As the Office 365 product lead at Microsoft Australia, I’m really proud of the major new update that we announced today to the commercial versions of Office 365.

Aside from being my job, it’s a personal thing for me.

I’ve got two kids and a husband that I’m constantly juggling in addition to holding down a full time job. Life is busy! If I’m not at work, I’m running to pick the kids up on time and get them to sport or wherever they need to be. There are lots of times when I suffer ‘mum’ guilt – am I juggling too much, do I spend enough time with the kids? I think that’s the reality for lots of mums and dads out there. We do a lot of juggling between these lives and there’s a lot of blurring between the two – it’s modern life.

Office 365 stands for a lot of things. One of them is about having the technology tools to be productive virtually anywhere and at any time, as well as helping to manage life. I certainly rely on them every day and having the right tools at my disposal makes a massive difference. Yesterday, I had a customer meeting on the Gold Coast but I was able to do my whole job there because of Office 365 – it’s my office away from the office.

IT can sometimes be complex to manage, especially if you’re a smaller organisation with less resources. As a cloud service, Office 365 is designed to reduce complexity and give businesses an always up to date service.

Finally, it’s a cloud-based subscription service. So you pay for what you need on a per monthly or per yearly basis per user. You can scale up and down easily depending on the needs of your business. You can also choose a plan that is customised to the size of your business.

That's why we're announcing a new set of Office 365 subscription offerings that are available to small and medium sized organisations, including:

  • Office 365 Small Business Premium – designed for small businesses with 1 to 10 employees. In addition to the complete set of fully featured, rich Office applications, this service includes business grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD video conferencing*** in an easy to manage service that doesn’t require IT expertise.
  • Office 365 Midsize Business – designed for medium sized businesses with 10 to 250 employees. In addition to Office 365 ProPlus, this service provides midsize businesses with the enterprise-quality communication and collaboration tools they want – along with the simplified IT tools they need to maintain control while reducing complexity. Active Directory integration, a web-based administration console and business hours phone support are also included.
  • Office 365 ProPlus – includes the latest and most complete set of fully featured, rich Office applications delivered as a service: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, Access and Lync. It works on up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs**. People can now simply sign in to Office 365 from any of their devices, and their documents and personalised settings roam with them, allowing them to quickly pick up right where they left off.  IT departments also get the controls they need including the ability to run Office 365 ProPlus side-by-side with other versions of Office, and tools to streamline and manage updates for their users. It’s available as a standalone offering, with pricing depending on buying program, or is included with the updated premium Office 365 Enterprise offerings and the new Office 365 Midsize Business.

Today's announcement completes a series of release moments for our newest version of Office. In December, Office 2013 (perpetual licenses) became available to volume licensing customers. Earlier this month, we released Office 365 Home Premium and Office 2013 for Australian consumers. We also launched Office 365 University for tertiary students. This moment marked the first time Australian consumers could purchase Office as a subscription service.

Find out more on the Office homepage as well as on the Microsoft Office Division Press Room and blog.

Isabel Boniface, Office 365 Product Manager, Microsoft Australia

** Windows 7, Windows 8 OS, Mac OSX version 10.5.8 required.
*** HD camera required