Do you remember the good old days when one bought a laptop or PC either with Microsoft Office already installed, or accompanied by discs (many discs!) to install the various applications yourself? And do you remember that sinking feeling as time ticked by and you began to realise it would all soon need upgrading?
Yes, believe it or not, Microsoft struggled with that too. Probably because people would resist upgrading for as long as they possibly could, and that meant two things – a) Microsoft had to continue to support old software, and b) people weren’t spending money on their new releases as often as they’d like.
What was needed was a win/win solution for both Microsoft and their customers. And what Microsoft came up with was exactly that – Office 365.
So… what is Office 365?
Office 365 is basically a well-stocked office desktop, including applications, but with benefits. It was first released in 2011, and to Microsoft’s delight has gone from strength to strength since then. Customers pay for it on a subscription basis, either annually or monthly. And depending on your usage, your subscription can be for one or more users on a variety of devices such as laptops, mobiles and tablets.
What makes it a bit different to the versions of Microsoft Office that you’ve been used to, however, is that it’s web based. This means it’s delivered to users via the cloud, which makes it very easy to manage every component included within your subscription via Microsoft’s online portal. Fear not, though, many plans do come with a desk top version of Office too. So you can work offline when you need to; when you next connect onto the cloud, your account and documents etc. just automatically sync at that point.
What does Office 365 include?
Office 365 is a pretty comprehensive package, which includes Exchange Online for email, SharePoint Online for collaboration, Lync Online for unified communications, and a suite of Office Web Apps including the traditional Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel & Word etc. The key to your success is to pick the right subscription package for you. These plans range from a single licence for personal use, to multiple user business plans.
What are the key benefits of Office 365?
We shall do an article explaining the benefits of Office 365 in more detail in due course, but in summary they are:
Office 365 is easy to access and use, whether via an internet connection or directly on your device.
In being cloud based, it’s updated and upgraded regularly by Microsoft. This means that you are effectively getting ongoing upgrades and support for as long as you subscribe, and you don’t pay any additional fees. Your suite of applications will never fall behind, be out of date, or no longer be covered by Microsoft’s support offering.
All plans come with cloud storage, the minimum being a whopping 1 terabyte – so there’s plenty of space to store your photos and videos as well as business documents etc.
It’s easy to share documents and calendars between both people and devices across locations because they’re all stored in the cloud.
At Blue Sky Computer Solutions, we’ve set up and now manage and support Office 365 for all sizes of company across Northamptonshire and beyond. From part-time one man bands, to multi-site organisations, we see it ‘at work’ on a daily basis and can thus really appreciate the power of its offering.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to meet your desktop needs, please talk to us. We can knowledgably advise you on the best office software solution for your business!