What is Office 365?

12 September 2016

Office 365 is a bundle of Microsoft software and cloud-based services sold as a package for a monthly fee. It often includes the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) for PCs/Mac, web-based versions of these applications and other services like hosted Microsoft Exchange email.

Personal and home use

There is a line of Office 365 which is specifically aimed at home and very small business users. This line contains the Office applications for your computers, Office online applications, cloud storage space (OneDrive), and some Skype calling time.

Business services

The business grade services are not sold through retailers like the personal versions. One of the ways businesses can get these services is through a reseller who helps set the software and services up for you (we can do this). Like the home version they contain the online and offline Office applications, cloud storage space – but unlike the home edition they include access to hosted Microsoft Exchange server (email/calendar), and integration with your business user accounts (Active Directory).

Advantages of Office 365

*You pay a monthly fee per user which gives you access to the services

*You are always running the latest version of the Office software (no need to outlay for new Office software in the future)

*Becomes an operational expense, rather than a capital expense (can be an advantage)

Disadvantages of Office 365

*Monthly fee, rather than a once off fee means continued billing for as long as you need the service (compare this to purchasing Office outright with a new computer where you get to use the software forever on that computer)

*Can lead to duplication if you already have an onsite Exchange server which you are happy with

*You are no longer storing your data onsite, rather it’s hosted in Microsoft’s data centres (in some industries this is an issue)

Exchange online

You can also get Office 365 without the whole Office suite, just including Exchange server. This is useful where you already have users with a recent version of Office installed on their devices, and they just need to transition to cloud based email/calendar.

Whether Office 365 is right for you is a good question. It can depend on a number of different factors in your business. We can help with reviewing how you currently use the software to see if Office 365 is right for your business, or if the traditional Office is best, or perhaps just Exchange online. If you would like any more information please don’t hesitate to contact us using the information below.

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