Microsoft has put the next hand of its cloud computing strategy down on the green baize in announcing Office 365 bringing together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service.

In a press release Microsoft says: “Office 365 is more than a new brand. It’s a progressive approach to cloud applications,” said Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division. “We designed Office 365 to work for a business of one – or a business of one million and one.”

The press blurb continues: “To date, only the largest businesses have been able to take advantage of modern, enterprise-calibre IT solutions. Office 365 changes that. No longer will enterprise technologies be reserved for traditional office workers and the larger organizations that can afford their own data centres. Instead, organizations of all sizes and people in all types of jobs will use enterprise-grade collaboration tools, social networks and unified communications to improve the way they work – and never again be trapped behind the firewall or on applications from last decade.

“In a few clicks, a small business can get enterprise-calibre productivity applications, an expansive capacity to grow, and a team of IT and security experts on its side. It’s not realistic for a small company to acquire these resources on its own, but delivered at scale, customers can get these solutions at a dramatically lower cost – saving 10-50% over comparable alternatives.”

Scaling an infrastructure is a key message from Microsoft which quotes a UK farm co-operative example: Milk Link, a co-op dairy of 1,500 British farmers, has a diverse workforce that includes remote workers, employees from acquisitions, and people in different roles at various farms, processing plants and distribution centers.

Using Office 365, the dairy will have the ability to pay only for the technology it needs. Some workers will have basic e-mail; others will have mobile applications; and still others will have full versions of Exchange and SharePoint, according to the requirements of different jobs.