Well, it has been a year now since my last post on this topic, and Microsoft is pushing pretty hard to make the Office 365 experience a good one. They have merged their SkyDrive product into Office 365 and it is becoming easier to use with features that are useful.
Administering of Office 365 (especially the SharePoint side) is still best left to a techie but once it is set up, it definitely works. I have found that there is virtually no down time. It has been available whenever I have needed it.
Microsoft still needs to realize that there are Mac users, and they aren’t going to go away. Having been exposed recently, in a big way to the educational community, I have learned that Apple has quite a stronghold in the educational community. This can’t help but slop over into the business community eventually as people age and gravitate more and more to tablets and phones for their day to day computing needs.
Each one of the components of Office 365 have been improved upon since its release. The Lync app is now available for the Mac as well as Andriod, iPhone and Windows Phones. The Outlook Web Application is a pretty capable web based email client and connecting to the Exchange based email from other devices is a snap.
The SharePoint component is well…SharePoint. If you like SharePoint, you will like this feature. However, SharePoint still does not play well with the Mac. Many Windows features are not accessible from a Mac. And, SharePoint still needs some significant admin support to make it run and administer a SharePoint site. To think that a standard Knowledge worker has the time, desire or capability to deal with the intricacies of SharePoint, as it exists today, is pure folly. Understanding and granting of permission and accessibility to a SharePoint site is beyond the purview of a typical worker. My opinion is that SharePoint has a long way to go to fulfill its promise of a collaboration tool that can be managed by the user without the day to day involvement of an IT Professional but for those of us with the fortitude to push the envelope, SharePoint can certainly be a useful tool. Just don’t expect it to work without a significant investment of time, training and money on your part.