I bet when you think about Office 365 you think about e-mail. It is the service that Microsoft used in launching the service and is the primary reason people buy Office 365, but the service goes way beyond email. There are three primary flavors of Office 365 and the comparison of features can be found here, but I want to focus on the features of the Business Premium version which is $150/year per user ($12.50/mo.). At the end of this article I will show you an ROI that proves it is one of the best deals around.
- Microsoft Office: With Office 365 you receive the entire Office suite which includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Microsoft’s digital workbook program entitled One Note. You also receive Microsoft Publisher a great tool for small to mid-sized businesses to create marketing materials.
- Access to Office anywhere: Not in the office, you can access online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint from a browser. Mobile versions of the apps can be installed when you are on the go.
- Security and Compliance Tools for Email: Microsoft recently added a security and compliance suite for its online e-mail services. Track all e-mail for legal compliance and place a “hold” on individual accounts tracking all activity associated with a users mail account.
- File Storage/Share: Office 365 gives you 1 TB of storage per user in the cloud. This storage is accessible from any device. No need for Box.net or Dropbox. Security controls can integrate with Active Directory for security and control.
- Video and Web Conferencing: Skype is included as part of the subscription and includes instant messaging, HD video and web conferencing. This can replace other 3rd party services like GoToMeeting and WebEx.
- Visual Storytelling: Microsoft recently introduced Sway, a digital storytelling tool hosted online. Similar to Slideshare you can import PowerPoint’s and PDF’s, but if you use the native tools of Sway you can create a interesting presentation that is great for education or reports.
- Corporate Social Network: In today’s world of distributed teams, teleworkers, and project collaboration, Yammer is a great way to bring people together. You can invite people within your company or outside to participate and it provides rich search capabilities in addition to discovery tools (think Facebook newsfeed). Yammer integrates with the entire Office 365 suite and has administrative controls for Network Admins.
So is there ROI?
That is always the question, and your mileage may vary, but here are some tolls I eliminated in my transition. (Full disclosure, I have kept Evernote).
Office 365 Tool
Included In Web Hosting
Office, Office Online
Skype for Business
Monthly Savings $33.02/per user
Annual Savings $396.24/per user
So am I telling you to throw out the tools you use? Not at all. But if you own a business and are looking at a few ways to consolidate costs without losing functionality, Office 365 may be an option. I replaced a number of point tools and am using a suite that is tightly integrated. Additionally, I have increased security in this model supporting why Office 365 can represent a great value to business owners.
Are you using Office 365? Do you feel I am giving up any vital features? Please let me know down in the comments section.