It’s thought that over 90% of businesses on the planet use Microsoft Office!  It’s certainly a fact that each day companies worldwide are purchasing the software, but how many of those purchases are through the Microsoft  Office 365 route?

Microsoft office
Whether that software purchase is to install Office on a new computer or to upgrade an old edition of Office 2003 (which runs out of support in April 2014).  The purchasing decision should be one that is informed and planned, with the following questions asked:

1. Would our company benefit from always having the most up to date version of Microsoft Office?

2. Will the user of this Office purchase need it on more than one device?

3. Is there a possibility the Office license will not be required in a few months’ time?

4. Would our company’s cash flow benefit from paying £10 per license / per month as opposed to an outright purchase of £170 – £220 per license?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘Yes’ then subscribing to Microsoft Office 2013 ProPlus from Microsoft’s Office 365 range of products is likely to be the best option.  But what is Microsoft Office 365?

What is Microsoft Office 365?

Microsoft released Office 365 a couple of years back in June 2011 and even after global marketing campaigns, IT service companies find business owners are still unsure what it’s all about?  In this blog we briefly describe the features of Office 365 and the products that are the best suited for businesses.

Office 365

Office 365 is a subscription-based range of products.  It’s often assumed that ‘Office 365’ is the new name for Office, but it is in fact a range of online services and software products that can be leased individually or as part of a package.

There are 3 versions of Office 365 for small businesses;

Office 365 Small Business – This edition is for Microsoft’s Exchange Online email service at around £3 per user / per month

Office 365 Small Business Premium – This includes the online email service as well as a subscription to the Microsoft Office 2013 suite of products

Office 365 Midsize Business – This option includes all the features of Premium, plus Active Directory server integration for larger companies that require on-premises server integration

Office 365 subscriptions can be paid monthly or yearly.  The most popular services and products are:

Microsoft Web Apps

This is an online web based version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  These apps can be accessed and logged into from any computer with an internet connection.  These are very handy if you need to work from a public computer or you’re on a limited budget.

Microsoft Office 2013 ProPlus Software

Prior to Office 365, the only way to obtain Microsoft Office was to;

These options are still available, however you can now rent the full edition of Microsoft Office 2013 Professional including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Publisher, InfoPath, OneNote and Lync for around £10 per user / per month.  This leasing option has a number of benefits, including;

Exchange Online

This is an enterprise class email service that now even the smallest business can subscribe to.  This includes; shared calendars, 50 GB of storage space per user and anti-virus / spam defence.

Hosted email is becoming more popular than on premise email servers, the main reasons being;

SkyDrive Pro

This service offers each user 25 GB of online data storage, this data is backed up and can be accessed from anywhere via the internet.  Files and folders can be synchronised with computers so that it’s easy to access and share files internally and externally with staff, clients and suppliers. It also offers access control over who can see and edits files and data.

Other options and benefits from subscribing to Office 365 include;

–          24/7 phone and web support

–          Web conferencing and instant messaging

–          Public websites

–          SharePoint intranet sites

–          Active Directory integration

–          Office Mobile device apps for iPhones and Android integration

More details on the services and options can be found on the Microsoft website link below:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/business/compare-office-365-for-business-plans-FX102918419.aspx

Businesses will either have a demand for services such as Exchange Online, Lync, SharePoint and SkyDrive or they will only require a the use of Microsoft Office 2013 software.  The beauty of Office 365 is it’s flexibility, customers can choose which services its needs from a vast range of products.

Subscriptions can then easily be started and stopped, with quantities increased and decreased, making Office 365 the best choice for most businesses.

For help choosing an Office 365 product or service that is best suited for your business, contact the Fentons team of specialists on 01903 786287 or at info@fentonsit.com