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By: Jim Higgins, IT Solutions
In anticipation of one of Microsoft’s most ambitious release cycles in the company’s history, members of the IT Solutions team traveled to Toronto in early July to find out what benefits these new and improved Microsoft products could offer our clients. As part of a Partner Conference record turnout of 16,000 representing 65 different countries, ITS was given every opportunity to learn about new features of products we’ve worked with for years - such as Office, Windows, and Server - along with new offerings and a glimpse into what the future holds for Microsoft and cutting-edge technology. Although in recent years Microsoft has been overshadowed in the media by companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook courtesy of the "consumerization" of IT, the message at WPC was that the tech giant is now embracing this theme and tailoring its vast array of products to meet the overlapping home and office computing needs of users. In keeping, it seems there wasn’t a session held or message delivered that didn’t include mention of the new Windows 8 touch screen user experience or the cloud, and its productivity value for both partners and clients. The week-long conference was comprised of keynote speeches by Microsoft executives and lead architects, as well as hundreds of breakout sessions providing partners of all sizes and competencies important insight on topics most relevant to their businesses.
Server, Data, and Cloud
Every software company has a cloud strategy and most of Microsoft’s premier business products are now completely cloud-compatible. For companies that no longer want to purchase, power, and maintain servers in their office, Microsoft, through its hosting partners, is offering every opportunity to move more safely and securely to the cloud than ever before. Two of IT Solutions’ most commonly deployed products: Windows Server and SQL Server - are both getting overhauls and the "2012" moniker, and promise to offer improved security and processing power for clients in the cloud. Windows Server 2012 is due to be released to manufacturing this month and generally available to customers worldwide in September. With Windows Server at its core, the cloud operating system offers partners like ITS and their clients a modern, yet familiar, platform for the world’s applications.
Windows Server 2012 features include:
SQL Server features include:
Demos of the new Microsoft operating system, due to go on sale in October, took center stage on Day 1, with a detailed overview of the slick, touch metro user interface on a variety of devices – from laptops, to tablets of different sizes, to the new Windows phone and XBox. While the interface took the majority of the spotlight, partners were also intrigued by practical new features, such as a pre-loaded Messenger app which allows you to sync various instant messaging services into one hub. For a full release preview and info on downloading a preview of the prerelease product visit this link.
The latest version of the productivity suite offers many of the same features as its predecessors (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook) along with other programs. And of course is 100% accessible online via Office 365. There are pros and cons to both the traditional on-premise version and Office 365 so be sure to speak with an IT Solutions representative before making a decision to go in one direction or the other. As for general features, here are a few worth mentioning:
Over the next year you will see a new direction from Microsoft with unified communications, SharePoint, Dynamics, including the ever-growing CRM product, and more. As a certified Gold Partner of Microsoft, IT Solutions has access to products well before they are released. We have already begun vigorously testing these products and will continue to recommend, deploy and support them for our clients’ success. Stay tuned to the newsletter for more details on specific product releases and updates in the months ahead. And if you’re interested in a demo or discussion about one or more of the new releases, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a complimentary session.