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Your Mac, Office 365 and Cloud Computing

by Kerry Dawson

Microsoft was on the slow side to embrace cloud computing and computing done by cloud based applications. Apple has been historically fast embracing the cloud and it’s capabilities beginning with .mac through to me.com to iCloud. Apple’s target market however was the home user.

Although Apple has pushed the market with cloud computing services, the market generally wasn’t fully ready. Yet some users have been more than keen embracing cloud computing and cloud based services from the Get Go.

The Market is more than Ready for Cloud Computing

We’re at a very different place now. The market or to put it differently, the consumer is not only ready for cloud computing they’re embracing it with open arms and are anxiously anticipating some of the sophisticated apps that are expected.

In this article I’ll be addressing more the move of business to embrace cloud computing. The consumer market seems well under way with photo services, document and text services and the delivery of media such as music services like iTunes and Spotify and what is expected to be a very successful device the AppleTV.

Office 365 Embodies Cloud Computing

Although Microsoft was slow to embrace cloud computing they have come on strong with Office 365 Small Business Premium and up. Although 365 can give you unlimited access and updates to Office software, which rests at the soul of Microsoft, what is fascinating is that they are fully enabled to work with OneDrive and save and open documents from there.

Further, should you only want a license to Office Online the apps are available as online apps solely, saving money. These apps allow only cloud computing. The regular Office apps work on your computer but store and retrieve documents from the cloud.

The Virtual Office Arrives

Via cloud computing, since everything is stored in the cloud, the virtual office can now be realized and is being realized. As mentioned, Office 365 is a cloud enabled system and as such, people can work on documents from anywhere. The office no longer has to reside at a physical premise. Any employee can be anywhere and share documents and collaborate on work remotely using cloud enabled systems. The freedom this can bring is amazing. You, as the employer, can go anywhere in the world for an employee. The employee does not need to pack up from we s/he lives but can remain right there as an active and able bodied employee of the company. Under this scenario both the employer and the employee are freer.

Office 365 is an Enterprise Class System

It is important to remember that Office 365 is an Enterprise class system. There are other cloud enabled systems but I would contend none at this level operate as Enterprise class systems. This system brings functionality to the table not available in other systems. It makes such collaborative computing even more real.

I will not go into the details this system can bring to the table other than to briefly list that you will have at your disposal:

  • Office
  • Exchange
  • Onedrive
  • Sharepoint
  • Lync
  • Blog
  • Web Site
  • etc

This is one powerful system. Combine that with your Mac, the productivity software available to it such as OmniFocus and DEVONthink Pro Office along with a host of innovative Mac software and as you can see quite the system is forming.

An Office by any other name….

Office 365 enables a very powerful cloud based, business system that in my view can’t be rivalled. There are certainly other cloud based systems that are good. iCloud is of course one of them. However, I do not see iCloud competing in the same space. It can be a consumer based system or a small business based system. I do not though think that iCloud competes at the Enterprise class level.

Apple’s strong advantage though is they embrace Windows systems certainly at a connectivity level. They do not provide though iWork Office software for Windows.

Microsoft provides Office software for the Mac. However, considering the market opportunity it is weak compared to its Windows cousins. At a connectivity level Microsoft is good they just need to beef up their Mac Office software for full transparent interconnectivity.

I don’t think Apple wants to play in Enterprise class capabilities but they probably could play in the small business office that doesn’t need Enterprise class software. Parallels running Windows 8.1 does allow for full Enterprise class capacities however, this is still better done if it is Mac native.

Regardless, Office 365 embraces the cloud wholeheartedly a major shift for Microsoft and I think a very smart one. Outfitted with Office 365 both you as an employer or the business or the employee has a lot of capabilities and freedoms. The day of the virtual office has arrived. Actually, the day of the virtual person has arrived as cloud based computing allows us to almost port anything around wherever we are.

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