Microsoft Office 365 Planner in the works since last fall, is now broadly available, at least to customers with the appropriate Office 365 versions.
Planner will, in theory, boost Office 365’s collaboration talents by letting work groups create shared plans, assign and collaborate on tasks, set deadlines, and more, according to the Microsoft (MSFT) blog post announcing the news. The new program is comparable to Trello, another software application that works well for organizing workgroup tasks.
Office 365 is a set of Microsoft’s desktop word processing, email, spreadsheet, and other software applications delivered on a subscription basis. It differs from the company’s traditional software sales model in which customers run full versions of the software on their own PCs and servers.
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The software giant is banking on Office 365 to keep its super-profitable Office and email franchises humming in an era where many customers get their applications delivered over the internet, with updates and security patches handled by the provider on its own hardware.
Microsoft often touts Office 365 adoption—on its most recent earnings call, it said the subscription’s revenue was up more than 60% year over year. Revenue growth is one thing, actual usage may be another as recent third-party research showed only 7.5% of 109,000 U.S. mid-sized companies surveyed are using it.
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One issue could be a bewildering array of different Office 365 versions. According to the Microsoft post:
Over the next several weeks, Planner will roll out to all eligible Office 365 customers worldwide. This includes Office 365 Enterprise E1–E5, Business Essentials, Premium and Education subscription plans.
If you get that, good for you. But mere mortals might wonder: “Why so many versions?”