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Office 365 Open announced

July 11, 2012 Leave a reply General News
In case you've missed it, at the #WPC12 (Worldwide Partner Conference 2012) on Monday, Microsoft announced a new programme for Partners: Office 365 Open. In essence, this will enable Partners to bill customers directly for Office 365 as if it were one of their services, instead of the billing going via Microsoft. They also revealed that revenue from year one subscriptions will be increasing, which of course will be a great another incentive for Partners. There's a great post over on Talkin' Cloud which asks 10 questions about the new Office 365 Open, which I would suggest you read if you're interested in the topic.

I think Office 365 Open could be incredibly useful for TaskLight and other Microsoft Partners - it gives us a chance to give a single, simple bill to clients and to avoid confusion there.

Working From Wherever I Want

June 13, 2012 Leave a reply General News
With the beautiful day that it was on Monday, I was lucky enough to be working out in Co. Kildare for the day. In fact, if you look below, you'll see that I was actually just working in a field! This didn't prevent me from working at all though, in fact the day was extremely productive. The combination of a USB modem and Office 365 meant that it felt like I was at my desk, but in the beautiful sunshine! I even managed to run two Lync Online meetings: One a development meeting and the other an introduction to using Lync for online meetings, which involved (among other tasks) me sharing my desktop to show how to set up Lync Online meetings and explaining the best techniques in hosting online meetings.

Working From Wherever - Using Lync Online from Office 365Working From Wherever - Using Lync Online from Office 365
This was a great learning experience for me - with a USB modem (and a relatively decent Internet connection), I was able to work from a field. This means I'm not as tied to the office as I would otherwise be - I can work from wherever I want.

Lync Online is one of the components of Office 365. Contact Conor in TaskLight today on 01 901 0304 or conor@tasklight.ie to start your free 30-day trial of Office 365 and discover your dream office.

The Post-Social Care Ireland Catchup Post

Last week, I (Conor) spent Wednesday and Thursday attending the Social Care Ireland 2012 Conference, which took place in the Ormonde Hotel in Kilkenny. With such beautiful weather, it might seem a shame to spent two days inside in a conference, but it was well worth it for us. I had been involved in a voluntary capacity in implementing an online ticketing system for the conference (using Eventbrite, which I would highly recommend - feel free to get in contact if you need any advice around this) and when the topic of paying for an exhibition table came up, I jumped at the opportunity. The SCI conference is the perfect opportunity for me, as the provider of a solution to the social care sector, to meet potential clients and get crucial feedback. Over the course of the two days I spoke to many social care workers, unit managers, operations managers and company directors about the current internal systems and processes they used to record the data on their young people, while also outlining TaskLight's offering and providing hands-on demos of our solution, TIMS (TaskLight Information Management System). I learned a lot from the two days, including that one care provider pays €150 a month in archiving costs for all of the paper records of the young people who have ever been in their care and that these records are archived every 3 months! The legal requirement to store a copy of the information on the young people in care indefinitely is absolutely justified and necessary, but the requirement to store a paper copy might be prohibitively expensive. In this case, for example, to read an incident report that is only four months old, the provider must find the relevant barcode of the report, contact the archiving company and wait up to 5 days to receive the report - all of this while, with TIMS, you would be able to read that information in less than a minute! Demonstrating this to the provider, they were blown away and could immediately see the benefits. Anyway, it was great to meet so many people in the industry and to get some warm feedback about TIMS. Enjoy this photo of our stand (below). That big iMac was playing our 'A Story About a Residential Care Company' video, which also seemed to get a lot of people's attention! You'll see me there, looking busy, as well as a giant tub of chocolates which, at times, seemed equally as popular as TIMS! Social Care Ireland Conference - Photo of our stand with Conor (and the tub of Roses)Social Care Ireland Conference - Photo of our stand with Conor (and the tub of Roses)

Microsoft reduces costs of Office 365, effective immediately

March 15, 2012 Leave a reply General News
In what I consider to be an excellent turn of events, Microsoft have reduced the cost of their Office 365 user licenses, by as much as 20%. Microsoft has reduced the E1 price from €9 per user per month to €7.25 per user per month. This means a cost saving of €840 a year for a company with 40 E1 users (which includes Exchange email, Lync instant communicator and SharePoint collaboration platform). Apparently, the cost of additional storage on SharePoint Online will also be coming down by a massive 92%, but I have not been verify to find this on Office 365's Irish site. In a blog post on the Office 365 blog, Kirk Koenigsbauer from Microsoft's Office Division said that:
As we rapidly add customers, the cost to run Office 365 becomes more efficient. This is the beauty of the cloud where we can deliver economies of scale through our worldwide data centers and economies of skill with our engineers, administrators, and support teams operating the service.
This might hint to further reductions in the cost of Office 365 in the future. We'll keep you informed if this happens. We use Office 365 extensively and would highly recommend it for a flexible, cloud-based email, communication and collaboration system.

Microsoft to Expand Dublin Data Centre

February 24, 2012 Leave a reply General News
Microsoft has announced plans to expand its Sandyford-based EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) data centre, with an investment of €98 million. Expanding its data centre is in-line with the company's recent moves to get away from the more traditional hard-packaged software and towards its SAAS (software-as-a-service) future. At partner training a few weeks ago, a Microsoft employee told us that the future for Microsoft was the cloud and that's where the majority of their focus will be. The expansion of the Dublin data centre could be an excellent step for Irish businesses, which already benefit from the company's presence and considerable workforce. The Dublin data centre currently serves a multitude of countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Italy and Romania and hosts services like Office 365. You can read more in this article on the Irish Times website.