Small businesses can realize incredible benefits through the evaluation and adoption of cloud-based applications. Office 365 is often presented as a cloud-based version of Microsoft Office. What are some of the benefits of Office and Office 365 that help small and medium businesses be more successful?
What About Office 365?
At arielMIS, we recommend customers use a version of Office (Home or Business) installed on the desktop similar to previous non-Cloud versions, but it is installed and managed via O365. Your company realizes many of the same benefits as the cloud version of Office 365: managed updates and central license management.
In the past, if you wanted to use Microsoft Office, you purchased a Microsoft Office license for each computer in your office. You paid for the license one time up front, and it was yours as long as that version of Microsoft Office was supported. Your company was responsible for the management and tracking of the licenses you owned. If you added installed additional copies of the software without the proper license, Microsoft could impose fines or legal action. Losing track of licenses and failing to transfer them to where they were needed was also a problem for companies which overspent on licenses.
In the old model, the IT department had to update every copy of the software installed on each machine. If the employee’s computer was not available because the employee took it home or was on vacation, it might not receive the application patches promptly which increases the risk to your business.
Now, with Office via O365, you pay only for the number of licenses you are actively using, so it is easy to scale up when you hire more employees or save money if a worker leaves. Patching and upgrading the software happens in the cloud, freeing up your time and reducing your risk of running outdated software. The cloud ensures that all employees operate from the same standardized version of the software which makes compatibility issues obsolete. Charges for software are predictable operating expenses instead of incurring costly migration projects when a version becomes too outdated to continue using. And, more importantly, Microsoft provides the tools to ensure that your company is licensed properly.
Small Business Benefits
- Scalability. With subscription models, your business pays for the licenses it uses and can easily add or reduce the number of licenses through a centralized licensing portal. This is particularly attractive to businesses with seasonal labor needs or businesses that are growing rapidly.
- Security. Patching and upgrades of Office are managed by Office 365. There are fewer “moving pieces” to worry about. Automatic updates (and upgrades) eliminate the problem of tracking down where software is installed and deciphering whether it has been patched.
- Standardization. Always know that your employees are using the same version of software rather than various versions installed over different years. Reduce effort and delays caused by employees re-sending files in older formats so that peers can read them in older versions.
- Competitive Advantage. Previously, small businesses could not compete with large enterprises for many types of applications because the cost of building infrastructure and attracting expert administrators were barriers. Powerful but complex software systems often required additional servers, data storage, and IT staff to install and maintain them. Now with cloud applications your provider incurs these expenses and shares them across many businesses, lowering your cost and improving your access to state-of-the-art applications.
- Simplified Expense Planning. Subscriptions are a set operating expense compared to the unexpected highs and lows of version migrations and over- or under-licensing associated with traditional software licenses and on-premises systems.
Where Do I Start?
Office via O365 shares many of the same benefits as pure cloud applications, with robust reliability for your business needs.
arielMIS works with small businesses and nonprofits to determine which cloud applications fit their needs today and what options to consider for the future. For more information on our Office 365 practice, please see: http://arielmis.com/migratetooffice365/