5 reasons to embrace Microsoft Office 365 (or at least some of it)

Office 365 logo

Last week, I offered you 5 reasons why you should avoid Office 365 -- the new cloud service from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). This week, I want to offer the flipside of the coin. Let's see the glass half-full in The Long View... Office 365 is a replacement for (and superset of) Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), its previous cloud collaboration offering. The two key components of BPOS are cloud-hosted versions of Exchange Server 2007 and Sharepoint Server 2007.

Office 365 updates the software to the latest versions, and adds additional functionality. Much of my criticism last week was aimed at how the new functionality presents itself. However, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the parts of Office 365 that are inherited from BPOS have some killer advantages over the competition.

So here are my favorite five: AD federation, the ability to do hybrid hosting, no need for retraining, the service's low price, and its high reliability. Some of these may seem like a surprise, compared with what I said last week, so read on for more...

5. Active Directory federation

As Mark Wilson deftly put it, Active Directory (AD) federation "provides clear separation between cloud and on-premise resources." This is a clever idea, which helps customers transition from a traditional, in-house system to the cloud.

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