You may already know that Microsoft Office is by far the most popular software for general business and personal use. But it’s come a long way since its creation in 1988. What started as a bundle of 3 simple productivity tools is now an extensive suite of innovative desktop and cloud-based software solutions.
It’s likely that you’re already using one version of Microsoft Office, but perhaps you’re looking to upgrade. You may be wondering why Office 365 is a better choice than desktop Office? Read on to find out the top 5 benefits of Office 365 and why it’s the number one choice for businesses in 2019.
What is Office 365?
Provided by Microsoft, Office 365 is a group of various apps and services, designed to help your business. As part of the Microsoft Office product line, Office 365 is cloud-based software that is subscription-based. This means that the software apps included such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and many more are updated each month with the latest features and security updates.
Office 365 can help your employees work together easier and more efficiently. As well as the traditional Microsoft Office apps that you may have used on desktop, there are some innovative cloud-based software products for business environments available. Examples of these include hosted Exchange Server - for emails, Skype for Business - for conference calls, and SharePoint - for collaboration.
A brief history of Office 365
When Microsoft launched Office 365 in 2011, it replaced Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). Originally aimed at corporate users, Office 365 was expanded to cater for many different types of businesses, as well as general consumers. Although the desktop Microsoft Office software is still popular, revenue from Office 365 has now overtaken the conventional license sales of Microsoft Office software.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft have been facing growing competition from Google's similar service, Google Apps. Office 365 was designed to "bring together" its existing online services into "an always-up-to-date cloud service", and competes closely with Google’s offering. There are various Office 365 plans available, tailored to different business needs. These currently include “Small Business Premium”, “Enterprise E3 & E5”, “Pro Plus”, and more.
Why is Office 365 the best choice for businesses?
Most businesses are now using some form of cloud-based software to aid their productivity. While Google have been competing in recent years with the launch of G Suite (previously known as Google Apps for Work), it seems that Office 365 is twice as popular in Europe. Office 365 brings many benefits to businesses of all sizes, and due to its flexibility and low price point, is particularly useful for small businesses. But regardless of the size or type of business you’re in, here are the top 5 reasons why Office 365 is generally the best choice.
Benefit 1 - It’s cloud based - so you can work from anywhere & avoid disasters
Let’s imagine your office building is destroyed by a fire or flood. Or your office gets broken into. Your in-house system is extremely vulnerable and you could easily lose it all. By using a cloud-based system like Office 365, all your business documents and applications will always be available, no matter what happens to your physical hardware.
As long as you have an internet connection, you have the ability to work from anywhere, on any device with Office 365. And if you have remote employees, multiple locations or employees who travel often, you’ll benefit enormously from using Office 365.
Benefit 2 - Office 365 provides security & reliability
Many people worry about the cloud not being safe and secure. But Microsoft have a long-standing reputation of being reliable and taking security extremely seriously. You can trust that Office 365 comes with top-notch security and reliability. Some of the biggest safety features Office 365 has built-in include encrypted email, data loss prevention, and mobile device management.
Encrypted email will prevent anyone other than the intended recipient from reading your emails. Data loss prevention helps you to identify, monitor and protect sensitive information from leaving your company. Mobile device management enables you to protect company information in the event that one of your employees’ mobile devices gets stolen or lost. The data can be deleted remotely to prevent it getting into the wrong hands.
There are many other security features including spam protection, multi-factor authentication, threat management and advanced threat analytics. Depending on what level you need, the various plans contain different levels of protection.
Benefit 3 - It’s a monthly subscription & affordable price
Storing your data on the cloud with Office 365 will eliminate the cost of purchasing and maintaining expensive servers and hardware. As Office 365 is a subscription-based service, automatic updates are included at no additional charge. So rather than having to find the budget to purchase conventional licenses upfront as well as for each new version, you pay a low monthly fee for each user, and the subscription covers each individual’s license.
Office 365 offers tailored packages and plans, giving you plenty of options to choose from that suit your unique business needs. You can scale it up or down with your business, and not everyone in your company may need the exact same features. It’s also easy to switch between plans, if an employee needs more or less than what they’ve needed previously.
The monthly billing process is flexible, allowing you to add or decrease the number of users each month, and you’re not locked into a contract. For small businesses planning to expand, this is perfect as it’s scalable and affordable throughout your entire business journey. There’s no wasted money and your entire workforce can have access to the tools they need.
As well as being cash-flow and budget-friendly, using Office 365 will ensure that all your team members are using the same version of Microsoft Office, and will always be up-to-date.
Benefit 4 - Office 365 is easy to use & great for collaboration
Most businesses benefit from working as a team, whether it’s one small team or larger departments comprising of various teams. If your company works like this, you’ll love how easy it is to collaborate with Office 365. Several people can be editing a document in real-time, and anyone viewing that document will see live changes, so it’s a much faster way to work together.
Ever wondered who has the most up-to-date copy of a spreadsheet, or had several employees editing their own versions and caused a merge mess? Office 365 ensures there are no mistakes made or confusion caused by multiple versions of the same document. You can even go back to an older version of a document, if needed. And there’s no wasted time waiting for internal emails and attachments to download.
As well as documents being synchronized, it’s easy for you to sync everyone’s email, calendar, and contacts using Office 365. You can easily update info on different devices too, so documents & tasks created on your PC can be accessed effortlessly on your smartphone or tablet.
Benefit 5 - It’s great value - free updates forever!*
If you’ve been Microsoft Office previously you may remember having to pay to upgrade each time a new version was released, but you can rest assured that with Office 365 your low monthly fee includes automatic updates at no extra cost. *It might not be forever, but you will get free updates in Office 365 for the foreseeable future at least.
Most plans will also provide you with the latest versions of Office on your desktop automatically at no extra cost.
Office 365 also gives you a huge amount of email storage allowance. If you’ve ever resented wasting hours of your time trying to declutter an almost full inbox to free up some space, you’ll appreciate this benefit.
Employees may not like changes, but you shouldn’t worry about the constant updates being a strain on your workforce. The updates are a brilliant part of Office 365, and your employees will be using software that is always familiar. Rest assured they will be comfortable using it, even with new and improved features. Office 365 is familiar, user-friendly, and easy to integrate with all sorts of useful software.
How to get training for Office 365
Now you’re aware of the top 5 benefits of using Office 365 in your business, you may be looking for some training resources. Go.Courses provide a wide range of exceptional instructor-led Office 365 training courses, which you can browse HERE.
At Go.Courses our mission is to bring you the world’s best IT courses. Our aim is to make it super simple to book and learn new skills.