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TechnologyJan 21, 2013

Leveraging Office 365 to Support Consumerization of IT

Credera Team

The Microsoft Office product family includes a vast array of applications, solutions, and services. From stand-alone desktop software to the suite of software-as-a-service available through Office 365 and Office Web Apps, Microsoft Office enables and promotes productivity and collaboration. As Office has grown and matured, today’s corporate world has also seen a growing trend toward employees utilizing personal equipment as a means of accessing company data. This process, referred to as the Consumerization of IT, presents a number of challenges for corporations – challenges that Office 365 can help address.

What is Consumerization of IT? 

While some companies provide mobile devices to their employees for accessing business data, many companies do not. Further, many employees have a device or platform preference that is not in-line with what a company provides. While some companies may consider employees that bring their own device to work as candidates for termination, companies should really be looking at how they can leverage these employees for methods of enhancing productivity. The reality is that employees are bringing their own devices to work, as well as, bringing their own apps on these devices. A recent study by Forrester showed that over 62% of information workers regularly use a personal device to increase productivity, connect with customers, and enable better collaboration (click here for the study).

What is Office 365?

Office 365 serves as a great productivity enabler bringing people together via real-time collaboration and communication. It does this by combining the extensive feature sets of Office applications, SharePoint, Lync, and other enterprise-focused software. The increasingly impressive opportunities for collaboration and connectivity presented by technology are embodied in Office 365 and its constant evolution. Additionally, the Cloud model employed by Office 365 ensures capacity when you need it and avoids the costs associated with owning unused hardware. The collaboration features offered in Office 365 enable a global workforce to collaborate effectively, while ensuring that projects are never executed in silos. Lync enables IM, calls, and online meetings with real-time status of co-workers and colleagues, while SharePoint Online provides social networking and search capabilities to ensure that intellectual capital can be found.

How Does Office 365 Help With the Consumerization of IT? 

Office 365 includes a number of features for supporting mobile devices across a variety of platforms.  Office Web Apps support viewing documents on Windows, Android, and iOs devices, while SharePoint Online can provide the means for controlling access to these documents. This use of SharePoint with Office Web Apps provides the tightest integration for document access and supports many devices that employees may bring to work.  Also, Office 365 features support remote device wiping, helping protect company data even on employee provided devices in the event of a lost or stolen device.

By using Office 365, IT departments can provide applications across a variety of devices and rely on the greater Microsoft eco-system to help ensure the security of those devices. Given the nature of Office 365 and the continuous nature of updates that come from Microsoft, companies can depend on the suite providing more and more features to help control company data as time goes on. This continuous effort by Microsoft and its commitment to meeting different ISO standards goes a long way to supporting employees and their personal devices.

At Credera, we have worked with companies with an on-premise, in-Cloud, and hybrid-approach to Office implementations. We are always looking for opportunities to share our experiences and help companies make the hard decisions that come with considering migrations to Cloud computing. Please contact us on Twitter @CrederaMSFT for more information.

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