Today at Cebit, Microsoft announced the availability of trials of their Online Services-BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) in 19 countries (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom). This follows on from the US launch in November 2008.
BPOS is an online offering of some of Microsoft’s most popular software including Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online, Live Meeting Online and Office Communications Server Online, and it is something I am very excited about.
As a Microsoft Partner I envision that Microsoft Online Services will help more customers access the benefits of these MS technologies, particularly the smaller customers as they will benefit greatly from the lower costs, reduced/removed hardware and management costs and the ease of implementation. Having said that these are all attractive benefits to even the largest customer who can use them to increase productivity and reduce costs, something which is even more important in today’s economic climate!
A great example of this is the case study that MS released today of their work with GlaxoSmithKline and their adoption of MS Online Services. GSK are migrating 100,000 users from Lotus Notes over to MS Exchange Online with a number of users taking the “Deskless Worker SKU”-a new product that gives limited access to Exchange and/or Sharepoint for users who don’t need full access and is thus available at a reduced cost:
“The move to Microsoft Online Services will help GlaxoSmithKline cut operational costs by an estimated 30 percent and create a variable cost model that will provide increased flexibility in the future,” said Ingo Elfering, vice president of Information Technology Strategy, GlaxoSmithKline.
A blog post by GSK about why they swapped to BPOS can be found over at the MS Online Blog here. A great Q&A with the GSK CIO can be found here.
On a personal note, I’ve been trialling BPOS at work for a few months now and it is absolutely fantastic. It gives me a lot more freedom that a standard premise based solution as well as cutting down on hassle such as VPN clients etc. We’ve had great success talking to our customers about it and I think we, as an industry, will see a great take up of this new way to consume MS technology.