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Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog.
Welcome to my series on Office 365 ProPlus for the administrator. Some of you will have used various components of Office 365 and in some cases be able to skip past large sections of this blog series and others may be new to the concepts in Office 365 ProPlus and will want to know how it might impact their current software distribution, Windows imaging or software management processes. I have a long history in Windows imaging and deployment and prior to that worked heavily with systems management products to deliver and manage software, and I think that will come out as I write about all of the IT pro features for Office 365 ProPlus and related topics. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best software engineers, testers and program managers over the last couple of years and we are excited to present and deliver a lot of new IT value related to Office deployment and management technologies.
This blog series builds on the Office and the Cloud blog authored today by John Jendrezak and will go into a lot of depth in subsequent posts. I posted this series in reverse order should it should read from top to bottom like one contiguous long blog, but I do plan to address further topics and do some hands-on integration in the future with management tools we can use to automate Office 365 ProPlus deployment, like System Center Configuration Manager, Windows Intune and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.
Office 365 ProPlus builds on the culmination of several technologies – from application streaming to cloud services – to enable new user and administrative experiences to support Office as a Service. Unlike previous iterations of Office application suites, Office 365 ProPlus enables users to get to rich Office experiences quickly on any Windows 7 or newer PC and have their files and personalized settings follow them from PC to PC.
Whether at home, at work or on the go, Office is now connected by the person using Office, not by the device – that means each user can install Office on all the computers they own or use. The Office 365 ProPlus installation does not require you to uninstall or upgrade from previous Office versions, instead it streams Office down to you PC alongside your existing Office applications. Streaming enables you to start using Office in a fraction of the time needed for older generation Office installations – you can use Office while it continues to stream in the background.
Once Office 365 ProPlus is launched, you sign in to Office and it automatically links you to your files, settings, personalization and even will point you to the last position you were reading in a document, regardless of the computer you are using. Because your Office is accessible anywhere, you can work across computers and Windows devices seamlessly – however you want.
When combined with SkyDrive Pro, Office 365 ProPlus also lets you use Office anywhere with Office on Demand, a new way to quickly deliver rich Office applications to a PC within seconds using application streaming technology. Office on Demand streams and launches a temporary copy of your favorite Office application without installing it and when you log off, there are no links back into the new Office applications and the files you were working on are no longer on that PC, but saved back into SkyDrive Pro by default. This will work on any Windows 7 or newer computer, whether you have an Administrator or Standard User account.
As you would expect, these new Office experiences can be delivered and managed on your organization’s terms. Office 365 ProPlus is designed to be suitable for small businesses to multinational corporations. IT administrators can control active users, software configurations and delivery, data access and connections to email and communication services. As you read on I will try to cover all of the areas that matter to IT and system administrators and also cover the major processes for assessing, testing, piloting, deploying and managing Office 365 ProPlus. I'm posting most of the major desktop application-related topics as one block of content, but intend to keep going. The next planned phase in the series is to show working integrated scenarios I've built with tools like System Center Configuration Manager 2012, Windows Intune and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. For now, these blogs are intended to show the architecture and core plumbing to enable deployment and management for organizations of all sizes. Feel free to submit content requests and give us your feedback.
Office Deployment Team