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Microsoft Adds Access to Office 365 Business Plans

Subscribers of Office 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium plans will soon be able to use the Microsoft Access relational database management system.

Currently, those two plans don't include Access, although it's frequently included in various Microsoft Office product suite offerings.

Business and Business Premium subscribers will start to receive Access automatically "between December 1, 2016 and January 30, 2017," according to Microsoft's announcement on Friday.

However, if an organization subscribing to either of those two plans has elected to get Office 365 updates via the "deferred channel" update process, then Access will start to arrive in June 2017.

Microsoft releases its Office 365 updates in so-called "channels," as illustrated in this TechNet article. Monthly update releases are called the "current channel." Updates arriving every four months are called the "deferred channel." The "first release for deferred channel" update release arrives every four months and is designed for testing purposes. Office 365 updates arrive via Microsoft's "click-to-run" streaming update technology. The click-to-run process will automatically update clients, so Access will just show up for the subscriber when it's available.

Access is described as a database management system that can be used to develop business applications. It doesn't require much IT end user support, according to Microsoft.

"Access is a great database management solution for small businesses because it makes collecting and storing data accessible on the desktop -- without requiring support from an IT administrator," Microsoft's announcement explained.

Presumably, there will be no extra cost for Office 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium subscribers to get Access.

In other Access news, Microsoft is planning to broaden the data sources available for those Access users subscribed to the Office 365 ProPlus E3 and E5 subscription plans. The expanded access will happen through new connectors for Access, including "OData Feed, Dynamics CRM, Salesforce and Amazon Redshift" connectors, the announcement stated.

The new Access connectors for Office 365 ProPlus E3 and E5 subscriptions will start to become available in "early 2017." More connectors will be "on the way," Microsoft promised.

Microsoft lately seems to be breathing new life into Access. In September, Microsoft announced that Access 2016 was receiving support for dBase files. The support was actually added back to the product after Microsoft removed it from Access 2013.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.