March saw the start of the roll-out of a new, and quite different, verison of Office 365. Major changes include an upgrade to Offie 2013 and a change to the way it is installed and managed, plus the launch of SkyDrive Pro.

This upgrade marks the transition from 2010 editions of Word and Excel to the 2o13 editions. But it’s a very different way of delivering the software. Instead what was essentially a standard install of Microsoft Office, the latest version is fully managed by Microsoft. The good news is that Microsoft can directly manage all updates from now on. The potential bad news is that Microsoft has much more control over the software that is installed on your computer. But hey, it’s a subscription service, so you can’t really complain if the company providing the service wants some control over it.

The second major change is the addition of SkyDrive Pro. It does what the name suggests; it’s a way of storing your data files in the cloud. It is easier than using SharePoint and it will integrate with a SharePoint back-end. SkyDrive Pro is definitely “work in progress”. Apparently you get a fixed amount of storage and you can’t even pay more to get more. It’s also so new that when I asked Microsoft partner line (our route to Microsoft as a Gold Partner) for information, they knew nothing about it.

So, we have to wait and see what the upgrade to Office 365 will really deliver. But you can be sure that Microsoft is pouring its development dollars into this product now. It is bound to get bigger and better.

If you would like to know more about Office 365 and how it could help your business, contact me, Malcolm Newdick, on 0845 680 9680 or e-mail me at malcolm@riverbank.co.uk.