Office 365 cloud service of Microsoft was announced to be available in Bulgaria. I quickly went to http://www.microsoft.com/bg-bg/office365/online-software.aspx and checked it up to see what would I receive once I register. It is worth sharing my experience to guys who wonder whether or not to try it out.
It took me 1 minute to fill-in the registration form and then a couple more to wait for the features to be automatically set up for me:
Once the the environment was set, I had a SharePoint Team site configured for me and could create a couple of test documents with Word, Excel and PowerPoint the same way as I would with these applications desktop equivalents:
I Also got an out of the box email account which could be accessed through a secure (HTTPS) connection:
An out of the box publicly visible site, which content could be easily edited within the SharePoint portal:
And finally I took a look at the administrative panel. Turns out you can add your own domain instead of using the domain name that you received when you signed up. On this custom domain you can host a SharePoint site after making some configuration changes. Along with this you can manage/purchase licenses within this panel, monitor your services health and write to support if you need help:
After having said all of the above what remains untold is probably the value of it... Here are a couple of things that come to mind as a start:
- Companies residing on multiple locations can easily use this service to have a central place where they can sync their documentation.
- The ones that do not have an office license (but might still use it :P) can be attracted by the small price (expected to be monthly between 1,79 and 25,50 euro per user depending on the license) and use the office on the cloud.
- No need to be an IT to support your team portal and email server infrastructure, because it is taken care of for you.
- No need to be a developer to put a fairly good looking public web site together.
- Currently there is a trial period and you can register for free.
Have you ever thought if the way you are organizing your documents works for you and your team? Recently I had to sit and think (and research) of a common structure that on one hand is general enough to work (with minor adjustments) for most of the projects I participate in, and on the other hand is logical and self-explanatory.
Here is what I came up with:
- Project Planning
- Brief – an overview of the project setting one's focus on the subject.
- Specification – definition of the scope and work that has to be done.
- Plan – time schedule describing when and what should be done in a sequential manner along with specific milestones.
- Roles & Responsibilities – definition of a person's/team's involvement in the project.
- Technical Documentation
- Network Access – what credentials and software is needed and how to use it.
- Systems and architecture – any specifics about interacting servers or applications.
- Rules & Procedures – description of things such as way of time tracking, question escalation, access requests, etc.
- Guides/Manuals – any documentation such as user manuals, installation guides, or other information regarding environment set-up or usage.
- Project Areas (Modules)
- Area 1
- Requirements – expectations that have to be met by persons/teams involved in this area.
- Processes – description of the steps that are taken for fulfilling the above requirements.
- Issues & Solutions – any issue that is found during the process of work and its corresponding workaround (if no workaround, then it belongs to “Questions & Concerns).
- Area 2
- Questions & Concerns – any open questions that need to be resolved along with obstacles/assumed difficulties or recommendations.
- Meetings & Discussions – description of meetings (discussed topics, decisions taken, responsibilities distributed, deadlines that were set, etc.).
- Contacts – contact information of the persons taking part in the project.
Reader, do share your thoughts or experience on this matter :).