The reviews are in: Office 15 is good for IT.
Since it was announced in July, users have been able to download a preview of the newly redesigned software. What they’ve reported is generally positive, especially when it comes to new functionality that will make techs’ lives easier.
In particular, IT admins transitioning to cloud computing and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments will find managing each to be a breeze. For example:
- The cloud-based software-as-a-service version of Office 15 is paid for on a subscription basis through MS Office 365. It can be installed on multiple devices per subscription, and perhaps the best news for IT: It’s automatically updated for the life of the subscription, with no more patches and updates to roll out.
- Documents created in Office 15 are saved to Microsoft’s cloud storage service SkyDrive by default. Users’ personal settings are accessible no matter what device they’re working on.
- Office 15 is compatible with desktop PCs, tablets and smartphones and supports both modes of computing: keyboard/mouse and touch/stylus.
- New development tools in Office 15 let you build your own Office and SharePoint apps and then distribute them to users via Microsoft or your own internal app store.
A desktop version will still be available, enabling organizations to transition to the Cloud at their own pace. It’s compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8 but not Windows XP; therefore businesses that haven’t upgraded yet will have to wait until they do so before they can take advantage of the next-generation features Office 15 has to offer.
The consensus seems to be that Office 15 is an attractive option IT managers may want to start planning for now. Reviewers noted the sleek new user interface has a modern look and provides quick access to admin tools. And everyone’s productivity will get a boost from the ability to get new users up and running quickly.
Installing Office 15 using Microsoft’s Click-to-Run streaming and virtualization technology makes it possible for users to start using the software almost immediately, and the entire package can be installed in a matter of minutes over a Wi-Fi connection.
Microsoft made a number of improvements to its server products as well. New data loss prevention features in Exchange 2013 enable admins to create policies that find sensitive personal and financial information in Outlook, SharePoint and Lync mailboxes and alert users before dangerous emails are sent. Protections against viruses and spam are also built-in. SharePoint and Lync get enhanced usability features in the new version and are better integrated with the rest of Office, too.
Microsoft hasn’t announced an official release date for Office 15 but we’ll let you know when they do.