Monday, September 24, 2012

Modern Office Communications Infographic

This infographic was just released by Microsoft during the Microsoft Exchange Conference.

Communications in the Modern Office Infographic
A study of 450 IT pros culminated in this look into the industry. Results show IT pros demand better compliance and security for growing companies that are using more and more mobile devices that are being attacked using increasingly sophisticated methods.
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

QuiteCloudy Branding Update

Just a quick note for those of you that follow me on Twitter and here on the blog... I've removed the "CloudNotes" brand from both places.  It didn't quite fit after I bought the domain name, but I kept it for continuity.

It's been quite some time now and I think everyone probably knows so I've removed CloudNotes from the title of the blog and I've changed my Twitter handle as well.

On Twitter you can follow me at  I use Twitter as a news service and post cloud news items and blog articles from the industry there.  There's a lot of news and many articles are published daily.

I've also updated the description for the blog to include Office 365.  So much of what I do now is related to Office 365 it just made sense.

The changes are minor but I wanted to take a minute to let everyone know what's going on.  Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Office 365 and Office 2013 Pricing

As of yesterday, we have exciting new news about Office 365! Microsoft released some official pricing finally and gave us more details both about Office 365 as well as Office 2013. The documentation released yesterday covers the "Office 365 Home Premium" and "Office 365 Small Business Premium" products.

Here are the highlights...

Office 365 Home Premium
We learn the Microsoft is pricing the suite per household an up to 5 devices per house are covered by your subscription.  Here's what you get:
Pricing for Office 365 Home Premium is $8.33 per month ($99.99 billed annually).

Office 365 Small Business Premium
With the upgrade come access to business features designed for organizations with 1-10 employees.  Included are:
  • The base suite of Microsoft Office applications including: Word, Excel PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher
  • Premium Microsoft Office applications Lync and InfoPath
  • A full Exchange Online mailbox with 25 GB storage per user including all of the calendaring and collaboration features
  • SharePoint intranet access with 10 GB base plus 500 MB per user pooled storage
  • A SharePoint external website for use as a company website
  • Premium Lync conferencing with audio, video and screen sharing
Pricing for Office 365 Small Business Premium is $12.50 per month ($149.99 billed annually).

Feature Summary
Office 365 Home and Small Business Plan Comparison

Upgrade Benefits & Other Offerings
Microsoft is still offering the traditional Office suite sold in single units.  You will be able to buy the software from resellers and through traditional licensing channels as well.

A somewhat toned-down version of Office will be included in the new Microsoft Surface tablet with Windows RT although the more expensive tablets with full Windows 8 operating systems will require a full Office license.

Upgrades will be available for those who purchase current Office packages.  They can download the new versions and get a year of free access to the appropriate upgrade version for their product.

No Enterprise Details
We still don't have all the details about the larger business plans.  Expect for Microsoft to release bits and pieces as we get closer to the anticipated release dates early in 2013.

The original Microsoft press release can be found here.

Get More Info!
If you are interested in finding out more about the new version of Office 365 I'll be delivering a webinar on the subject next week.  Get the details and sign up here.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Companies, IT Departments and Workers Need to Get in to the Cloud

cloud computing
cloud computing (Photo credit: kei51)
The cloud is here and businesses that don't change to incorporate it in private, public or some sort of hybrid are in trouble.  They'll be at a terrible disadvantage going forward as their competitors engage resources in the cloud that are unavailable on-premises.

For instance, if your company uses Microsoft software pay attention...  Microsoft originally built their software for on-premises deployment.  The whole suite of Microsoft Office server were local-only apps.  They recently changed to a hybrid software development approach and now many of those apps are being purpose developed specifically as cloud services.  Primary development for Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and the Service Center apps just to name a few are in the cloud.  You'll see features appear there before they appear in the periodic major point releases for on-premises installation.

This means that those businesses that are "in the cloud" will have access to features and capabilities well ahead of those that are not.  It also means that IT workers that only work with on-premises software are going to be woefully unprepared to support the new cloud-based versions.  They simply won't have access to the new software and won't know it.

So, what should companies do?  Get cloud help!  That may mean supplementing their own staff with cloud architects or subcontracting to consultants.  Their existing IT staff simply won't suffice without additional training, however.  Often, existing staff is already taxed and the prospect of coming up to speed on a whole new platform (which it is, by the way) and converting existing business processes is outside of their availability and capability both.

There's a reason why cloud consultants and consulting companies are in such high demand right now.  Similarly to how users demanded smartphones and tablets, executives and users are demanding the capabilities of cloud computing now.  They'll try it in small ways like e-mail and instant messaging and cloud services will eventually penetrate organizations from the top down and bottom up.  IT departments that have not prepared and IT workers that are untrained will be caught in the middle, being asked to do something they have no experience with.  At that point their choices are to outsource, train up, or fall behind.

Cloud services do indeed represent a sea change in IT services.  However, cloud is no panacea.  Most services are still better handled in house, but the list is continually shrinking.  I was once a Microsoft Exchange consultant... a fairly highly sought after skill.  I certainly wouldn't consider that my most marketable skill any more, though.  E-mail consultants without cloud skills are like cars with engines that need leaded gasoline or Betamax tapes... they've had their time and now its time to enter the 21st century.

Many other disciplines are experiencing similar changes.  Developers and infrastructure workers alike will need to update skills if they have not already.  Companies are demanding they do so and going in to denial won't save your job when your company decides to outsource e-mail management or web development.  It's better to be part of the change and help direct how cloud services are implemented than to have them forced on you.

So, get in to the cloud or get left behind, change waits for noone.
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Webcast - Office 365 and Office 2013 - What Every IT Manager Needs to Know

*** Updated: View the entire webcast here or on YouTube at ***

There are a lot of changes coming to Office 365 and Microsoft Office.  I will be presenting a webinar on the topic on September 25th at 10 AM CST.
The topics I will cover are:
  1. The new Office 365 web and Admin interfaces
  2. What’s included: Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Sky Drive
  3. Streaming Office apps to the desktop from the cloud
  4. Top changes in the Office 2013 suite core applications including: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher
  5. The Office / SharePoint Store
Here are the details - you'll also be able to find them in the right column of my blog under Upcoming Events.

Webcast - The Top Upcoming Changes in Office 365 and Office 2013 Every IT Manager Needs to Know About

September 25, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Scott Cameron, Cloud Solutions Team Lead, Valorem Consulting

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