Boston small business should be on the lookout for new and improved ways to have the top of the line IT communication services. From an article on CIO.com, the battle between Microsoft and Google rages on. Both services offer innovative ways to improve the IT support and services for your business but which does it better is the real question. Learn some details about IT managed services in the Boston area below.
Office 365, Microsoft’s answer to Google Apps for Business, just became available to the public for beta testing. With this move, Redmond comes closer to delivering a package of tools to companies seeking e-mail, word processing, Web-based meetings, and scores of other services that work on PCs and mobile devices alike.
But wait a minute, wasn’t Google Apps Google’s answer to Microsoft’s dominance in the productivity space? After all, Microsoft has held a steady lead in such desktop software for decades. It wasn’t until 2006 that Google released Docs, a bare-bones online word processor formerly known as Writely. Docs still barely scratches the surface of the features found in Microsoft Word.
That’s all true, but Google offered collaboration as a killer feature while Microsoft dragged its heels in migrating Office to the cloud. Office Web Apps–online counterparts to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint–didn’t reach the masses until nearly a year ago.
Users of the free Google Docs only need to press the Share button to invite anybody to a document and watch each others’ edits happen live. People who didn’t “get” what Microsoft SharePoint does, or didn’t want to pay for a corporate account, could tinker with collaboration instantly in Google Docs. That kind of lightbulb moment radically shifted the way many people work.
Why These Services Matter
The cloud–just another buzzword for anything stored online–is where the future of productivity lives, after all. More and more workers take their work away from their desks onto mobile devices, and bring their own smartphones and tablets to work.
Office 365 and Google Apps for Business promise to manage the nitty-gritty, back-end tasks that many businesses pay IT staff to handle (see how that’s meant to work here). Their cloud services can free a company to get things done without a tech whiz.
There are potentially big savings in migrating tools to the cloud. Online meetings reduce the need for business travel, and Web and mobile apps enable workers across oceans to work on the same page, literally, at the same moment. Plus, outfitting employees with software that works in a Web browser means there’s little need to install local applications, then manage updates and patches. You may not even need to equip workers with computers–or outfit headquarters with a server room and IT staff.
Office 365 combines online editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, with Exchange for mobile calendar and e-mail access. There’s also SharePoint for an intranet and shared documents; and Lync for IM, online meetings, and audio and video calls. An extra fee covers Microsoft Office Professional Plus software, including Outlook for e-mail and calendars. Read more about what’s inside Office 365 here, and tour its tools for end users and business managers.
Check out CIO.com for more information about this article. If you work in Boston, would you want to improve your IT consulting methods? Do you think either service would improve your employees’ productivity?