An overview of Office 365 and its benefits

Here at Damson Cloud, you’ll find that we talk a lot about Office 365 and often tout its benefits for businesses looking for a cloud solution that meets their exacting needs in terms of convenience and mobility. But we understand that not everyone out there is as in love with tech and IT as we are. Most business owners simply want to know the basics and how a particular piece of software or an application can help them run their own organisations as they don’t have the time to deal with jargon and technical specifications. So here we’ve got the rundown on Microsoft Office 365 and reasons we think it can help to give your business a boost.

Even if you’re not tech savvy, you’ll know and will have used the applications that made up Microsoft’s original Office suite, unless you’ve been under a rock since the 1980s of course. Programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint allowed people to create professional docs, spreadsheets and presentations and could be purchased on CDs and then installed on your computer. Simple days indeed.

So how does Office 365 differ? Well in many ways not that much. Only instead of buying a physical disk and the applications on it as a one-time purchase, you pay a monthly fee (£7 per user, each month for the business package) for access to online, or cloud based versions of the software – which includes your old favourites Office, Excel etc. If you’re willing to pay a little more, (£7.80 per user per month for Business Premium) you will also have access to a professional business email system that gives you a custom domain for your company as well as a host of other features including video conferencing, one terabyte of storage and Office apps that you can use on your tablets and phones.

How will this Office 365 help my business?

At its most basic level, it will assist you in the same way your old Office Applications would, you can make documents, spreadsheets and presentations. But there are many other features that can help in other areas of your organisation.

  • Outlook business email which means you can host your own custom domain for a more professional image. You have an inbox that has no adverts, a 150MB limit for message attachments and shared calendars for all your users.
  • High definition video conferencing capability with screen sharing and instant messaging via the Skype for Business app.
  • Yammer Private Social Network to help teams connect, chat and work together on projects and decision making.
  • OneDrive with 1TB of storage per user, for documents & emails.
  • 5 Licenses per user so you can install the desktop programs on up to 5 different laptop or desktop computers.
  • Mobile Apps including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook. Available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

[code-snippet name=”cta11″]

How does Office 365 improve on the old Office software?

As Office 365 is in the cloud, there are hundreds of advantages that can really transform the way your staff work and the way you do business. Perhaps the most important of these, for businesses who have a lot of mobile workers, is that all your files, documents and spreadsheets are accessible from anywhere. As long as you have Internet access you can get at your work, as it is no longer on your desktop computer or in the office server, instead being backed up continuously and stored in OneDrive. OneDrive is very much the heart of Office 365. It offers a huge 1TB of storage in the cloud and so facilitates what many consider to be the biggest advantage of Office 365 – collaboration.

Once they’ve accessed OneDrive, all the members of your team can open and work on the same documents and spreadsheets. They can access contacts, calendars and presentations and work on them together, provided they have been given access by the file creator. All changes are tracked and logged. This saves time and boosts productivity considerably. Chat functions allow them to communicate with each other in real time, so everyone is on the same page literally. With OneDrive, you always have the latest, most recent versions of your documents and files. So there’s no need to send off countless emails back and forth with attachments to get approval and invite people to make suggestions any more, it all happens in real time. So as long as they are signed in, and on any device, your employees can keep up with what’s going on, around the clock.

Another advantage of a subscription based service like Office 365 is that you always have the latest version of the software, as and when it is released. You don’t have to pay for upgrades as you did with previous versions.

Improved security and business continuity

As a business owner you know that security is vital and that you are putting your networks and data at risk if you don’t update your systems and install security patches to stay safe. But much of this vital, and time consuming work is taken care of if you migrate to a cloud based program like Office 365. This security fire fighting is done remotely as and when new patches come out. What’s more, all of your data and documents are being backed up around the clock and stored in data centres. If your business happens to be hit by a disaster such as flood, fire or theft you know that the important data you need to run your business is still safe and that you can be up and running again very quickly, and from a new location if necessary.

Office 365 is very much aimed at the increasingly mobile workforce, which is why another advantage of the system is that it includes Skype for Business. This allows you to host web conferences and make face-to-face calls with customers and team members, as well as call mobile and landline phones. This is all integrated with your office apps meaning you can start calls from Outlook, share screens and documents and enjoy seamless communication.

The truth is that the Internet is now a fundamental part of how we do business and many companies now have to rely on workers who are not always on site. A cloud based solution such as Office 365 can help you deal with this brave new world, whether it is with scheduling, communication, or real-time collaboration.

Looking for a cloud solution? Want to know more about Office 365 or other solutions that can help your business? Get in touch with Damson Cloud IT. We can answer your questions without jargon and get your business the best possible operating systems.