Madden estimates that the cost savings from migrating Exchange alone will amount to a conservative $1 per student per year, saving the district up to $100,000 per year. But Office 365 will also provide students with access to Word, PowerPoint, Excel and SharePoint, something which has rarely been provided before, plus a shared My Site space. Students will be able to work on PCs in schools, and complete their homework on whatever device they happen to own--a Mac, a PC, or a mobile device such as an iPad.
With the cost benefits that it is able to offer, Office 365's success in the educational market looks assured. But what can Microsoft do to encourage adoption of Office 365 in the enterprise space?
Office 365 Seeks Position in the Enterprise
Microsoft appears to be hoping that its network of resellers can succeed in pushing Office 365 out of the enterprise doldrums, and at WPC 2012 in early July it announced new reseller terms and incentives for Office365.
Wes Miller at Directions on Microsoft says the announcement could well have the desired effect. "It is significant in two ways. First, this is a very big thing for resellers, and will encourage them to help drive momentum.
Second, resellers can in turn both help inform and motivate customers who may be either on the fence or not even considering 365. And it also enables the reseller to help bring in partners they're experienced with to assist in migration, one of the pieces that can terrify an organization and completely stall out a migration."
By the time Office 365 celebrates its second birthday, it's likely that enterprises will have another option to consider in the shape of Office 2013--a hybrid productivity suite that offers on-premise applications, the same applications streamed from the cloud, plus cloud-based content storage.
Migrating to this is probably less risky and certainly less daunting, so it may turn out that Office 2013--rather than Office 365--is the enterprise product that finally drives productivity applications into the cloud.
Paul Rubens is a technology journalist based in England. Contact him at email@example.com.