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Impact of the Microsoft Online Services to the Business World Essay

Microsoft is a company that has been in the software limelight for a long time, due its many advances in developing software that are user friendly and that have interfaces that appeal to the user. Cloud computing involves looking at software as a service, and it involves organizations paying for an online service that they normally would have set up using their internal resources, by trading their servers and applications, so that they can create a platform for data access.

Microsoft cloud computing is aimed at providing data services like e-mail and instant messaging, web conferencing and access to intranet portals, without server software, and hardware, storage and maintenance costs, for a fee. Microsoft Online Services These are online applications that are designed to meet the needs of the many business-oriented customers worldwide by providing a platform for customers to quickly access the latest and most up-to-date technologies at cheap rates (David 2010, pp.

13). These applications are designed and integrated for fast distribution especially when it comes to communication, business-field reliability and security, and eased management. They can be purchased individually or in a suite Exchange Online Exchange Online is a Microsoft hosted enterprise for providing messaging solutions, and is based

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on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.

It facilitates e-mail security, easy e-mail access, and operational efficiency to the IT staff in a business, and is an amalgamation of deep knowledge of Microsoft products, Microsoft’s global infrastructure and the best business practices gathered from customers and partners of Microsoft. Its features are secure access, business continuity, intrusion monitoring, security audits, high availability, support, and directory synchronization tool, user’s company portal, signing in application, virus filtering, and administration centre.

It comes in standard and dedicated versions, and their difference is that the standard version is designed for fast service adoption by organizations hence it’s a shared environment and thus it does not support ant third-party tools required for longer migrations, while the dedicated version is not a shared environment, and this makes it allow third-party tools and co-existence (Microsoft website 2010, p. 2). The Business Productivity Online Standard Suite

The Business Productivity Online Standard Suite is a set of several online collaboration and messaging solutions from Microsoft and it comprises of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, and Office Communications Online. These are online services designed to give the business field highly available efficient communication, comprehensive security, and simplified IT management through provision of up-to-date technologies that have fast distribution, maximizing valuable IT resources in the business, and reducing the need for infrastructure investments, for a fee.

It also comes in the standard and dedicated versions like Exchange online. In this suite, Exchange online is used for providing messaging solutions, SharePoint online for sharing of both human and data resources, Communications online is used for facilitating efficient relaying of messages, Live Meeting is for web-conferencing and Exchange hosted services are for ease in messaging security and management. Analysis of Cost per User: BPOS v/s Optional features If a customer wishes to purchase Exchange online, the cost per user is $5 per user per month.

Exchange Online comes with the optional features of e-mail archiving, a black-berry enterprise server and a data migration service. The entire BPOS suite costs $10 per user per month and comes with the optional feature of Exchange hosted services for e-mail protection, archiving, and preservation, and even Windows Azure for online application hosting. The combined suite therefore is very cost-effective compared to single service package purchase (Microsoft website 2010, p. 6). Requirements of use Microsoft Online services have several specifications of use that have to be met for ease of use as well as for them to be able to operate.

For the operating system, Microsoft Online services can use: Windows 7’s Enterprise, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Starter, or Ultimate, Windows Vista’s Business Service Pack 1, Enterprise Service Pack1, or Ultimate Service Pack 1, Windows XP’s Professional Service Pack 2 or Tablet Service Pack 2 or Apple Macintosh Operating System X 10. 5. The system software platforms needed are Microsoft . NET Framework 3. 0 for Windows XP and Java client 1. 4. 2 for Macintosh Operating System X 10. 5, while the client application required is Microsoft Online Services Sign In application.

Browser software compatible is either: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8, Mozilla Firefox 3, or Apple Safari 3 on Macintosh Operating System X 10. 5 (Microsoft website 2010, p. 6). Microsoft Online Service Products: Benefits Microsoft online services give business users access to the latest software products that are up-to-date and that are configured and supported by experts, who ensure these products are accessible via PCs and even mobile devices. This access is a very crucial aspect in business since it increases efficiency and productivity.

Another benefit of Microsoft online services is that they give an organization the ability to incorporate strategies that encompass a software-plus-service approach. This is very cost-effective and it saves a lot of human and financial resources. Microsoft online services also have the benefit of engaging a familiarity that most users and support teams have, and therefore there is no need for special training to those intending to use them. They also pose the advantage of allowing easy sharing of files and resources among the users of the other hosted versions of the same product and this enhances efficiency in business.

These Microsoft online services are also very reliable and they incorporate business-class security (Microsoft website 2010, p. 2). Online Alternatives to the Microsoft Online Service Products There are several online alternatives for Microsoft Online Software. They include: Point-Bridge which has applications for messaging, office communications and file and resource sharing, and Quest which is knowledgeable in provision of Lotus Notes, Domino and Novell GroupWise for e-mail exchanges, and Legacy Collaboration platforms for information and resource sharing.

Conclusion: Rationale on Use of Microsoft Online Services Instead of In-house Use Switching to Microsoft Online Services is costly as it would involve re-allocation of hardware servers, IT staff and other resources, and therefore companies prefer the on-premises option. Moreover, an adoption of the SaaS technology into some companies would take very long times to evaluate and integration after the company has started adopting the option (Microsoft website, 2010 p. 4). However, if Microsoft Online Services are implemented properly into a company, there are a lot of benefits involved since the company would experience the fruits of a software-plus-services strategy

References David Chou (2010), Microsoft Cloud Computing. <http://www. slideshare. net/davidcchou/microsoft-cloud-computing>. Microsoft Corporation Website (2010), Microsoft Online Services: Business Productivity Online Suite. <http://www. microsoft. com/online/business-productivity. mspx>. Microsoft Corporation Website (2010), Microsoft Online Services: Exchange Online. <http://www. microsoft. com/online/exchange-online. mspx>. Microsoft Corporation Website (2010), Microsoft Online Services: How to Buy, <http://www. microsoft. com/online/buy. mspx>.

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