RSG has covered MS SharePoint since 2007, and we've been known for publishing uniquely tough and objective evaluations of that platform and its various add-ons like Yammer. We continue to assess SharePoint against competitors in individual marketplaces, but just last week RSG also launched a detailed evaluation of Office 365 as a digital workplace platform.
RSG's new assessment covers fifteen Office 365 products as well as an overview evaluation of the platform as a whole, including its history and likely future prospects.
Office 365 Happens
Many enterprises purchase O365 when they update their licenses for the desktop productivity suite (PPT, Excel, Word), and/or convert their SharePoint and Exchange estates to the cloud. But as Microsoft constantly emphasizes, Office 365 is much wider than that. It now includes Groups, Teams/Skype, OneDrive, Stream, and more.
Microsoft touts O365 as an integrated platform to solve multiple employee workloads, with the added sweetener that you can get rid of licenses for other, competing products. Instead of a cornucopia of different vendors' tools, you can streamline your employee digital experience and save money along the way. What's not to love?
Well, there's actually quite a bit to remain cautious about here. It's revealing that Microsoft almost always tries to pitch O365 to senior IT leadership and your CFO, rather than workplace business leaders. We've seen several bake-offs this year where business stakeholders have rejected parts of Office 365 when given a chance to try it hands-on against reasonable alternatives.
A key issue here is that customers must largely accept O365 services and user experiences "as-is," at a time when digital workplace leaders are trying to adopt employee-centric user journeys. It can be difficult to map employee journeys with O365 experiences, since the platform tends to be feature rich, but application poor.
RSG's research maps common workplace services to Office 365 products. Source: Real Story Group
How to Think About Office 365
My wish for you is to take the same critical look at O365 services as you would any other workplace platform, especially those serving high-need, high-impact knowledge workers. You may find that Exchange+Outlook works well for your colleagues, but Groups and Teams...perhaps not so much.
Look forward to hearing from you...