For those of you that are not familiar with Microsoft Online Services, it is a set of enterprise software that Microsoft host in our datacenter and deliver to organizations of all sizes as a subscription service. The service that is currently available under this umbrella is the Business Productivity Online Suite which includes SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Office Live Meeting and Office Communications Online. Prices start at $10/user/month for the standard version of the suite. What we are introducing today is the Deskless Worker version which is sold at substantially lower price point with reduced functionality of SharePoint and Exchange Online. Customer can also purchase any of the individual services within our suites separately. It is available in both the standard (multi-tenant) or the dedicated version.
It is important that we align the right offering for the right users. Let’s take a closer look at what are the profiles of these users. First is the traditional set of users we have been using our productivity products. We call these Office Workers. These are users that has an assigned work PC or laptop. They create, edit content, collaborate electronically co-workers and are always connected, sometimes via mobile devices. For those users, the right offering is Office Pro Plus as their client apps and the BPOS full feature suite. Deskless workers are very different. They do not have assigned PC or laptop. Do not create content and with very limited collaboration needs. They access these applications infrequently, less than 5% of their time on computer and are not licensed for Exchange or SharePoint and do not access these info via mobile devices. . When we designed the features, we were aiming at users that currently don’t have email and collaboration capabilities today or what we call “white space” users. This is the profile of deskless workers.
Let’s look through some examples of deskless workers. The common tasks they perform with the messaging and collaboration tool is to access product or customer information, use basic email and calendar capabilities or participate in workflows. Most of these users get access to these contents today either through paper based methods or through consumer grade messaging like Hotmail. It is not that IT don’t want to provide them with the corporate messaging and collaboration tools but they simply are too expensive to do so. Here are some examples of the types of users in different industries based on research we have done. In retail, these are users such as cashiers and stockers. At a hotel, they are front desk, security, concierge or front-office employees in a financial institution; In manufacturing, they are factory worker, forklift drivers; Deskless workers however are not restricted to the blue collar workers; We see deskless workers also in white collar jobs such as a health care providers in a health clinic as an example.As you can see, deskless workers exists in almost every industry.
Customers have found that increasingly as they move to automation and other process optimization, they need to give these deskless workers the same access to information and tool set that office workers uses in order to efficiently perform their jobs. With our deskless worker offer, we address many of the pain points our customer is facing. The first and especially in this economic climate is cost. We our deskless offer, we give customers a financial benefit over their current paper based offering or the cost if they had to provide them with their existing messaging and collaboration tool. The advantage of Online services is that customer can shift from capital expenditures to lower predicable operation expenditures. The second area is security and reliability as compared to customers that disseminate information via consumer messaging tool. Our service is delivered with finanicially backed SLA in a geo-redundant datacenters. Another area is compliance and accountability. With Exchange Online for example, we can confirm receipt of information and with optional archiving service, customer can perform e-discovery in legal litigation cases.Culturally, it is increasingly important to fold these deskless workers into the fabric of the rest of the company. Many companies want to make sure these workers not alienated because of unequal access. Another direct business impact is reduced productivity because they either don’t get the information at all or not at the right time. Finally, the importance of consistent, familiarity and integration between the different classes of users. This is one of our key advantage with our offering. We can give all employees of the company a same set of vocabulary when they discuss how information is shared, posted. For example, when employees use word such as global address book, free/busy, delegation, lists, blogs, they can expect to mean the same thing to everyone.
Let’s take a closer look at the features as compared to the full feature offering. The key distinctions are highlighted in yellow. In Exchange Online, the key differences are the default mailbox size: 500 MB versus 5GB. We also do not allow Deskless Worker to increase storage. Another important area is access. Deskless Worker access email via the OWA light viewing experience and it is their only means of access. They cannot access via Outlook, POP/IMAP or active sync today.
On the SharePoint side, Deskless workers will have ability to read, search, open download content and to fill our forms and participate in workflows. What they cannot do is to create/change/post documents and to create/change sites and their designs. Deskless worker license also do not come with any storage.
One important thing to note is that the current version SharePoint Online do not have the ability to technically enforce the restrictions we discussed other than storage. We are planning to have these enforcement features in future versions. To avoid any potential upgrade issues, it is important that we educate our customer to design their sites and permission appropriately. The key is to setup two types of sites. The first type are primarily read-only sites. Examples of these are portal sites. The second type are collaboration sites such as team sites. Once these two site types are created. We can provide deskless workers and office workers read-only access to these “portal” sites while only give “create/edit” access to office workers on the collaboration sites. By keeping these two site types separate and granting deskless users only to the portal sites, it will assure a smooth transition to future versions of the SharePoint that will have these technical rights enforcements.
Business Productivity for Deskless Workers May 2009
Microsoft Online Services Enterprise class software delivered via subscription services hosted by Microsoft and sold with partners Business Productivity Online Suite Business Productivity Online Deskless Worker Suite (Deskless Worker Version) (Deskless Worker Version) Based on User Subscription License; Requires Annual Commitment
Right Offering for the Right Users Office Pro Plus Office Workers Profile
Examples of Deskless Workers “We’re a retail shop. We have 800 stores so we have plenty of cashiers and stockers. We also have a lot of seasonal help.“ “At a hotel there’s the 24-hour employees: front desk, security, concierges … and then there’s housekeeping, engineers, cashiers.” “Manufacturing: The shop floor people.” “Support people who are custodial, or trading floor helpers who work on our financial trading floor but don’t do anything in a back-office type environment.” “Guys who drive forklifts or test coffee samples, and since we also have real estate property holdings, there’s the guys who have to go up and put on light bulbs or make sure the elevator is working.” “We are a health clinic. We have heath care providers that work at our clinics on a part-time basis and we want to have a secure way to communicate with them.” Common tasks
No integration with existing information architecture
Exchange Online Deskless Details
SharePoint Online Deskless Worker Details Licensing restriction only and not technically enforced in this version
SharePoint Online Deskless Site Setup GuidanceEnsure a smooth transition to future versions with enforcement features Read Only Read Only Read Only Deskless Worker Create/Edit Read Only Create/Edit Create/Edit Office Worker Setup Guidance
Create separate site collections for deskless and Office Worker use
Create deskless site collections and give read-only access to all users (deskless and office workers)
Create office worker site collections and give access only to office workers
Specifically do not give deskless workers access to office worker site collections.
Learn More BPOS Standard
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Technical Information on TechNet http://technet.microsoft.com/msonline