Microsoft’s (News - Alert) new Office productivity suite, Office 2013, which includes SharePoint 2013, has now entered the manufacturing stage. In mid-November, the Office suite became available to volume licensing customers who had enrolled in Microsoft's Software Assurance program. The software will soon become available on the volume licensing price list (available on December 1); it will require users to sign a new Microsoft Online Services agreement. For general availability, Office 2013 is set to be released to distributors some time in the first quarter of next year.
Those who are currently Office users and have or will be adopting cloud computing solutions and services to meet their business needs may find Office 365 much easier to communicate, create, and share documents.
The benefit of cloud-based collaboration is the convenience and ease of having a central place - a common identity infrastructure - to share documents and information with colleagues and customers whenever and wherever they need all while maximizing IT efficiency.
SharePoint Online, which is part of the Office 365 suite, offers SharePoint users who desire information-sharing and collaboration capabilities the benefits of subscription-based or hosted services.
With the revamp of SharePoint and Office, consumers can expect to see Microsoft continue to focus its attention on cloud-based computing. At this time, in fact, it emphasized its cloud-first attitude with SharePoint 2013. It also brought forth a new cloud-based enterprise social networking experience.
At present, customers have the ability to run SharePoint in the cloud and make use of SkyDrive Pro, which is Microsoft's new cloud storage feature that is able to synchronize content between SharePoint sites.
After the technology giant showcased its new SharePoint solutions, SharePoint 2013 and the SharePoint online upgrades to Office 365, the question was prompted whether SMBs are really willing to phase out their premises-based software in favor of a service-based and cloud-first based model.
Microsoft seems to believe SMBs will react positively and continues to make the cloud a priority these days with its SharePoint 2013's "Cloud-First" model. In fact, the software giant does recommend SMBs move to the cloud to have the best experience overall. Not only will users get more use of SharePoint Online, but they will receive more from Office 365, which is the only Web-based service fully compatible with MS Office. Directly from a Web browser, Office 365 will allow anytime, anywhere access to Office Web Apps.
It appears the company is in favor of shifting everyday work to a service-based model and that it may phase out some of its premises-based software. The cloud, as Microsoft stresses, is more cost-effective for businesses as they do not need to run their own servers; it also ensures remote hosting apps and services which have enhanced work productivity extensively.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein