In our work with small-to-medium businesses across New Zealand, we receive a lot of enquiries about Microsoft Office 365 – the most common being “What is it, and should I be considering it for my business?” The majority of these businesses have previously invested in the legacy off-the-shelf Microsoft products available from retailers, so they’re usually familiar with the programmes on offer; in this blog we’ll look to give you a little more background on how Office 365 differs from the Microsoft package you may currently be using.
Office 365 is the subscription version of Microsoft’s long-running Office suite of software. In this Software as a Service model, Office products are accessed online via a subscription with regular payments, rather than being physically bought and installed on individual computers. Office 365 was first launched in 2011, and its sales overtook those of the conventional licence model near the end of 2017. Most of Microsoft’s major competitors in this area have made the move to subscription models, and the current market leader, Google’s G-suite, was developed as a cloud-based solution from the outset. So it’s safe to say Software as a Service has become the norm for office productivity apps.
So what do you get from an Office 365 subscription?
The big 5 Office Suite products need no introduction: Word for word processing, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentations, Outlook for email, and Calendar for organisation.
Depending on your budget and your business needs, you can also select from a range of more specialised apps, including:
Publisher – for producing professional-looking newsletters, brochures and booklets
OneNote – for taking notes on mobile devices: notes are stored in the cloud and can be retrieved from any other device
SharePoint – for hosting intranet websites for smaller teams or divisions of your company
Power BI – for collecting, sorting, and presenting business intelligence data
OneDrive – Microsoft’s cloud storage service, offering users up to 1TB of storage
Skype for business – for Instant messaging, audio and video calls
Microsoft Teams – a unified communications platform designed as a competitor to services such as Slack
Delve – an app for searching and managing emails, meetings, contacts, and documents stored on OneDrive which uses machine learning to show the most relevant content
Office 365 offers subscriptions at different price points depending on which apps you require and the amount of support you need.
So that’s our brief summary of what Office 365 is.