When Microsoft introduced their Online Services offering in 2008 we knew it was going to have a significant impact in the industry. Back then Team Venti as barely one year old and we made the decision to place this new "Microsoft Cloud" front and center in our strategic plans and service offerings. Why did we decide on this early bet? As a relatively new IT services provider we did not have any specific legacy to protect, business or technology wise. Our business back then was just getting established and we did not depend on any specific line of business like managed services, software sales, server or infrastructure maintenance, like many of our peers in the marketplace.
As the economic recession hit the world economy that year, many of our new clients and prospects were faced with daunting challenges of their own and diminishing resources and budgets to run their operations with. Having this fresh cloud platform at our disposal presented us with an opportunity to help organizations leverage a new way of computing that eliminated:
- The need to purchase, install and maintain expensive server hardware and software infrastructure
- Long upgrade cycles for business communications and productivity software
- Large IT capital expenditures
Leveraging Microsoft Online Services, Team Venti was not only able to grow its customer based rather quickly, but also erase geographic boundaries by effectively serving clients from Honolulu to New York City. In fact, Microsoft Online Services enabled our own operations to scale up without the need of scaling up our own capital expenditures. We were able to improve our own IT operations, eliminate our own in-house servers and spend more of our resources and time serving our clients.
As Microsoft's cloud offerings matured, eventually becoming what we now call Office 365, so did our own business productivity and collaborations capabilities. Being able to run our IT infrastructure in the cloud has helped us stay nimble, quickly reacting to customer needs and being able to introduce new services at a fast pace (sometimes faster than our industry peers) and low cost. We literally credit our own use of Office 365 with helping us earn the regional Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year award for two consecutive years in a row.
Although Microsoft's cloud offerings are not new, its Office 365 services just celebrated their first anniversary this year. There is a very nice article by Paul Thurrott that chronicles the evolution of the platform.
This is barely the beginning of this story about the "Microsoft Cloud". The company continues to invest and innovate at a furious pace. Now under a new CEO, Microsoft is showing a platform openness that is simply unprecedented. Users of Apple and Google products are no longer treated as second class citizens. Office mobile apps are now free across all major mobile platforms and even the Open Source community is feeling the love with recent announcements from the .NET team.
The intersection of cloud computing and cheap computing power continue to fuel a new way of computing that will help create and erase fortunes in almost every industry.
Are you taking advantage of this new way of computing? We are, along with the clients we help every day.
Happy Birthday Office 365!