The humble productivity suite remains one of the key software considerations of the modern business. Almost every organisation is now reliant on the ability to create and edit documents and spreadsheets at some point in their processes.
There are now several perfectly functional suites from which to choose – so why would you pick Microsoft Office 365?
1. The power of familiarity
Microsoft Office for many years has been the de facto standard when it comes to word processing and spreadsheets. And up until a few years ago, virtually every school in the country used Office in IT lessons, raising a generation of Microsoft-ready students.
As a result, almost everyone who can use a computer also knows how to use Microsoft Office, which means that they can hit the ground running in any role. This is great news for employers because it reduces training costs and ensures that workers reach maximum productivity quicker.
Which all results in a far quicker return on investment.
2. Data sovereignty
UK and EU data protection laws are strict and unequivocal – in almost all cases it is illegal to transfer personal data outside the EU. So if your business processes personal data, it is vital that this information never leaves EU borders or you could face prosecution and massive fines.
The beauty of Cloud technologies is that they use geographically dispersed datacenters to ensure that your information is always available. This does however present a problem when those failover datacenters are based outside the EU; your information may be transferred without your knowledge, potentially leaving you vulnerable to prosecution.
Like Google, Microsoft is unambiguous - sensitive data and emails belonging to EU customers never leaves the EU. So you’ll never break data export rules by choosing Office 365.
3. Full local software installs
Included with every Office 365 licence is the right to download and install a full version of the constituent apps – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. This means that your users can enjoy the full Office experience on their laptop or PC, even when they do not have an Internet connection.
This local install option also helps establish familiarity, ensuring users are comfortable and ready to work on their laptop or PC.
4. Integrated Unified Communications
Office 365 also includes access to the Skype for Business platform. Like Google Hangouts, it’s a toolset specifically designed to improve communications flow throughout your company. Skype for Business allows your employees to make, receive and route instant messages and voice and video calls across any device, anywhere in the world.
Skype for Business is directly embedded into the Office 365 platform, and includes tools for collaborating on documents and projects. If your business has a dispersed workforce, or wants to offer remote working facilities to employees, Office 365 makes the process incredibly simple.
One of the many reasons for moving to cloud-based software is the improved availability on offer; almost without fail cloud software is more reliable than any applications your business may run locally. Office 365 uses enterprise-grade hardware and infrastructure to improve availability and reduce the risk of outages; provisions that few SMEs could dream of being able to afford.
The cumulative cost of IT outages to your business can be huge, so it makes good financial sense to choose a Cloud platform like Office 365 which has been specifically designed to improve uptime.
Making the decision
Ultimately the functionality provided in Microsoft Office 365 is roughly equivalent to that provided by other cloud productivity suites. But when the factors outlined above are considered, the case for Office 365 is quite compelling.