Microsoft Makes Mobile Progress

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Harcourts goes with Microsoft’s ‘friendlier’ Office 365.

It’s been roughly a year since Nadella spoke to a group of press in San Francisco about the move to a mobile first and cloud first world. Microsoft’s Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online products are now available in Australian data centres, in a move that will see local businesses able to access the product faster and more reliably.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.

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. If we recall, there was once a time when Microsoft owned enterprise mobility with CE but let the franchise all but die. (Yes, admittedly there are still CE apps in use today, but only because companies haven’t found a suitable alternative.) Hence a year later, what has been accomplished? Australia’s data centre scene has seen some big additions of late with Equinix opening its ME1 data centre in Melbourne last week and SAP opening a Sydney data centre last year. 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. 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. 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 is a key product for Microsoft, which is working to convert its single-sale software model into a recurring stream of subscription revenue. Office 365 leverages Microsoft Intune and the Microsoft Azure Active Directory to apply these policies to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other business applications.

As cloud services become more widely adopted by businesses, this will put a dent in the traditional MDM business of enterprise mobile management (EMM) vendors, such as Airwatch by VMware and MobileIron. 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. Intune, which is part of the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, offers more device and application management capabilities for PCs, tablets, and phones. But unlike other EMM vendors, Microsoft’s EMM offering is designed to enhance Microsoft’s other services, such as the Office 365 suite and identity management. 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 »

Many are already using other vendors MDM or MAM solutions, but most are still open to evaluating Microsoft’s offerings as a way to consolidate the number of tools they use to manage their devices and applications. Many companies are using System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and would like to PC and mobile management to consolidate, especially as we move to the 2 in 1 category of products. In a technet blog Anderson described this in the following way: “Delivering policy from the cloud does not mean all of your administration has to be from the cloud – we think about Intune as the edge to your SCCM deployment. Microsoft may be late in certain markets and may lack some of the features of specialized companies,but the value proposition of mobile keeps changing every twelve months. The market expected Microsoft to lose the mobile game because its mobile operating system wasn’t being widely adopted, but the company has proven that the mobile market is greater than just the mobile operating system.

While it still continues to fight the OS battle, Microsoft is waging war on all fronts, including management, security, identity, content management and apps.

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