Why Microsoft Office 365 is a winner for small and medium businesses
There are few people who would deny that cloud computing has been a game changer for small and medium enterprises. It has enabled companies to become more mobile, enjoy great flexibility to cope with changing demands and circumstances, and to save money on hardware, staff and maintenance costs.
But business owners have increasing options when it comes to cloud computing, so it’s worth looking at the big players out there. And surely the biggest of these is Microsoft’s Office 365 suite. This is a subscription plan that includes access to Office applications delivered over the internet and available on a range of devices. Office 365 isn’t just one software solution, but instead includes several different Microsoft services. And they come in a number of combinations depending on which particular package you select as a business owner.
As a business owner thinking about using cloud technology, you’ll have some basic expectations including:
- The ability to share documents and files so that your staff have round-the-clock access and can collaborate on projects
- Mobility so that even people outside of the office can access systems via laptops and tablets, and sync up with the office staff
- Enhanced internal communications and the chance to share knowledge about all aspects of the business
While you’ll certainly experience enhanced collaboration and communications, there are a range of other benefits to be enjoyed by using Office 365. So let’s take a look at them.
Enjoy low upfront costs
Every owner of a small business tends to keep his or her eye on the bottom line and a tight hold on the purse strings. But when it comes to Office 365, they find that costs are very reasonable, especially when taking into account the savings to be made down the line as you find you no longer have to splash out cash for servers and software licences.
Office 365’s upfront costs are reasonable, with subscription plans that can be as low as $7 per user, per month if you just want to make use of hosted email, a vital tool for any business. But even if you upgrade to the desktop version of the Office productivity suite, it can cost as little as $13.20 a month. It is the application licensing that affects the price, so lower-level packages include the online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, whereas higher-level packages include fully licensed versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote that can be used on several different computers.
Being able to sign up for a plan that meets your exact requirements for a predictable fee each month is good for budgeting, and you can scale up or down as you like depending on fluctuations in your business.
Make use of multiple licences
Small businesses can install Office 365 desktop applications on up to five machines per user. This makes it an ideal software package for the growing numbers of companies that operate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Your staff can install the office suite on a second laptop for home use, or a tablet that uses the Windows operating system. This means they can work on the go and still have access to documents and desktops.
Email and calendaring service Microsoft Exchange has been totally redesigned to work within the cloud. Small businesses using Office 365 get this vital program as part of the package, and so avoid the costs of having to deploy it in-house. You also get the advantage of state-of-the-art malware and spam protection thrown in, something you’d have to pay extra for if you were to buy an on-premise Exchange solution.
One of the biggest benefits of Office 365 for small businesses is that your staff can access their software, files and documents wherever they might be by using their laptops, phones and tablets. All your software runs in Microsoft’s data centre so, as long as you can connect to the internet, you have access to the software.
Familiarity and collaboration
Microsoft Office has been around since the ‘80s, so millions of people around the world are comfortable using this software and know their way around it. And applications such as Office word processing software are just the same in Office 365, and used in the same way. So there’s no need for any extra training or a learning curve for your staff that will slow down productivity.
The advantage Office 365 has over the old versions of Office is that your staff can now easily collaborate, share documents and work on them at the same time, all thanks to SharePoint Online. All changes are synchronized and saved automatically, saving time and the tedious back-and-forth of email tag. Your team stays in sync and document management becomes easier than ever.
The experts at Empower IT know all the ins and outs of Office 365, and can help you choose the package that best suits the needs of your business. So if you’re thinking about heading into the cloud sometime soon, why not give us a call and find out more?