Eric Swift on Office 365

Eric Swift on Office 365

by System Account on 10/19/2010 8:34 AM

This week our President Kurt DelBene let the world know of our plans to release Office 365 and I wanted to share my thoughts on the announcement and positive impact it will have on the market, SharePoint customers, and our partners. Today Office, Exchange, Lync and SharePoint provide the productivity backbone for many organizations. With these products, companies are already seeing great results and high ROI. With Office 365 we’re proud to announce the next step in the future of productivity, bringing together these capabilities in an always-up-to-date cloud service. It provides businesses of all sizes with professional grade productivity solutions at a predictable monthly cost.

To date, SharePoint 2010 is a huge hit with our customers. When I joined the business earlier this year, I was impressed with the passion shown by customers and partners using the product to transform the way their organizations collaborate and share information. We have more than 17,000 customers and 100 million people that rely on SharePoint every day. Now, with SharePoint Online as part of Office 365, millions more will be able to benefit from the power of SharePoint.

With great applications, SharePoint Online helps organizations and professionals create sites to securely share information, insights, and important documents with colleagues, customers, and partners.

It’s simple to create Office documents and save them directly to SharePoint Online, easy to access your content off-line or on your phone, and quickly share information and insights using familiar tools.

And, with Office 365, organizations get the full benefit of Office, Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint because it is designed to work together.

For SharePoint developers and independent software vendors (ISV’s), the opportunities to configure and extend SharePoint Online today include the ability to:

  • configure master pages, templates, page layouts, and site columns
  • customize the site UI with custom Silverlight controls, navigation or functional controls
  • build customized document workflows, using data and documents contained within SharePoint Online
  • customize lists and content types
  • use Sandbox Solutions to build custom web parts
  • design browser based forms using InfoPath forms

Please visit the MSDN SharePoint Online Developer Resource Center to learn more about the opportunities to extend and customize SharePoint Online.

I know many ISV’s will be wondering how to support some of the rich solutions created for SharePoint 2010, such as those that rely on full-trust code or connect to back-end systems using Business Connectivity services (BCS). Over time we intend to enable many of these features online, such as BCS. Others like full-trust code require a new approach to run effectively in a highly scalable shared service. As we move towards public availability we will be providing further guidance on how we will be moving the capabilities or providing alternative approaches to support these advanced scenarios online.

For IT professionals and site administrators, SharePoint Online offers easy ways to plan, set up and manage your SharePoint Online service using the SharePoint Online Administration Center including the ability to:

  • set up a new service
  • create or delete a site collection
  • build extranet sites and invite customers and partners securely
  • manage administrators for a site collection
  • change storage quota and warning level
  • access end user support and training content

Please visit the TechNet SharePoint Online Administration and Planning site for guidance on setting up and managing your SharePoint Online service and stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

The announcement of Office 365 is an important milestone for the SharePoint business and I am looking forward to the opportunity it will bring to many more organizations and professionals who can now benefit from the power of SharePoint. Starting today, we begin testing Office 365 with a few thousand organizations around the world. Over time, we’ll expand the beta to more organizations as we prepare to launch the service worldwide next year. I encourage you to learn more about SharePoint Online and sign up for the Office 365 beta at

-Eric Swift

General Manager
SharePoint Product Management Group