said Andrew J. Lang, senior vice president and chief information officer, WellPoint Inc. “Our next step is to enhance our collaborative communication capabilities to our affiliated health plan members and our healthcare plan provider partners by enabling solutions that help in improving the coordination of care.”

Dennis Schmuland, chief health strategy officer, U.S. Health and Life Sciences, Microsoft, said that in this economy health plans must focus their resources on the customers’ experiences. “For WellPoint and other health benefit organizations, an always up-to-date cloud service such as Office 365, offers the agility to respond quickly to change and opportunities, and by substantially reducing IT operating costs, it frees resources for more strategic uses.”

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