Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn has thrown the spotlight on Office 365. The deal is important because LinkedIn data will eventually be integrated with Office 365’s suite of collaboration and productivity tools to provide an extra layer of social data intelligence for users.
For example, a LinkedIn newsfeed could serve up articles based on the project you are working on and meetings you have booked. Office could suggest an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete, or help attendees of meetings learn more about one another directly from invitations in their calendars.
Microsoft’s big bet on LinkedIn is the latest in a series of investments that has propelled Office from a set of productivity tools to a suite of cloud apps accessible anywhere you have internet connectivity.
So just what is Office 365? People often think it’s the hosted version of the Office productivity suite that includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It’s that and more, with additional services such as Skype for Business web conferencing, Exchange Online hosted email for business and OneDrive for Business online storage.
Today, more and more companies are choosing to rent rather than buy software, with one out of every five corporate employees using an Office 365 cloud service. Office 365 has eclipsed all other cloud providers to emerge as the most widely used enterprise cloud service by user count.
Yet many businesses are still using outdated versions of email and productivity technology, despite new solutions (like Office 365) which have improved radically on these legacy tools.
Why this resistance to change? There are many reasons - some businesses presume their current tools are ‘good enough’, they fear change and the unknown, and think it will be a struggle to migrate all their data and email over to the new platform.
However, others are making the switch. Today’s apps will let your people be so much more productive and migration needn’t be as complicated as you think.
Office 365 can boost your productivity and collaboration, giving you all the scalability, security and ease-of-use of cloud computing, with none of the technical limitations of on-premise systems.
Here are the top five benefits your business can expect when you make the move to Office 365:
1. Work anywhere on any device
You and your team no longer have to be physically in the office to access company data and get work done. You can work from smartphones, tablets and laptops on the go, or on your computers and devices at home. Many Office 365 plans also include the desktop version of the latest Office applications, which users can install across multiple computers and devices.
For example, you can review client notes in the taxi before a client meeting, or work offline on the plane, knowing everything will be synced when you are back on the ground. You can work on any device, too – even editing Word and Excel documents on your mobile.
2. Work better with others
You’ll continue to work with what you know – the tried, tested and familiar Office apps that everyone uses today. However, Office 365 can make your workflows more streamlined and more collaborative than ever. Messaging, meetings and screen sharing take just a few clicks. You can store, sync and share your files from one place, without having to queue up to check out and download documents one by one.
For many of our clients, a key benefit is being able to store a document in the cloud and share a link to allow teams to make edits, comments and improvements on documents in real-time. That means they no longer have to send lots of emails attaching the latest version every time the document is updated.
3. Grow with your business
When your company grows or changes, you can simply increase or decrease the number of Office 365 users. That means you can easily flex to changes in your people, contractors, roles and reporting lines, with a single dashboard to see, assign and manage who is using what. Users can pick and choose the tools they want, so you only pay for the services you need, and all plans are paid for on a subscription basis, either monthly or annually.
Many companies take a hybrid approach, integrating new Office 365 services with their existing Microsoft software investments – enabling a phased approach to their cloud migration. Tauranga City Council chose Office 365 as a low-risk and low-cost way to trial other collaboration tools, such as Skype for Business, with a very minimal commitment.
4. Robust security and reliability
Office 365 offers you peace of mind that your data is data is protected around the clock, with best-of-breed security solutions and world-class security experts at a standard most businesses would never be able to afford. That helps you to manage business disruptions ranging from corrupted files and lost or damaged devices, through to power cuts, cyberattacks or natural disasters. You get web support and 24x7 phone support for any critical issues, plus access to our local teams who can also help with the migration.
With cyberattacks on the rise, particularly ransomware delivered by compromised websites or malicious attachments to emails, many companies are moving to cloud services like Office 365 to help ensure their data is protected and security is up-to-scratch.
5. IT flexibility and control
With instant access to updates and bug fixes as soon as they’re ready, you’ll always have your people on the latest versions without having to upgrade anything (and you’ll escape the old cycle of waiting a few years for Microsoft’s next product release). Office 365 removes complexity and standardises and consolidates your software licences, making them easier to track, manage and maintain. You can also access Exchange Online, Skype for Business and SharePoint, without having to worry about the server infrastructure for any of these offerings.
A big driver for many of our clients is the ability to free up their time from frustrating and time-consuming IT administration tasks for more strategic projects that add real value to their people and customers.
Make the move
The way we work, communicate and share content is rapidly changing, and driving demand for new digital workplaces that give your people the ability to communicate and collaborate from any location and any device.
Unless you want to make an on-premise IT capability part of your core competency (and most small businesses don’t), then Office 365 can help you converge and integrate your essential workplace and communication tools.
That will simplify your IT, reduce management headaches and help everyone do their best work to deliver great customer experiences.
If you’re keen to get going, but unsure whether your team has the time or skills, talk to us about how we can help before, during and after your migration to Office 365. Give us a ring on 0800 694 364 or make an appointment for a call today.