BPOS to be Enhanced with Office Web Apps

Although the software giant has yet to reveal a specific timeline for the integration, Microsoft announced plans in October to add Office Web Apps to its hosted Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). This integration will give Microsoft a much-needed edge, and keep BPOS ahead of rivals like Google Apps. Google Apps offers office productivity applications as part of their broader cloud-based collaboration and communication suites.

Described by Microsoft officials as “online companions” to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, Office Web Apps offers hosted versions of Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that feature the use-ability found in the on-premise Microsoft Office suite. The software company says they are aiming to let users “access, view and edit” documents via a the Internet.

With about 20 million users, Office We Apps is currently available free for individual consumers as part of the Windows Live online services. Office Web apps is also a component to the free Live@EDU collaboration and communication suite for educational institutions. Office Web Apps can also be accessed by organizations that own the on-premise versions of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010.

It has been widely reported that the absence of Office Web Apps from BPOS has not hindered the adoption of that collaboration and communication suite for businesses (which features Exchange Online, Office SharePoint Online and Microsoft Office Live Meeting).

According to industry analysts, BPOS licenses have more than tripled since the start of 2010, but it is unknown how many BPOS seats have been sold overall. Microsoft stated recently that there are 40 million paid seats of Microsoft Online Services—of which BPOS is a part of. In October, Microsoft announced a number of big customer wins for BPOS, such as DuPont (58,000 end users), Volvo (18,000 end users), Australia’s Spotless Group, Godiva and Sunoco.

Industry analysts have observed that the familiarity of Microsoft’s software interfaces and tools (because it is present in many enterprises), as well as the links between Microsoft’s cloud and on-premise software, will be an advantage for the company.

Gartner explains, “I’d expect to see a growing opportunity for companies looking to move to a more cost-effective collaboration environment to consider Microsoft in the mix because of its experience in delivering enterprise collaboration.”

Analysts have also seen that Microsoft’s sales-teams are being aggressive about spreading the word about BPOS and promoting it as part of the renewing of enterprise contracts. A Gartner analyst has been quoted as saying, “Microsoft has tapped a deep root of demand for cloud services with BPOS.”

Additionally, Microsoft announced new customers, including several California State University schools, the University of Montana, Northern Kentucky University, the College of DuPage, Washington University in St. Louis and Aston University in the U.K., for Live@EDU. Live@EDU now features more than 10,000 academic institutions with over 11 million end users. Live@EDU includes Office Web Apps, Windows Live Sky Drive and Outlook Live.

For more information regarding BPOS contract a Nubifer representative today. Nubifer is a Microsoft Certified Partner.


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