Office 365: What’s All the Buzz About?

On June 7th, 2016, posted in: small-business-IT by Comments Off on Office 365: What’s All the Buzz About?

Office 365 Milwaukee

In the coming months, we’ll be creating an in-depth summary of Office 365, but for now, we want to provide you with a general overview so you can get an understanding of what Office 365 is and how it can help your business.

With the variety of Office 365 plans available, businesses often need clarification about what Office 365 is, what plans are available and what features each plan includes. Let’s have a look.

What is Office 365?

Microsoft Office 365 MilwaukeeOffice 365 is a cloud-based subscription service that includes the most recent versions of Office 2016 from Microsoft.

The subscription includes popular applications you’re already familiar with like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, along with extra storage, ongoing tech support at no additional cost and a host of other cloud-based productivity tools, like Skype for Business, OneNote, SharePoint and OneDrive.

Previously, it was difficult for businesses to select an Office 365 plan due to complicated options, but Microsoft has been listening to customer feedback and today, there are three main business plans available:

  1. Office 365 Business Essentials
  2. Office 365 Business
  3. Office 365 Business Premium

In addition, there are Enterprise level equivalents that offer more services that might be helpful for small businesses, but we’ll cover those options in a future newsletter. For now, let’s keep it simple and focus on small business solutions.

Which Office 365 Plan is Right for Your Business?

For starters, know that you have total flexibility when it comes to selecting a plan. There’s no need to feel “pigeon holed” into one plan or another when you can mix and match offerings or purchase single subscriptions for Office 365 plansindividual applications.

If you prefer to “test the waters”, rather than jumping in with both feet, you could move a portion of your infrastructure to Office 365. Then, when you’re ready, you can upgrade your plan or customize it to fit your needs.

In addition, you can add and remove software licenses on-the-fly, which is crucial for most small businesses. Office 365 also provides 24/7 technical support and offers a 99.9% service guarantee.

Let’s look at these plans in greater depth:

What ALL Small Business Office 365 Plans Include

Each Office 365 Business plan includes 1 terabyte of OneDrive for Business storage per user. All Business plans include a limit of 300 users, but if you need more, the Enterprise level plans offer unlimited users.

Your Business Data is Safe & Secure

Since Office 365 is cloud-based, you can rest easy knowing all your data is safe, secure and available 24/7. Since these plans are subscription based, your business will save on software expenses since there’s no need to upgrade to new versions – your staff will always be on the latest version. This translates into not only savings, but also better security for your business.

3 Main Office 365 Plans for Small Businesses

1. Office 365 Business Essentials

If you’re not ready to move your entire infrastructure to Office 365, the Business Essentials plan is a great way to get started.

This plan is right for your business if:

  • You want to experience Office 365 on a small scale before moving your entire infrastructure to this solution.
  • You would like to begin with the most economical plan.
  • You have existing Microsoft Products, but want to utilize online Office applications, Exchange Online (email/calendars w/50GB mailbox), SharePoint Online, Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business.

2. Office 365 Business

Similar to the personal Office 365 plans, this plan is right for your business if:

  • You don’t need the full online suite of Office 365 tools, but you want the latest Office application versions so you don’t have to pay for upgrades to new versions.
  • You want the full Office suite, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher (for Mac, PC, tablet/phones) and 1 terabyte of OneDrive for Business storage.
  • You don’t need online services like Skype for business, Enterprise Mail, or SharePoint.

3. Office 365 Business Premium

While the Business Premium plan is the most expensive of the small business plans, the difference isn’t significant. Contact Ontech Systems for pricing information. The Business Premium plan is right for your business if:

  • You want all features included in the Business Essentials and Business plan – this incorporates everything in one plan!
  • You want the full Microsoft Office suite license to run on PC, Mac and mobile devices.
  • You are ready to take your business to the cloud and manage software costs through a single payment.

Office 365 for businessNow that you have a better understanding of the plans, let’s take a quick overview at some of the most popular services. This is by no means a complete list of Office 365 features, but they are the most widely used by businesses according to Forrester Research, Inc.

  • Office 2016: Rather than installing desktop versions of Microsoft Office and paying for multiple licenses, the online Office version gives you access to popular Microsoft tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote – on any device, at any time.
  • SharePoint Online: SharePoint is a popular platform to create collaborative workspaces, similar to an intranet.
  • Exchange Online: A hosted messaging application that provides your business access to the full-featured version of Exchange server, along with email, calendars, contacts and tasks – all accessible from any device.
  • Skype for Business: Originally called Lync, this solution offers an efficient way to connect with co-workers and business partners or clients. Skype for Business offers online meetings, instant messaging, regular phone calls, video calling, sharing, a broadcast feature to allow up to 10,000 attendees and collaboration – all rolled into one package.

Still on the Fence about Office 365?

Forrester Research, Inc. conducted a survey to identify the greatest benefits of Office 365 for businesses.

Here’s What Businesses like Most About Office 365:

What businesses like most about Office 365If your business can benefit from:

  • Enhanced productivity for mobile workers.
  • Anywhere access to email, documents, contacts and calendars – on nearly any device.
  • Worry-free anti-virus protection and spam filtering managed through cloud-based tools.
  • Enterprise-level features including IT-level phone support and a 99.9% uptime.
  • Seamless integration with the same great Microsoft Office programs your staff already uses every day.

…then Office 365 is the solution you’ve been searching for. Ontech Systems has extensive experience helping businesses – large and small – move to the cloud to boost their productivity and lower their IT and software expenses.

Moving to Office 365 is Painless

The great thing about Office 365 is that moving from older versions doesn’t require “re-learning” the software all over again. Microsoft hasn’t radically changed your favorites. They’ve just moved them to the cloud and added a host of other great options to make your life easier.

Need Help from the Experts?

If you have questions, about which plan is right for your specific business needs, let us help you. We can answer any questions or concerns you have, help you select the most efficient and affordable Office 365 solution and integrate the system into your business with as little disruption as possible. We know you’re busy. Get on board, as many other Milwaukee area businesses already have and take your business to the cloud with Office 365.

If you’re already an existing Ontech customer, call (262) 522-8560 or send us a request online to schedule a time with your consultant, or account manager today!

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