Office 365: the good, the bad, & the cloud

In a previous post, we discussed the rise of cloud applications. One such application, which we have been busy helping clients migrate to this fall, is Office 365. Many people don’t know what all Office 365 includes, why it might be beneficial for their enterprise, and when is appropriate to make the move (if the enterprise hasn’t already).

What is Office 365?

Office 365 lives in the cloud. This means clients have access to any of the Office products, including Word, Excel, Outlook, Lync, and other Microsoft Office tools from virtually any device (e.g. Windows or Mac desktops and laptops, Android devices, iPhones, iPads, and other smartphones and tablets) via the internet.

Office 365 is a subscription service, so one payment provides you access to the most recent version of Office products, extra online storage through OneDrive, and ongoing tech support at no extra cost. Different Office 365 plans are available for home and personal use, as well as for small and midsized businesses, enterprises, schools, and nonprofits.

Why Choose Office 365?

There are five reasons that we recommend Office 365 to our clients:

    COST SAVINGS

    Office 365 presents a variety of cost-savings opportunities. Because the platform uses a pay-as-you-go subscription model, your enterprise will be able to avoid the upfront and additional ongoing costs associated with on-premise hosting. Additionally, Office 365’s automatic upgrades will decrease organizational IT management costs.

    PRODUCTIVITY GAINS
    One of the downsides to on-premise servers is that every time they update, they can take the server offline for hours at a time. What happens when patches and updates go wrong? Downtime for your employees. With Office 365, Microsoft handles all updates in a way that doesn’t affect availability. In other words, email stays up, and your team can keep working, even in the midst of product updates.
    Office 365 also offers standardized tools, meaning you don’t need to remember multiple log-ins or learn new applications for each device. With Office 365 single sign-on (SSO), you have the same username and password to access email, SharePoint, OneDrive, and your Office apps on your devices.
    FLEXIBILITY
    In the past, many organizations opted for one-off purchases of Office products as they hired new employees. But what would happen if the employee left or the company downsized? Microsoft certainly doesn’t allow customers to return software for a refund. It becomes a sunk cost.
    Office 365 provides the flexibility to scale up or down with a pay-as-you-go pricing model that provides a predictable cost structure. You can scale up your service as your business grows with a simple phone call to quickly add a new user. Just like that, you have a new user set up with email, SharePoint, OneDrive, and office application access, and you avoid up-front costs for future employees that you may or may not have.
    UP TO DATE. ALWAYS.

    In the past, your IT department (or someone attempting to fill the shoes of an IT department) had to stay on top of updates by purchasing new licenses and maintaining software assurance agreements. As an Office 365 subscriber, you and your employees will always have access to the latest version of Office products, without the time and financial expense previously required.

    IT SUPPORT
    For those organizations that need help either preparing or executing a move to Office 365, or even maintaining it after it is up and running, Microsoft offers expert IT support services. While this might come at a bit of a premium, Microsoft is a trusted name in technology, and they have invested a lot of their dollars into an enterprise infrastructure to run Office 365, so it is worth it in our opinion.

When to Make the Move

Are you looking for cost savings? Or is your company approaching a period of growth or downsizing? Alternatively, are you hoping to simplify your IT department’s load? Or perhaps you don’t have an IT department and are looking for a solution that will serve your company’s performance needs without straining its support capabilities. If any of these reflect your organization’s situation, we suggest that you consider making the switch to Office 365.

One of the more puzzling aspects of moving to Office 365 can be the various options that exist. There are numerous plans that businesses can leverage, including Office 365 Kiosk plans, which are perfect for shared users (for example, shift workers in warehouses). Not sure where to start? Contact us today, and we’ll be happy to set up a time to identify which offering is right for you.

Once you’ve made this determination, it’s time to plan your move! Migration is relatively easy, but stay tuned for our key tips and tricks to make sure you don’t fall prey to the common mistakes we’ve seen in the past.