It has taken Microsoft longer than consumers and the technology world to fully convert to the cloud. The company’s Windows 7 and Office 2010 had limited cloud computing integration, despite the fact that at the time the public had already shifted heavily towards web-based email, software, storage, and social media. But because so many people and businesses still rely on Microsoft operating systems and productivity applications, the tech world’s decisive step towards the cloud was like a body trying to move forward without its legs. Microsoft finally corrected this imbalance these last two years by announcing the cloud-centric Windows 8 in June 2011 and Office 2013 in July 2012. Finally, the direction of computing technology of a whole, the focus of the leading operating system and productivity application suite, and the preferences of businesses and consumers are all in lock-step.
Microsoft Office 2013 has all the usual applications: the big four of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as the more business-focused SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, Visio, Project, Publisher, OneNote, and Access. The new cloud-centric features that have been announced include:
–Cloud-based storage and sharing
Office 2013 makes it easier to save your files to a cloud. You can also save a file as a link that your colleagues can access, view, and edit via their web browser, even if they don’t have a copy of Office 2013 installed. The new Office can also upload only the changes to an existing document instead of the entire edited version of the file, conserving bandwidth and storage space.
–Optimized for tablets and smartphones
Due to the symbiotic relationship between the cloud and mobile devices, Microsoft has designed Office 2013 to be tablet- and smartphone-friendly. For example, all of the suite’s applications can be operated by touch. The ribbons (the multilayered menus at the top of the screen) of the applications have been “flattened” to perform and be seen better on mobile devices. Holding your finger over a part of the screen initiates the same action as a right-click on a PC. You can even write something in Word using your finger or a stylus and the program will convert your handwriting to text.
–Integrated with cloud-based social media and collaboration tools
Aside from email, the most commonly-used cloud-based services are social media websites and applications. Office 2013 integrates its applications with sites and programs such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Yammer, and Skype. For example, the new Outlook will retrieve the Facebook and LinkedIn content (profiles, recent updates) of all of your contacts. The new Word will let you search for and embed YouTube videos and Flickr photos from within the program. Also, Office 2013’s SharePoint will integrate with Yammer, offering a unique combination of file-sharing and project management with intra-company social networking.
(Business users of Microsoft Office 2013 will also be happy to learn that the new suite includes PDF editing in Word, more intuitive data parsing and analysis features in Excel, and timekeeping, teleprompter, and slide selection features in a vastly-improved presentation mode in PowerPoint.)
IronOrbit hosts Microsoft products in the form of cloud-based Office suites, standalone applications, Windows virtual desktops, and Windows virtual desktops integrated with the Office suite or Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other specific applications. Undoubtedly we will be able to deploy Windows 8 hosted desktops and Office 2013 hosted applications upon their release (with the operating system scheduled for release in October and the suite’s release date so far unannounced).
Our hosted solutions are more centralized, manageable, and business-ready than Microsoft’s proprietary cloud products. When you select hosted Microsoft products from IronOrbit you benefit from our 24x7x365 technical support and the world-class performance and security of our private clouds. We can also assist you with your upgrade to Windows 8 and Office 2013. IronOrbit will save your company money and maintain the consistency of your records and business operations by helping you transfer your files, settings, and licenses to your new deployment at no extra cost. For the best performance, security, and cost-efficiency, deploy all of your Microsoft products with IronOrbit’s private clouds.