Today finally saw the release of a beta of the Microsoft Office 365 Integration Module for Small Business Server 2011 Essentials – quite a few months after SBS 2011 E was released.
Here is what Microsoft posted today:
This week marks the beta release of the highly anticipated Microsoft Office 365 Integration Module (OIM) for Small Business Server 2011 Essentials. The OIM allows small businesses to seamlessly combine the cloud-based productivity tools of Office 365 with the infrastructure provided by SBS 2011 Essentials, a first-server designed and priced especially for small businesses with limited in-house IT resources. The joint technologies provide businesses with an affordable hybrid solution that helps protect data, organize and provide access to business information from virtually anywhere, and support the applications that enable the business to run smoothly and efficiently.
The Office 365 Integration Module joins the Windows® 7 Professional Pack for Small Business Server 2011 and the Windows® Server Solutions Phone Connector Add-in to help provide a flexible, comprehensive, and powerful solution for small businesses. If you are currently taking advantage of either SBS 2011 Essentials or Office 365, we encourage you to use this opportunity to experience the collective benefits of both products. Get ready today by downloading the Office 365 Integration Module Beta and discover how SBS 2011 Essentials and Office 365 work better together to help improve productivity and business efficiency.
The Office 365 Integration Module for Windows SBS 2011 Essentials extends the features of the server Dashboard by providing seamless integration with Office 365 services. When you integrate Office 365 with the server, you can:
- Subscribe to Office 365 or configure the server to use an existing subscription.
- Perform the following Office 365 account management tasks from the Dashboard:
- Bulk create Office 365 accounts for network user accounts.
- Assign new or existing Office 365 accounts to network user accounts.
- Manage the Office 365 account assigned to a user account throughout the lifecycle of the user account. For example, deactivating a network user account also deactivates the Office 365 account that is assigned to the user account.
- Synchronize passwords for network user accounts and Office 365 accounts. This allows network users to sign in to Office 365 using their Windows password.
- Link a professional Internet domain that you have set up on Window SBS to Office 365.
- View information about your Office 365 subscription.
- Access your Office 365 management portal from the Office 365 page of the server Dashboard.
You can install and configure the Office 365 Integration Module at any time after completing the server installation.
Office 365 helps drive productivity by giving employees virtually anywhere access to professional-grade email, web conferencing tools, documents, shared portals, contacts, and calendars delivered through the cloud. At a glance, Office 365 includes (click here for more details):
- Microsoft® Exchange Online, offering email, calendar and contacts
- Microsoft® SharePoint Online, a central place to share documents and information
- Microsoft® Lync Online, a next-generation cloud communications service
- Microsoft® Office Web Apps, convenient online companions to the Microsoft® Office suite
The solution allows companies to use the productivity tools they need while eliminating the complexity, management, and maintenance requirements of in-house messaging infrastructure. Small businesses can now combine the power of an on-premise server solution and the flexibility and convenience of cloud-based applications to help improve productivity, enhance collaboration and communication, and keep business data safe and secure.
If you’re not familiar with the benefits of SBS 2011 Essentials and the Office 365 Integration Module, let me share with you some compelling advantages for small businesses:
Get More Done – SBS 2011 Essentials and the Office 365 help small businesses employees who are always on the move that need readily accessible information and applications to service their customers or make the next sale. Office 365 enables workers to increase productivity from virtually anywhere by allowing real-time access to information and tools from a variety of devices and platforms.
Enjoy a Simplified, Flexible Solution – Small businesses are typically limited by a lack of experience and resources dedicated to in-house IT systems. Together, SBS 2011 Essentials and Office 365 offer enhanced flexibility and help reduce IT complexity with a seamless combination of comprehensive server functionality and cloud-based productivity tools that make it easy for people to connect and work together.
Help Safeguard Work – Every smart business takes precautions when it comes to safeguarding its work. Office 365 helps maintain a dependable and secure data environment allowing small businesses to rest assured knowing important business data stored in SharePoint Online is protected from loss or theft and kept safe with advanced security and reliability features.
In addition to these benefits, the Office 365 Integration Module also enables small businesses to easily administer both local and cloud users in one single place, such as adding all SBS user accounts into Office 365 and using a single custom domain name for both SBS 2011 Essentials and Office 365.
And don’t forget to buy my Working with Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials book.