Microsoft brings mobile device management to Office 365

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google’s biggest ISV partner looks to capitalize on Microsoft’s growing Office 365 business.

Microsoft made good on its promise to add mobile device management (MDM) to its Office 365 productivity service, making the feature generally available today to commercial customers.Real estate company Harcourts International has selected Microsoft over Google as its primary productivity solutions provider for thousands of employees across Australia.

As Microsoft’s Office 365 continues to harness the flexibility of cloud connectivity and distribution, the revamped Office suite is seeing its deployment expand beyond traditional big enterprise. Microsoft has added, in English, the ability for large companies to manage Office on the phones of their employees, regardless of whether the handset in use is a personal or corporate device. The move comes as Microsoft today lifts the lid on the local availability of Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online, which means the service will be deployed from Sydney and Melbourne data centres instead of overseas.

Due to the new flexible deployment on any device, liberal licensing and standardized formatting, Office 365 is garnering exceptional interest from small to medium businesses more and more each day. Today the company added that the MDM features are being included at no additional cost in all Office 365 commercial plans, including Business, Enterprise, EDU, and Government. Gmail organises conversations or emails in threads that corporate users have said was difficult to read or follow, unlike Microsoft Outlook. “Most of our offices have Outlook so the transition (to Office 365) was very simple,” Mr Wills said.

Microsoft points out that this is superior to third-party MDM solutions that replace productivity apps with restrictive all-in-one apps for corporate email, calendars, and documents. BetterCloud initially launched as a completely free, fully unlocked product for 18 months, and eventually moved to a “freemium” model, giving users a basic tool for free while offering greater monitoring capabilities for a fee. That is sensible, as the software company is, I presume, more focused at the moment on growing its seat-base rather than wringing positive dollar churn from fresh accounts. With over 50,000 organizations from over 130 countries using their services and instruments for Google Apps solutions, it’s arguable that BetterCloud is Google’s biggest ISV. As you would expect, Office 365’s MDM tooling includes the ability to wipe information from employee handsets, implement security requirements and restrict access to data.

Help secure and manage corporate resources — Set up security policies to ensure that Office 365 corporate email and documents can be accessed only on phones and tablets that are managed by your company and are compliant. Office 365 leverages Microsoft Intune and the Microsoft Azure Active Directory to apply these policies to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other business applications. If MDM can help Microsoft sell more quickly into the enterprise market, the company could make progress toward beating its currently tepid, expected growth tally for its current fiscal year.

Windows Phone, or in this case the OneDrive for Business and the Office Mobile apps for Windows Phone, are not yet supported, while they are on both iOS and Android (for phones). Intune, which is part of the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, offers more device and application management capabilities for PCs, tablets, and phones. We will extend these capabilities to Windows Phone Office apps in the future.” Because Microsoft is a massive corporation it is somewhat understandable to not have every single service perfectly locked in step with each other but for something like this it seems unreasonable. Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through … read more »

Politis also notes, “Some of these partners that I’ve talked to that are [working with] both Google and Office 365, they have customers that are interested. While working at Dell, Tweddle worked extensively on solutions for the Microsoft stack, thus making him integral to BetterCloud’s relationship with the Microsoft ecosystem.

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