You’ve probably heard of Microsoft Office 365. It’s Microsoft’s offering of all the applications you’ve been using for years (Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.) hosted in the cloud.
In addition to these applications, Microsoft offers services such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams for even more ways your employees can stay connected and productive. But you may still be wondering how Office 365 can help your business.
In this article, we’ll identify how the Microsoft Office 365 environment can improve productivity and everyday operations across your organization.
Minimize IT Costs
Microsoft Office 365, and the services that tie those applications together, live on complex back-end systems—the kind that would cost us all a great deal of money if we tried to create them ourselves.
When you use Office 365, you leverage those back-end systems to get all the high-end features, without the cost of maintaining them. You only pay for the services you need, meaning you're getting the latest technology at a predictable monthly cost, allowing you easy management of your IT needs and budget.
One of the most important benefits is that Office 365 provides a seamless experience. It's built to be accessible from virtually any device, so your employees have the flexibility to work anywhere.
Once configured, each user will see the same information on each device connected to the Office 365 services (i.e., an email read on a mobile device is marked as read on your computer in the office). With virtually any web browser on a computer or mobile device, you’ll get secure access to productivity apps like Outlook and Microsoft Teams. Teams is not automatically included; you must purchase a license for it. You can rely solely on email for communication in Office 365 without needing Teams, so you can pick and choose your services.
Secure and Reliable
Office 365 applications and services are hosted in a secure environment with a guaranteed 99.9% uptime. While data is replicated to prevent a loss of data in the event of a catastrophic failure of a data center, the data itself is NOT backed up or available to restore in the event you delete something. You need a third-party service for this type of true backup. Luckily, there are many cost-effective options to provide true continuity.
Customized Plans to Fit Your Needs
Office 365 plans are subscription-based, which enables you to set an accurate budget and avoid unexpected technology costs.
Microsoft offers what’s known as “New Commerce Experience,” which essentially locks you into your plan. You can scale up, but you cannot go back down. For example, let’s say you have 25 365 Business Premium licenses with a one-year commitment. If you lay off 10 people, you cannot flex down by 10. You have to wait until your renewal period to go down. Now, in the spirit of making revenue, you can increase your license count at any time, you just can’t go down at any given time.
Check out this helpful comparison of the Office 365 plans and what they include.
Supercharge Your Productivity
Even users of Microsoft software like Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote aren’t always taking full advantage of the available secure collaboration tools. Using other Office 365 applications such as SharePoint, Planner, Teams and OneDrive can enhance your productivity by:
- Streamlining team communication with collaboration tools
- Minimizing disruptions with instant answers
- Getting measurable results from your projects
- Incentivizing your staff members
- Protecting confidential documents and sensitive information (Note: For this, you must purchase a data loss prevention or Azure Information Protection add-on service.)
You can learn more in our blog post, 5 Ways Microsoft Office 365 Can Supercharge Your Productivity.
Microsoft Cloud Productivity and Team Collaboration
The following Microsoft products can transform the way your team works, for the better.
Microsoft SharePoint makes it easy to share documents, collaborate and gain valuable insights without hassles.
With document libraries and integrated Microsoft Office document editing, SharePoint Online offers a convenient method to share and manage documents. You can create intranet sites to publish company news and information to all employees or extranet (public-facing) sites to share information with customers.
Whether your employees are collaborating with each other or with customers, SharePoint Online eliminates the need to email multiple versions of documents for approval. You can work in the same file simultaneously or use the built-in approval workflow.
Using SharePoint Online for business intelligence makes it easy for each of your employees to gain insight from data to make better, faster decisions. With the flexibility to integrate with business productivity and ERP systems, you can view up-to-the-minute information in the form of interactive dashboards and other data visualizations.
With SharePoint, you can get notified via email or text message whenever items are added or changed, or certain criteria are met. Stay connected on the go without missing an opportunity.
Microsoft Exchange Online helps you manage your email, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes from any device.
Anywhere Email Access
You check your email so many times throughout the day, so it's important to invest in something that's accessible and secure. With a guaranteed 99.9% uptime and a financially backed Service Level Agreement (SLA), you virtually never have to worry about losing access to email.
Exchange Online provides anytime access, allowing your employees to respond fast and experience less downtime when away from the office.
Minimal IT Costs
Exchange Online is quick to deploy and easy to administer with online management tools. Affordable monthly or annual subscriptions eliminate the expense of server infrastructure and maintenance costs.
Using Exchange Online allows you to run the latest technology, with the latest security patches and updates automatically installed—all at a predictable cost.
Whenever data is in the cloud, security is always a concern. Microsoft adheres to strict security standards. Online services are independently verified and meet security standards required by Information Security Management Systems.
Did you know that Microsoft Teams has add-on features that allow you to use it as your primary phone system? You can move your phone system to the cloud, and your staff can make and receive calls right from their computer or the Teams mobile app.
It's no surprise that Microsoft Teams' most sought-after feature is the ability to video conference with anyone inside or outside your organization. Connect in real time, send calendar invites and chat in confidence with clear, high-quality audio and visuals.
This collaboration platform combines workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, application integration and more. Microsoft Teams is the hub for team collaboration and integrates the people, content and tools your team needs to be engaging and effective.
Microsoft Teams allows you to work together in real time in the location of your choosing. Invite everyone you work with to chat, meet, call and collaborate when working remotely. This platform is your hub for teamwork, where you can work remotely without feeling remote.
Microsoft Azure Cloud Hosting
Microsoft Azure is the cloud-based solution you need to manage your organization’s essential applications and information.
You can use Azure for a hybrid network, which allows you to start off small by hosting some, but not all, applications. Microsoft's data centers exist all over the world to ensure that applications are running smoothly and without problems. It's highly scalable and built to last.
The Microsoft Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform allows you to host your applications and backup data without the expense of an intricate internal network. Easily scale resources such as servers, storage, security and network management on demand and pay only for what you use.
Free 30-Day Trial
Try Office 365 for free! Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Office 365.
If you have questions about migrating to Office 365, we can help. Contact us here or call 410.685.5512.