Microsoft Office 365 Review

Day 1:

Reasons Office 365 might be better than what I've got now:

Reason 1: Scheduling & Communications

1. Better Calendar & Email Syncing on PCs and Cell Phones

2. Scheduling and Task Management in Outlook.

There are other reasons it might be better for my company, which includes a lot of non-tech savvy users who are accustomed to Microsoft Office and Outlook:

3. Collaborative Document Sharing & Editing

4. Better email management and password security than our current, ridiculously inept Siteground's Cpanel implementation. (Yes, we have an email system where user's can't change their password without logging into the *ever so friendly* Cpanel user interface.)

Criteria for evaluation:

Ease of use - how self-explanatory is everything?

Efficiency - How many clicks, how many waits, to get things done?

Microsoft 365 has Three Areas:



Team Site

First Impressions

Home or the "Team Site" are, unintuitively, where you go to create documents.

The interface looks like it came out of 1998.

Very unintuitive.

Apart from Calendar Synchronization and Contact syncing, Google Apps+ Google Sites ± Skype can do everything office 365 can do, simpler, better, and cheaper than Microsoft does it.

Initial Evaluation:

Office 365 will only be worthwhile if the integration with MS Office and Outlook is good enough to make this an easy path for our associates that already have years invested in the Microsoft platform.

Some things are just incredible: for example, at the 'Team Site', which is supposed to be where you create these online documents, when I click on "New Document" it doesn't create one: it asks me to find one on my computer to add!

Even when I found the way to create a new document (Go to "Home" and find it under "Team Site" (of all things) I am beset with a short load time followed by a prompt: "Please enter a name for the file you wish to create." and then a hefty load time before the interface comes up.

I went to type my first sentence. . . and I got this: "Word Web App encountered an unexpected error."

I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought it was a joke.

I really want to like Office 365! I really want to use the advanced features that nobody but Microsoft pulls off in one package! And then Microsoft pulls this...

Well, it could just be a bad first impression: maybe I should try this with Firefox, memory leaks & all. In the meantime, I hit "Restart", waited for another hefty load time, and tried to type in a sentence again. No dice: it got one character in, and then froze. I came back to this evaluation and typed out a paragraph, then went back and thankfully the thing was reading my keystrokes again.

If you copy and paste, you lose formatting. In Google Docs on Chrome I only lose pictures, in Office 365 I lose all formatting.

I reload the page to try to see how much time it takes compared to Google - and it blanks out. I try typing. It doesn't work.

I give up for now and promise myself I'll try it in Firefox or Safari next time to see if it just can't handle Chrome.

Closing Words:

So far this thing lives up to Microsoft's reputation for flawed, unintuitive products, but I would relish the chance to implement it for KW both to train myself for "the other side" and to find the things that it can do better than any other product out there.

If you've never tried to use a product deeply, you don't know what it can do, and the feeling I get from our Associates and Franchisees so far is that they are all used to using MS Office and Outlook, so this could be the perfect company for me to feel 100% clean implementing an Office 365 solution.

If we were in a company full of virgin users, however, I would keep them as far away from Microsoft as I could possibly manage.

Next steps:

- Get ahold of my copy of MS Office 2011 so I can see where 365 is supposed to shine: Integration with MS Office.

- See how easily it integrates with existing MS Office users.

- Attempt to get scheduling, contact group sharing, and email management up and running.

- 'Think' about using Team Site for document sharing with one of my collaborators… but it's not promising.