Initially released in June 2011, the Office 365 package has generally received a good reception since its launch, receiving an overall rating of 8.5 out of 10 from the technology magazine website TechAdvisor in March 2013. But what does the future have in store for this cloud-based suite? Find out here.
Microsoft’s New Strategy for Maintaining its Market Share
In a recent conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced that it would be introduced a number of new features to its future Office 365 package, which will include a new Office video portal, graph, Power BI, and OneDrive for businesses. According to TJ Keitt, an analyst at Forrester Research, Microsoft is ‘applying soft pressure’ on people to move to Cloud technology, specifically those who have yet to embrace the technology or are still unconvinced by it.
The New Video Portal
Uploading, storing, watching, and accessing new videos will be safer than ever before thanks to Office’s built-in security features. Videos will be streamed to mobile and desktop devices easily and will be automatically compressed, which means no more uploading errors arising from oversized files.
Probably the most pioneering new feature of the Office Graph is that it will be able to identify links between individuals and documents. The graph will feature a new app called Oslo, which is expected to be released in 2014 and will distinguish these connections. It will identify which files are generating the most responses (user activity) so that the most ‘popular’ are featured more prominently.
This cutting-edge feature will enable people to effectively ‘visualize’ a set of Business Intelligence data through graphs, which will be particularly useful for professionals such as data administrators or IT managers, who regularly have to manage complex data reports.
Self-service features of the Power BI service include:
- Power View – enabling people to devise customized reports with interactive graphs
- Power Query – identify and access public or corporate data instantly, merge multiple sets of data into one larger data set.
- Power Map – use a 3D Excel map to explore geospatial data.
- Power Pivot – create more comprehensive data models designed to handle millions of statistics.
For sharing, however, Power BI offers users the option of creating queries in Excel that can instantly be transferred to other users.
Previously known as SkyDrive Pro, OneDrive for Business will allow people to start conservations in their own documents. The new version of Office 365 will also provide an additional 20GB of OneDrive Storage and will make it easier for people to store their data in the cloud and access it from practically any device in any location.
OneDrive for Business
OneDrive for Business, meanwhile, is more targeted at IT professionals by offering an enterprise-level content management service that is equipped with an advanced search engine facility, helping businesses access specific data more efficiently to save time. Companies that are currently registered with SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 are also eligible to set up OneDrive for Business almost instantly. However, businesses that regularly need to share entire data sets may find OneDrive less than ideal, as it currently only allows them to share individual documents.
The cloud – soon to be a universal technology?
In 2013, Microsoft revealed that just over half of organizations have already used cloud technology to maximize their commercial growth. According to Marco Limena, the vice president of Microsoft’s Hosting and Cloud Services Providers Business, 2014 and 2015 will be defined by the ‘hybrid cloud’, with more than two-thirds of customers expected to use these models during this time.
About the Author
This article has been written by Damian Coates.