Office 365: Just Getting Started

If your business leverages cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Office 365, we have good news for you. Microsoft has announced that it plans to add CRM Online to the base suite of hosted applications available in Office 365. While the exact details of licensing and pricing are uncertain at this time, Microsoft plans to release this package in the second half of 2011.

Here is a little background information on Office 365. It is an updated bundle that includes the cloud applications previously offered through Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services along with other applications that have moved into the cloud, creating a powerful package of productivity tools that can be accessed anywhere over the internet. Office 365 includes the online versions of the popular productivity applications Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. It also includes a Microsoft-hosted suite of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online, creating a comprehensive package able to meet the productivity, communication, and collaboration needs of any business. Now, with the inclusion of CRM Online, Office 365 is about to get even better.

The infrastructure and billing system of CRM Online is currently independent of that of other Microsoft cloud applications. In fact, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online each runs on its own servers in Microsoft datacenters across the globe. You may be wondering, “How can Microsoft effectively deliver a unified solution that includes so many individual pieces?” The answer is Windows Azure, a cloud-computing platform designed to run applications, at scale, via the internet. Microsoft is working to move all elements of Office 365 to Windows Azure, including CRM Online once it is included in the package. This common platform will allow Microsoft to align update schedules and deliver tighter integration to all Office 365 customers.

The inclusion of CRM Online adds to the value of Office 365 because it is step towards an all-inclusive Microsoft environment. Fully integrated applications that work and communicate with one another can increase efficiency and foster strong collaboration.

xRM.com specializes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementations. We have vast experience with the Microsoft Online Services portfolio. We have provided many of our customers with business solutions that include BPOS and CRM Online, and we look forward to being able to provide them together in the new Office 365 bundle. If you wish to learn more about this, or are interested in our consulting services, please follow our xRM Call to Action.

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