If there’s one topic guaranteed to crop up every day when I’m talking with clients and prospects, it’s Office 365. It’s a subject that sparks debate and has done for more than a year now, but thanks to the recent publicity from Microsoft, it’s a conversation that has now moved from the IT department to the boardroom.

The switch to the Cloud environment of Office 365 is a step too far for some organisations, with law firms in particular happy with their on-premise solutions – something Quiss are just as comfortable and qualified to support. It’s easy to understand why many choose to stick with technology they and their users are familiar, comfortable and productive with.

And that’s the point of Microsoft putting all its efforts into developing its online services; by switching to Office 365, they believe we will collaborate, connect and communicate better, with colleagues and clients, which can only increase creativity and productivity.

Office 365 is a cloud-based service, offered via annual or monthly subscription that provides all the familiar Office applications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc., but also now includes business class email (Exchange), collaboration (SharePoint and Yammer), storage (OneDrive for Business), audio and videoconferencing (Skype for Business).

For me, making the move to Office 365 should be a ‘when’ decision, not an ‘if’, so here are six reasons for getting on board now, before your competitors sneak an advantage:

  1. It’s the Office you know but better
    With Office 365, you get all the usual fully-featured apps you currently have installed on your device, but now enhanced with a range of online services to help you achieve even more. And when you consider everything that’s included and everything you and your people will get done with these apps and services, all for under a tenner, per user, per month, the switch is a no-brainer.
  2. Increased productivity is within your reach
    As a Cloud-based service, you can access all your documents, anytime, with any device, from anywhere with a web connection. Flexibility is increased thanks to one licence allowing access from any one of five devices – not five users per licence as some have been mistakenly been told. You can now simultaneously edit documents in real-time with colleagues, regardless of their location.
  3. Lower costs associated with IT
    Migrating to the Cloud-based Office 365 will help reduce the cost of providing technology to new employees, because there is very little set-up time. You can also reduce costs by only giving users the apps and services they need and switching subscriptions on and off in line with your headcount – no unused boxes sat in an empty office, provides a more predictable cost model.
  4. Low maintenance and fewer headaches
    Tricky subject for a managed IT services provider, but in the future, Microsoft will look after a proportion of your IT services, ensuring updates are made without you even noticing. No more trying to roll-out changes or latest versions across your business, switching to Office 365 means every one of your users will work with the latest, safest version every time they log on.
  5. Improved communication is staring you in the face
    Meeting people in person is good, but now colleagues and clients can communicate with each other from different offices, different cities, even different countries and be more productive without wasted journey time. The ability to access emails and share files, from anywhere with any device, combined with online audio and video will help everyone get more for less.
  6. Improved collaboration helps build engagement
    Office 365 offers simple and secure collaboration tools for you and your people to share and store documents, presentations, even creative ideas. Typically used by big business for intranets and document management systems, SharePoint offers much to smaller businesses and Yammer, the  business-focused social networking feature offered in Office 365 will bring people together.

This is by no means a definitive list, but just a few benefits that I have discussed with prospects and clients in the last few weeks. If you want to discuss any of this in more detail, please get in touch and I promise to have at least one more reason to make the switch to Office 365.

Paul Tozer, Head of Cloud Services, Quiss Technology