Should You be Switching to Office 365?
Microsoft Office is an essential for most organisations with office-based staff. The suite of products covers all the staples of the office environment – from PowerPoint presentations to Excel spreadsheets, Word and productivity apps.
Until 2011, Microsoft Office was sold using a traditional licencing model; you pay once to buy the licence, install the software locally, then can use the software indefinitely.
Then, in 2011 Microsoft launched Office 365 – a new way of delivering Office products to its customers.
Office 365 is an umbrella term which covers the new, updated version of all Microsoft Office applications and also a range of different cloud-based software. For example; Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint. A significant advantage of Office 365 is the seamless integration between solutions and the ease of collaboration with colleagues. Add to this access to new productivity tools such as Microsoft Teams, Yammer and Skype for Business and Office 365 offers small and medium-sized businesses a great deal of advantages.
One of the main differences between Office 365 and the previous versions of the Microsoft suite is the payment method. Previously, you could purchase the Microsoft products by just buying a license key but now it has been replaced with a subscription model where organisations pay a fixed fee every month per user.
Besides the pricing model, Office 365 differs in that it gives you the choice of packages to suit your business needs. The Business package includes all standard Office software which is suitable for businesses who mainly need applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Business Premium package also covers all standard Office applications as well as cloud solutions including Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive storage with allocated space in the cloud. Finally, the Essential package focuses only on the cloud-based applications such as Exchange and OneDrive without the Microsoft suite.
By April 2017, Microsoft had more than 100 million monthly active users of its Office 365 service.
The untapped potential of the cloud
However, with more than 1.2 billion users of Microsoft’s Office products worldwide, still there are many people who haven’t heard of Office 365 as a business solution. There are also some businesses who are not entirely convinced about the benefits of using the cloud.
What is holding organisations back?
Feedback from our customers has shown that some worry about committing to a fixed monthly cost each month, while other businesses may be concerned about the quality of their Internet connection affecting the reliability of the service.
While these fears are understandable, they can be addressed and need not be a deal breaker – especially for small and mid-size businesses who have the most to gain from making the switch.
Small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) stand to gain the most because, without the economies of scale to offset the IT expense on hosting on-premise, SMBs will get the most value from a shift to the service model of Office 365.
The potential to reduce IT overheads by using Office 365
Another benefit – especially for SMBs – of implementing Office 365 solution is the feature of being able to synchronise user accounts with Azure Active Directory which eliminates the need of having a server on-premise, therefore reducing costs of purchasing and maintaining hardware.
When you are paying Microsoft to deliver a service, it is Microsoft’s responsibility to ensure that service is operational, up-to-date and fully functional. With a significant proportion of responsibility (and risk) removed from the business, IT staff can be freed up for project work or activities that will contribute to the bottom line.
The other advantages of switching to Office 365
Besides the fact that Microsoft is shouldering the burden for much of the IT activity you used to have to manage for yourself under a perpetual licence model, the other significant advantage of using Office 365 for SMBs is the fact that you know your Microsoft products are always up to date.
This represents a significant security advantage for your business, since out-of-date software is often subject to security vulnerabilities.
Other security enhancements within Office 365 include: encrypted email, data loss prevention policies, mobile device management and advanced threat analytics.
What’s more, since the subscription model can be scaled up and down as required, Office 365 does deliver another of the important advantages of cloud solutions: flexibility.
Grant McGregor can offer advice about making the switch to Office 365 and support you through the process. Whether you’re moving from existing traditional licence model for Microsoft products or want to make the shift from Google Apps to Office 365, we can offer the advice and support you need.
Call our team now on 0808 164 4142.