I decided to take a look at Office 365 to let Microsoft host SharePoint for us, but it turns that Office 365 wants to do a lot more thanjust SharePoint hosting for you.
Here is our current collaboration/document management setup
- We host our own SharePoint server on a dedicated server which is probably an overkill as far as the hardware goes, but it nice to have.
- We let Google apps handle our email. Google docs are ok, but I prefer SharePoint for document and list management.
- Our main public website uses a simple solution of DreamWeaver + SVN
The initial setup process for Office 365 is very simple. My initial impression of the admin page was really good.
I did not move email hosting to Office 365 as it was not my intention and Google seems to be working just fine, plus Android in it integration is great.
I was a bit disappointed with the way SharePoint was set up. It seem like you get one site collection and you are forced to have a top level site with a custom publishing master page. Collaboration and document management are supposed to take place at the sub sites.
- http://pilothouse.sharepoint.com – main site collection setup with a custom publishing master page. The intention here is that you would move your public website here.
http://pilothouse.sharepoint.com/teamsite – sub site with a team site template
I believe that Office 365 would be better off just focusing on internal collaboration and document management instead of trying to build a so so external site on SharePoint. After looking around this setup I decided that I like the flexibility that we currently have with our SharePoint setup and will not be moving anything to Office 365 just yet. Also, I don’t have a Windows 7 phone to see how well the integration works; I assume for some organizations it will be important.
Overall, I never felt that the publishing feature was how you start selling SharePoint ot a business that has not used SharePoint before, but ti certainly seems a strategy for Office 365. We’ll see if they change it soon.