As any business owner knows, finding a process that can reduce costs while increasing productivity, is the holy grail of opportunities. It’s true of any area of business, from transport, to working hours, to buying the milk for the teas and coffees. It’s certainly true when it comes to employing efficient IT services within your company. So where does today’s topic of conversation, Office 365, and its range of cloud-based services, come in?
Is this a sales pitch for an unnecessary service that’s just a repackaging of what you already have? Or is it different? Here at PEI, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve the services we offer to our clients, so Office 365 makes sense to us because it offers you several key strengths:
Less initial cost: you’ll be able to spread your outlay, with no need to invest in additional hardware like local servers or pay hundreds up front for Microsoft Office licenses. Instead you can get it all online for a manageable monthly amount.
Flexibility of service: it’s much easier to add more or less to your service whenever you need it. Instead of needing to buy additional hardware or software, just increase the allowance on your monthly subscription. It’s also equally simple to reduce the allowance—compared to being left with surplus hardware or software. Very helpful during upsizing/downsizing and seasonal staff changes.
Flexibility of working: each staff member can access all of these services from multiple devices and locations. So whether all your staff are in the same room, or scattered around the globe, they can be equally connected and productive. This includes features like syncing calendars, being able to work on the same document together, and the latest video conferencing services through Skype for Business.
Guaranteed updates: when you buy a physical copy of Microsoft Office, you’ll be left having to buy a new copy should a newer version come out. With an Office 365 subscription, you’ll always receive the latest version of Office applications as well as any other cloud-based services.
What is Office 365 and the Cloud?
In short, making use of cloud systems, moving from on-premises physical storage and software to off-premises online storage and software, is the future. It’s where the majority of files, data, and applications will soon be stored and accessed, with the Office 365 cloud services from Microsoft offering a leading option for any business to consider. Office 365 is a subscription service allowing you access to cloud storage (known as One Drive for Business) as well as online use of all the familiar Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint from any device or location.
It’s estimated that by 2018, over 75% of businesses will be using
cloud storage as their primary source of data management
By having your key data and applications stored on a centralized online location—backed by Microsoft’s infrastructure—security systems and staff, you’ll be highly protected. Additionally, you can control exactly who has access to each file and level of navigation, meaning you can strategically store certain data for different levels of the workforce. This is great for organizational efficiency and security, with each employee receiving access only to the exact files they need.
Key Services in the Office 365 Package
One Drive for Business: a cloud service for data storage, giving businesses the ability to not only store files, but also allocate levels of access for users with designated rights and privileges. Also provides a platform for collaboration—multiple staff members can be working on the same document at the same time.
Microsoft Office applications: the latest version of all the familiar Office software such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Instead of buying a Microsoft Office license that will only last a few years, you get it as a monthly subscription, giving you access on up to five devices per user—including Apple devices.
Skype for Business: Interactive messaging and video conferencing through Skype’s Business edition.
Microsoft says that over the past five years, Office 365 & cloud services
helped small & medium businesses to reduce their IT workload by 42%
Additional Cloud Services Available with Office 365
SharePoint: a more advanced document sharing and management system, with document flow and approval, sign-offs, and systems. It really aids business processes and can help create entire systems.
Microsoft Azure: gives access to cloud file servers, on a per-second basis, at an increased/decreased server power as and when you need it. Ideal for when you need a lot of processing power.
The Future of Business IT systems
The beauty of Office 365 is you can build the exact package for your needs and the service is fluid enough to change as you change with minimal fuss. It makes financial sense, keeps you at the cutting edge, and offers elite security and support access. It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to commit to moving everything to the cloud. It’s about mixing and matching cloud and on-premises IT to deliver the most effective solution for your business in terms of cost and productivity.
Given PEI’s key aim of combining business insight with IT knowledge, we’d love to speak to you in more detail to see if Office 365 is the ideal fit. We offer various IT solutions, and by working with a suitable IT partner, you’ll be able to create the perfect solution in terms of cost, functionality, flexibility, and security—a solution that helps you move forward significantly as a company.
Please get in touch today if you’d like to know more about how using the Office 365 platform, and its cloud-based services could help your business to take the next step in its productivity. Call us at 303-974-6881.
Myke Schwartz, PEI