Microsoft today is announcing the launch of Microsoft Bookings, a new web-based Office 365 application that businesses can use to handle appointments that their customers make.
The app will become available initially in a First Release build for companies that pay for the Office 365 Business Premium service tier and will later roll out to all Office 365 Business Premium customers.
Business owners will be able to use the app to track their customers, add appointments, assign staffers to specific appointments, set rules for cancellation policies, and enable reminder emails for customers, the Office 365 team said in a blog post.
Bookings can add employees’ appointments to Outlook calendars or Google calendars, Microsoft said. End users can simply share their names and email addresses when they request appointments. The only person who needs to use Office 365 is the business owner.
Bookings is the latest expansion of the Office 365 line of products, and Office 365 is a significant part of Microsoft, as the company continues its shift away from desktop software and toward cloud services.
Other recent Office 365 product launches include GigJam and Planner. Office 365 revenue grew 54 percent year over year in the second quarter of this year, and it had more than 23 million subscribers, Microsoft said yesterday.
Appointment software is easy to overlook, but it’s ultimately an extension of calendar coordination, and calendars are a core part of Microsoft Outlook, which is a domain of Office. Microsoft has picked up talent and technology in the calendaring domain through its acquisitions of Acompli and Sunrise Atelier. Now, Microsoft is taking additional action with a dedicated application that will compete with existing services, including Square Appointments and Schedulista.
A Bookings mobile app for business owners is on the way, Microsoft said.