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Microsoft goes online and worldwide

Mike Davis | March 23, 2009
Microsofts recently announced Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) is much more than a challenge to Google Apps

The Deskless Worker idea is a good proposition. Its value has already been demonstrated by UK airline BA, which justified the cost of extending intranet access to all ground staff on the reduction of corporate communication costs, through printing and the renting of pigeonholes at Terminal 5 London Heathrow (albeit using a Lotus configuration).

Plan carefully if you are based in Germany or Switzerland

Following trial in North America, the announcement for March covered availability in 19 countries and in five languages, specifically for Europe and Asia-Pacific. The hosting centres are in Dublin and Singapore, with second facilities to meet the service guarantees in Amsterdam and Hong Kong. Full worldwide availability will commence in April.

However, customers whose data protection legislation requires that personal data be stored in the physical geography of that country such as Germany or Switzerland need to be aware of rules regarding information transfer and processing. Thats something that Microsoft says it has and will continue to address.

BPOS appears to be a work in progress, and a big challenge with the software plus services model is how the cloud-based functionality, which could be updated as frequently as every six weeks, and the in-house installations, with a three-year update cycle, are kept compatible and synchronised. However, the low cost of entry and the potential of the Deskless Worker option, coupled with the current corporate belt tightening, could convince many companies to make a move to the cloud.

Mike Davis is a senior analyst with Ovum, covering the breadth of information management technologies, with a particular focus on information discovery and access.


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