Free software isn’t always cheaper in the end. I’m dealing with a horrible cluster of open source software on one project; we barely get anything done with all the time we spend trying to figure how the software works. My recent web projects have been in Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, and with Microsoft tools. I’ve even been playing with Tumblr and Squarespace. But (and this is hard to admit) Microsoft’s new “cloud offerings” have me going to trainings and up nights studying.
Between Office 365, Intune, and Dynamics CRM Online, you’ll be able to get a business or non-profit of the small size I often work with rigged up for very little money up front. Besides the analysis, customization, and set-up fees, everything can be monthly – Windows, Office, Exchange, SharePoint, conferencing, anti-virus, patching, CRM, and web hosting. Non-profits will be able get most of that for $15 per month per user. This means a really small firm can have systems and tools as good as the big guys without having any servers or one Small Business Server. (The MS cloud telephony story isn’t complete, yet. If you want landlines, you may still need a box in the closet.)
I’m not sure I’m going start specializing in MS stuff, but I’m considering it. MS really wants to beat Google and Salesforce in the cloud migration game we’ve all been hearing so much about. I signed up as a partner and even got a Windows Phone.