Having worked in IT for more than half my life now (yikes!) I have spent a great deal of time on Microsoft services and spent an even greater amount of money on Microsoft products.   While I am a great advocate of using Open Source solutions the simple fact is that you are restricting your company productivity by using anything other than Office 365.

There are a variety of business plans available from Microsoft starting from £3.80 per month, although at Plan2IT we highly recommend going with the business premium plan (@£9.40 per month) as this offers the greatest value to your business.

1: Office Applications

You can install the latest Microsoft Office Professional suite of applications on up to five machines that you use.  This suite includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher and Skype For Business.  The subscription cost is almost worth it for the Office Applications alone, with an Office business license starting from £251 (3years between releases) you already have a comparable cost of 6.97 per month.   Leaving the cost of the host of other services only being a few pounds a month.

While there are of course open source office suites they have an upward struggle being competitive in a market that is totally dominated by Microsoft Office…yes, they may be compatible with MS office files there is no guarantee the formatting will be consistent.

2: Professional Email Service

Your email service is hosted on a Microsoft Exchange Environment which has been long established as the number 1 business email service.   For each user you get an email address using your

preferred domain name (domain ownership required) and a 50gb mailbox per user (this is a huge amount of storage space).  When utilised with Outlook you have a fully integrated email and calendaring system with a host of options to help you communicate through email effectively.

3: Customer Relationship Management

A recent addition to the Office suite is the Customer Relation Management tool, this integrates directly with Outlook allowing complete management of client communications.  It streamlines your business processes and connects customer data to help you build relationships, increase productivity, and improve customer engagement.

4: Invoicing Solution

A complete quote/estimate/invoicing solution that provides professional invoicing with minimal time and fuss.   Get paid faster, great looking invoices and online payments.  Any business will agree that they hate wasting time on the mundane administrative tasks when it could be spent on driving their business forward instead.

5: Information Sharing platform and Online Storage

Each user gets access to their own OneDrive volume with 1tb of storage, OneDrive will keep the user files synced to the cloud ensuring greater document management and accessibility.  A recent addition to the OneDrive toolset allows files to be kept on the cloud without taking up precious limited space on the user’s local computer.

All users are granted access to the company SharePoint site for accessing company documents, SharePoint provides customisable permissions allowing the company to maintain control on user access (read only, write access, delete etc).   As with OneDrive, SharePoint is fully stored in the cloud allowing secure access to the data from anywhere in the world.

A frequent question raised by many clients relates to the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint,  while both offer very similiar functionality I always compare it to the more familiar mapped drive scenario.   When clients approach OneDrive as their "Home" drive and SharePoint as their "Shared" data drive they are usually far more comfortable with the solution.  

6:  Microsoft Teams

A fantastic addition to the Office 365 suite of tools, Microsoft Teams provides a highly versatile team collaboration tool.    Through Microsoft Teams you gain access to an incredible powerful tool that maximises communication and collaboration between team members, integrating the powerful Office 365 suite of applications in to a focused easy to use interface allowing chats, meetings, note taking, document writing and innovation.

Microsoft Teams is being fastly adopted by many corporations and it is proving to add significant value to team working and collaboration.  Many business leaders are advising it has greatly enhanced their team working and has removed many of the barriers that had previously limited team input, in particular it removed the barriers of geographically different locations

7:  Operational Expenditure

Of course, it should not go without mention that by migrating from on premise solutions in to the Office 365 cloud you move a considerable amount of “capital expenditure” in to “operational expenditure” which can be offset against your corporation tax bill in the same year.

8: Unshackled from the Office

One of the key benefits of Office 365 is that it truly breaks the shackles of the tired office environments,  with your data stored securely in the cloud you can be productive anytime anywhere from any device.

Did someone mention the elephant in the room?

Ok, I admit it and I am sure you spotted it…that’s 7 benefits.   To be fair there are many more amazing applications and benefits for Office 365 that I could write a small novel (not that I would want to nor even care to read for that matter).  With the benefits already listed along with bookings, Dynamics 365, formsms, flow, StaffHub, planner, skype for business...the list just keeps going on.

We would highly recommend any businesses to contact an Office 365 specialist for an initial discussion regarding moving to Office 365 or the cloud in general.   At Plan2IT we offer several options to our clients for Office 365 migrations, our enhanced migration plan offers a fantastic package ensuring all users are ready to hit the ground running on “go live” day,  email us at enquiries@plan2it.co.uk for more details or go to https://www.plan2it.co.uk.