logo-office-365Over the last few weeks Ruth Morton and I have been out on the AlignIT Tour talking to IT managers about how organizations can embrace the cloud and increase IT staff and end user productivity.  During the tour we got a lot of questions regarding Office 365 and when it will be available for everyone to try.  Well, the wait is over.  Office 365 is now out as a public beta, meaning you can now sign up for the beta and give it a try!!

For those of you not familiar with Office 365, it is the successor to our Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and is the next generation or business productivity tools – also with a much better name!  Office 365 includes the ability to provide hosted email and calendaring with Exchange Online, an online location for your staff to collaborate through SharePoint Online,  as well as the ability to have real-time presence information and the ability to take part in video conferences using Lync Online.  There are several different subscription levels starting for as little as $7 per month per user, but you can enjoy the beta for free.  In fact, some of the subscription levels also include rights to Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 as part of your service plan!

If you have not yet signed up for the public beta of Office 365, visit www.office365.ca to find out more and sign up today.  There you will be able to gain an insight into the various service offerings available for organizations of all sizes from small businesses who don’t have IT expertise or the desire to invest in infrastructure but whose staff just want to be able to work the way they want no matter where they are, right up to the largest organizations looking to integrate Office 365 with their on-premise business productivity infrastructure so better serve their users. 

If you want to keep up with the latest information about Office 365, you should also visit the Office 365 Blogs site, where you can learn about how to take advantage of Office 365 for your business, the integration of cloud-based services like Exchange Online and SharePoint Online with your on-premise infrastructure providing a seamless user experience as well as single sign-on with your Active Directory, and more.  As well, you can find out about the “Ready for Work” contest where you can win $50,000, a one-year subscription to Office 365 for your business, and more just by sharing your story on our Facebook group.  So, go ahead and share your story today!

Based on the number of questions I have been getting asked about it, Office 365 is of interest to many of you.  Now’s your chance to take it out for a spin and see if it fits your business.  As always, please share your feedback with us and let me know if you have any questions.  So go ahead - sign up for the Office 365 beta right now!

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