I wrote about Office 365 and OneDrive and touched upon Exchange not only to host your mail, a major benefit in its own right but you can use Exchange solely to sync all your iDevices and your Mac should you like. There’s a significant benefit to this. Exchange is a mature system and there’s no reason not to avail yourself of the integration advantages this brings.
Exchange for Sync
Exchange services come with Office 365 as your business system at any level. Exchange is simply a Microsoft service for email hosting and sync. For the purposes of this article we will solely discuss sync.
In the discussion of Exchange we will move from the premise that this is a fully field tested, reliable and extremely robust system. There are approximately 500 million Exchange mailboxes out there.
Fortunately, Apple built exchange support into all it’s clients. iCloud is a perfectly fine and capable system and it grabbed the mindset of those that realized the benefits of just such a system.
Microsoft, although a bit slow off the mark, has the skill set, capability and services to bring enterprise class services via the cloud to our computing environments of any level in the form of Office 365. 365 functionality cannot really be replicated to the Enterprise level via iCloud but Enterprise class functionality can be replicated to the small business of just one person via 365. It is simply logical to take advantage of this.
Everything in Sync
The first order of business as a small business is to have your business domain represented in your email. As I’ve outlined in past articles, Microsoft is an excellent place to have your email domain hosted by them. Office 365 is a new but wonderful service to host your business domain. Again, as I mentioned in the early days support was a bit chaotic. However, this is far from the case now.
With your mail system in tact, it’s now time to ensure all your devices are in sync. Fortunately, Apple has made this an easy task. However, I’m suggesting since you have the system you should do all your sync via Exchange. This might initially seem a touch daunting but it isn’t. In the end, you will have an Enterprise class system for whatever level of system you use and Microsoft will help you along the way to achieve your goals.
Office 365 Productivity Continues
Office 365 is likely to fully show itself as one of the unique productivity environments of our times. Initially clouded in confusion, the smoke is lifting. This is a powerful yet economic service from the single man small business to that of an Enterprise. It is a flexible, reasonably priced service that delivers enterprise class capabilities for any size business.
Exchange sync is simply another component in this productivity system. There simply is little reason not to take advantage of it. You’re paying for it, it works and works well and is fully supported by Apple’s architecture.
I’ll feel much more comfortable when Microsoft fully supports and embraces the Mac and small Mac businesses, of which there are many, as an equal in the club. Certain current frustrations should fully be resolved.
Until then, there is nothing to stop the Mac user from taking advantage of the productivity gains that can be achieved through Office 365 Small Business. As an example, there is nothing to say that a full productivity workflow based on GTD, using such things as OmniFocus and DEVONthink, can’t function synergistically with 365.