Pick through the slew of products on offer with Office 365 and you will find some really useful software for your business, at a reasonable price.
As a small business owner, I find it frustrating to browse through the products on offer from Microsoft. It doesn’t take long perusing through their website to realise that their products are really pitched at big business. Phrases such as ‘Enterprise grade security and compliance’, for example, are really only likely to resonate with a larger corporation.
This isn’t surprising: Microsoft’s largest Office 365 customer is reported to have 6.5 million users, so it needs to ensure that these large corporations have their needs met.
A case in point is Office 365, which offers a subscription to the suite of Microsoft Office programmes, allows access from a range of devices, provides free version updates, and offers a range of extras, such as cloud storage.
Effectively, Microsoft have created in Office 365 a product which captures in one packaged product all the things it thinks the IT director of a large business wants, such as HD video conferencing, corporate social networking, team sites and, most importantly, data control and security. Add to that the simplicity of a single licence for numerous users, and you have a product perfectly suited for large corporations.
However, this has in turn made Office 365 a mishmash of programmes which, for a smaller business, is hard to fathom.
However, don’t be deterred by this. With the right help, there is plenty to benefit the smaller business in Office 365’s suite of programmes, and at an affordable price.
The needles in the haystack
Aside from the usual Microsoft office programmes, such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint, Office 365 offers other useful programmes for the day-to-day running of a business of any size.
OneDrive, for example, is a cloud storage system similar to Dropbox, and allows you to store documents off the computer’s hard drive, with a document control feature which ensures there is only one, up-to-date version of the document.
Office 365’s ‘Advanced’ email offers useful features such as out of office functions and archiving, with emails being retained even if deleted (useful for large businesses fearing litigation, but also a handy tool for smaller operations).
Sharepoint is billed as a hub for working together and content sharing in real time. In practice, this means that colleagues or associates can work together on tasks such as sales, accounts and costs tracking from different locations and devices.
The trouble is, it’s not always easy to pick out these useful tools from the mass, and mess, of information on the 365 site. Sharepoint in particular is buried away deep in the site, and it then takes further searching to work out what it actually does.
What’s more, it is difficult to see exactly what you are getting for your licence fee, which in turn makes it hard to ascertain if you are getting value for money in buying a package of programmes.
In short, you need to know what you’re looking for before trying to decide what version of 365 which might be useful, if at all.
This is where companies like Springboard IT can be of real help.
We have trawled through 365 and understand much of what is on offer; we try to keep up to date with the latest deliveries (for instance Planner and Teams). We can use our expertise in IT and our experience as a small business to look at the suite of products on 365 and understand what is most beneficial for each client, something Microsoft is unable to do.
We believe there is something for most businesses with Office 365 if selected wisely.
Give Springboard a call to find out more.