Firstly what is Office 365?
Microsoft Office 365 in a general sense is an integrated platform of services. It primarily includes hosted email services using Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook etc. for your desktop, online, phone and tablet devices), and software and file sharing services through OneDrive / SharePoint Online.
You can purchase some, all or a mixture of services, which are priced on an ongoing monthly fee per user. This becomes especially helpful for businesses as this shifts the expense from one being of a capital nature to an operational nature. Meaning that rather outlaying large costs in the beginning of your start-up (and upgrades every few years or so) to one where you are outlaying significantly reduced costs per month. Microsoft offers aggressively reduced prices for non-profits and educational organisations. Read below for our take on the positives and negatives of Office 365.
Why use 365?
If you’re a relatively new business, especially on the smaller side you can potentially avoid much of the heavy start-up costs if you start with Office 365. You won’t have to pay for servers, expensive one-off software licenses etc. When you’re starting out every penny counts.
Even if you are an existing business with your own servers it’s still an incredible cost saving to house your data in Office 365. Outgrowing your server is no longer an issue and upgrading no longer costs a fortune.
You are always using the latest software
Office 365 is constantly being upgraded with new features and bug fixes. No more re-purchasing and upgrading to newer versions.
It’s with you on every device at any time
One Office 365 business license allows for up to 5 installs of the office software – so your Desktop, Laptop, Tablet and Phone can all use and run Office. There are many options available so check which best suits your business needs.
Since Office 365 is a cloud based system you can work anywhere at any time. Work from home, at the office or on the beach. As long as you have an internet connection you can work. This becomes especially helpful for mobile teams where most of the work is no longer done at a desk.
Office 365 downsides
Speed and reliability
Since most of Office 365 is cloud based, a reliable and fast internet connection is a must in order to use Office 365. You won’t be able to finish your work or communicate with coworkers without it.
Control and security
Your data will be held on Microsoft’s own servers. Although in their terms of service you will always own that data, it does require a lot of trust on the consumer side that Microsoft will take care of their data. Meaning that they protect your data from hackers, maintain their policies pricing and legal compliance etc.
Service and support
While Microsoft is usually pretty good when it comes to their service and support. If anything does go wrong with your account you are at the mercy of Microsoft to fix the fault. The support team are responsive however you are not in control of this timeline.
Most businesses are transitioning to the cloud as it is one of the most cost-effective options for storing and communicating data. If you haven’t transitioned already, now is the time.