Few days ago I published PLM Cloud: Dedicated, Private, Public. Following this post, I had few interesting conversations about what are possible platforms can be used to develop online cloud applications for enterprises. Few options were mentioned – Microsoft, Force.com, Google and some others. It made me think again about where is Microsoft in this “race to the cloud” game. So, I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you and ask about your opinion.
From BPOS to Office 365
Office 365 is a new name for BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite). Last October, Microsoft launched a limited Beta version online. The expectation is that Office 365 will be available in the beginning of 2011. Microsoft was saying Office 365 is a productivity suite for companies with less than 25 employees. I found the slide below is interesting to present what Microsoft is thinking about online infrastructure for productivity tools.
The actual products that comprise this offering are Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. Microsoft is playing with features in these products. In addition, in Online CRM will be added to the Office 365 offering. Thinking about small manufacturing companies I can see them potentially starting to use Microsoft onilne service. Capabilities of SharePoint as well as other Office 365 tools can be interesting. Relying on existing install base, Microsoft can offer applications online, which will become very competitive with other platforms such as Force.com and Google.
However, the sustainability of Microsoft online business is very interesting. ZDNet reports the selection of Lee Nackman to replace retiring Corp. VP of Online Services, Dave Thompson. Microsoft online challenge is big. See Business Insider’s: “Chart of the Day: Microsoft Incinerates Another $543 Million Online.
What is my conclusion? PLM infrastructure is 10-15 years old. In my view, PLM companies will be actively looking for online platforms and infrastructure to catch up consumer oriented internet companies. Will Office 365 and Azure become a platform of choice? A good question. Salesforce.com made 3 acquisitions for the last 2 months. One of them, Manymoons, is in the space of project Management and collaboration. The introduction of database.com is another sign of growing strength of non-Microsoft’s platforms. Just my thoughts… What is your opinion?