Microsoft continued with its aggressive online strategy by recently announcing that Microsoft Online Services, the much hyped online versions of the company's popular on-premise messaging and collaboration solutions - SharePoint, Exchange, and Communications Server, will be available for trial in 19 countries in Europe and Asia, starting in April.
Also in April, MS will launch its “Deskless Worker Suite”, including Exchange Online Deskless Worker and SharePoint Online Deskless Worker, which are stripped down online services for “deskless workers”, workers with a limited need for email access and online collaboration.
Earlier, the Deskless Worker Suite has received its share of flak from industry pundits who believe it targets a non existent chunk of the workforce. According to one expert “giving employees read-only access to important information such as company policies, training, and benefits.” constitutes a “reality-gap in Microsoft’s online strategy that needs a little fixing.” He further goes on to say that although deskless workers don’t interface with enterprise information much, but when they do “the needs are complex, very often mission-critical, and almost always interactive in nature.”The point is well taken, and raises the need of intermediate solutions for these “deskless workers”, which are not so stripped down as the Deskless Worker Suite, which reduces workers to passive recipients of information, or so complex as Microsoft’s full blown online services, which would overwhelm a non IT expert.
Such solutions do already exist. A case in point is the HyperOffice Collaboration Suite, which brings a nice mix of interactive functionality, and user friendliness. It is primarily targeted towards small businesses, whose needs are similar to those of deskless workers – the ability to easily access corporate documents, email, policies, contacts, schedules, or tasks; interact with and contribute to this information; do it flexibly (from any web connected PC, Mac or mobile); and do it easily (HyperOffice’s functionality is very simple and just about anybody can use it).