Editor's Note: Office 365 Tales from the Trenches

Find out why Office 365 is so compelling to organizations large and small with a need for anywhere access to their key productivity, collaboration and communication platform, from a range of devices.

By Mitch Irsfeld

Microsoft Office and SharePoint have been the go-to solutions for delivering the best combination of productivity, collaboration and communication. But it doesn’t always make sense to confine Office and SharePoint to the desktop, so companies big and small are discovering the value of Office 365 for delivering anywhere access to familiar applications from a range of devices, with a central administration point.

While organizations point to specific improvements in productivity, cost savings and ease of administration, most are still pushing to find the limits of this flexible cloud solution. So we decided to do something a little different in this TechNet Feature package and share some real-world Office 365 experiences.

Smaller organizations like Kügele Profile saw an immediate 30-percent improvement in productivity using the cloud-based services such Lync Online messaging, Exchange Online, and SharePoint. Moreover, they reduced costs by 30 percent, but that is just the beginning for the Austrian metal profile manufacturer. The company plans to federate with manufacturers in other countries so that employees can share presence information and calendars with its partners, and continues to build processes and workflows in SharePoint Online to further improve processes.

Larger companies like MedcoEnergi are also able to reduce costs and provide more flexible communications capabilities with Office 365. The energy company with operations in seven countries frequently acquires new companies, and it was concerned about the time and effort to transition new employees over to its messaging and collaboration solutions. For its employees, the changes to the messaging solution are mostly transparent, and they have access to all of the same unified communications capabilities they use every day. For its IT team, Office 365 provides the same web-based administration capabilities as Exchange Server and Lync Server.

Other organizations have avoided hardware costs while also reducing IT administration costs. Scripps Networks Interactive—with popular lifestyle television and Internet brands, such as HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Travel Channel—is the transition to Office 365 and anticipates the solution will help its IT staff better manage its infrastructure with more administrative controls. It also expects employee productivity to improve because of the way the online services in Office 365 work with Office 2010 to offer new messaging and communication capabilities.

Speaking of better administration, if you are a Windows PowerShell user, or even a complete scripting newbie, TechNet Magazine’s Geek of All Trades Greg Shields offers a guide to Manage Office 365 with Windows PowerShell.

In addition to many more real world case studies to explore, we’ve called out a number of user scenarios found on the Office 365 Community site. For instance, if you are thinking of moving from GroupWise to the Office 365 or migrating from Google Apps to Office 365, check in with the community to see how others have succeeded.

Ready to share your own Office 365 experience? Then get on The Grid and join the community of top-notch IT pros and other experts. While you are there, pull up Jorge R. Diaz’ post Office 365—Real Life Scenarios.

Finally, you can explore the features of Office 365, set up user accounts and take it for test drive with a free 30-day trial. And when you ready to convert your trial into a paid subscription, see how we're lowering the prices of most of our Office 365 for enterprise plans by up to 20%.

Thanks for reading,


Mitch Irsfeld

Mitch Irsfeld*, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, includingInformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek. He is also an editor for* TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.