What is Office 365?
Office 365 is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that includes Microsoft Office and other services, such as email and team collaboration, from Microsoft’s cloud server. Microsoft Office 365 also provides desktop functionalities and is available via subscription.
With a standard Office 365 subscription, users will receive the following apps:
- Outlook—email, calendar, contacts
- Word—word processing
- Excel—spreadsheets and data analysis
- PowerPoint—slide show presentations
- OneDrive—cloud storage
- Skype—video calling
- Publisher—desktop publishing
- Access—database creation and management
Additional apps are available for free or for an additional fee.
Here’s Why You Should Consider Making the Switch to Office 365
In today’s competitive business environment, it is essential to stay ahead of the game, and a software that can significantly increase collaboration, communication, and information security will help businesses do just that. Microsoft Office 365 is that software, offering a suite of tools to encourage teamwork and advanced cloud capabilities.
There is a long list of benefits that migrating to Office 365 offers businesses of any size and in every industry. Here are the six most important for boosting growth:
Small to mid-sized companies can connect any number of users with Business to Enterprise plans that best fit their size.
Because Office 365 is cloud-based, users can access apps anywhere there is an internet connection, enabling greater productivity and flexibility for any workforce.
The admin console in Office 365 includes a dashboard and dropdown tools that enable system administrators to create an experience for all users that is customized to fit each company’s unique needs.
Within the admin console users can purchase additional services such as Visio Pro, Project Pro, Project Lite, and Dynamics CRM.
Microsoft automatically manages updates and maintains patches to Office 365 because it is cloud-based. Luckily for users, these updates are one less thing to worry about.
Enhanced Security and Compliance
Microsoft systems scan messages and documents for spam and malicious software. Additional add-ons are available to tailor Office 365 to any industry’s specific regulations and compliance requirements.
Which Office 365 Solution is Right for You?
All Microsoft Office 365 products provide users with essential tools for running a business, however, there are a variety of options so that users can choose the best fit for their unique needs. Here is a quick comparison of the Office 365 plans available:
The Business Essentials plan is a stripped down, bare bones plan that costs $5 per user per month that includes web and mobile versions of the apps only.
At $8.25 per user per month, the Business plan offers 1 TB of file storage and sharing, as well as desktop, web and mobile versions of the apps. Microsoft Office email is not included in this plan.
Premium offers all of the bells and whistles for $12.50 per user per month. This plan comes with a 50 GB mailbox, 1 TB file storage and sharing, HD video conferencing, and full versions of Office that can be downloaded onto a PC, Mac, tablet or phone.
For $12 per user per month, ProPlus users will receive the latest tools for collaboration, compliance, and productivity, along with smooth upgrades.
All plans require a one-year commitment.
The right choice for a business depends on the size of that business, the need for team collaboration tools, and budget restrictions.
Migration Best Practices: Step by Step
Once a business has made the decision to migrate to Microsoft Office 365, it is important to understand best practices, the steps that need to be taken, and the order in which to take them, so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
During this kick-off meeting, the migration team will put together an infrastructure plan, determine how they may want to change the user experience, and develop training and communication plans.
2. Infrastructure & Exchange
Determine the number of machines needed to connect to the network. Conduct a bandwidth assessment to determine the number of concurrent client machines that are connected to the network at any given time.
3. Deployment Tools
The deployment readiness tool will help to analyze the information and existing AD and domain settings to plan the migration.
4. Prepare for SharePoint
SharePoint is a cloud-based service that helps companies share and collaborate with their partners, associates and customers.
5. End-user experience
While companies plan out the end-user experience, it is important to note that there are web and rich user experiences to consider. The web experience includes the browsers users choose, and the rich end user experience are the various Microsoft Office versions.
To migrate, Microsoft has published a deployment planning checklist and offers support in the deployment of Office 365 here.
Why You Should Use Alexant as Your Migration Partner
At Alexant, we have led many successful Microsoft Office 365 deployments for businesses across the country. Our partnership with Microsoft and our expertise in Exchange, Skype for Business, Active Directory, SharePoint, and other Microsoft application provides us with access to many resources to support these projects. When you choose Alexant, we work hard to simplify your migration with minimal impact on end users, while reducing risk and utilizing the least number of resources possible.
Whether it’s a hybrid deployment or a full-on migration to the cloud, let Alexant’s IT consultants guide you through the process. Learn more about our Office 365 services now.