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Microsoft is Selling Office Productivity in the Cloud, Are You Buying?

by Larry Cannell  |  June 25, 2014  |  Comments Off on Microsoft is Selling Office Productivity in the Cloud, Are You Buying?

Two years ago, when Microsoft launched their beta-preview of Office 2013, Microsoft told us they had developed this wave of Office products “cloud-first.” This meant that Microsoft first developed Office 365 and then refactored their code as installable software for use on a company’s servers running in their own datacenter. Three years earlier, Office 2010 was said to be developed with a “software-first” approach (developed for use on-premises and then scaled to the cloud).

Today, whether Microsoft develops Office as cloud- or software-first no longer matters, at all. Microsoft has made it clear that the future of Office is in the cloud. As evidence of this, all of Microsoft’s significant Office innovations of late have been on Office 365. Few of these will likely be ported for on-premises use.

The nature of Office 365 itself has also changed in a subtle but significant way. Once considered convenient enterprise bundles of SharePoint, Exchange and Lync Online features, Microsoft now markets the Enterprise, Government and Education Office 365 plans (aka E1/3/4, G1/3/4 and A2/3/4) as unique products of their own (which, btw, hardly mention Exchange, SharePoint or Lync in their user interface). Even Microsoft’s retail packaging and promotions of Office are driving people to use cloud subscriptions and storage.

This is one of the topics we will be discussing in our “Maximizing Employee Productivity in a Mobile- and Cloud-Driven World” track at this year’s Catalyst Conference.

What: 2014 Gartner Catalyst Conference

Where: San Diego, CA

When: August 11 – 14, 2014

Key Question: What are the implications and challenges of Microsoft Office transitioning to the cloud?

The Catalyst sessions scheduled to answer this question include:

  • E8. Does Office 365 Meet Production-Grade Enterprise Requirements?
  • E10. Should You Leverage Exchange, Lync, or Both in the Cloud?
  • E15. Office 365 Versus Mobile Productivity: Gaps, Issues and Workarounds
  • C14. How to Plan and Implement a Hybrid Exchange Solution
  • E7. Which is better for our organization: Google Apps or Office 365?

Other questions we will be addressing in this track include:

  • What is the role of intranets and workplace technologies in a world where everyone thinks they are an IT professional?
  • What opportunities are enabled by (and what issues are created from) using mobile collaboration?
  • How does consumerization impact intranet and workplace technologies?
  • How is content management changing?

In addition, we have some incredible case studies from companies who have already been working through these challenges.

I hope to see you there!


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Larry Cannell
Research Director
6 years at Gartner
29 years IT industry

Larry Cannell is a Research Director in the Gartner for Technical Professionals Collaboration and Content Strategies service. Mr. Cannell covers enterprise collaboration and social software, search, content management, and open-source collaboration and content solutions. Read Full Bio

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