Microsoft Office softwareLooking for a tool to take your business productivity to the next level? Microsoft 365 (formally known as Office 365) is designed to help businesses achieve more digitally with apps, cloud services, and more.

Whether you already use the Microsoft Office Suite, thinking of switching, or thinking of opting for Microsoft 365 as your first office tool, Wahaya IT Consulting is here to help.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 for business is a cloud suite of Microsoft Office apps and programs, including email, spreadsheets, presentations, documents, calendars/reminders, collaboration, chat tools, and more. In 2019, Microsoft 365 hit 200 million active users. It’s the official productivity suite used by many small businesses to enterprises.

How Is It Different From the Regular Microsoft Office Package?

Unlike the regular Office package, Microsoft 365 is web-based. That means all your data is stored in the cloud and retrieved from there every time you need to access it. It is not necessary to store the software on your computer, though you also have the option to install it if you wish.

What Are the Benefits of Microsoft 365?

The regular Microsoft Office package stores your data locally, on a computer. When you store your data locally, there are chances of downtime and data loss if the hard disk becomes corrupted or fails. Furthermore, you need to have access to the specific computer or hard disk it is stored on to have access to the data. Since Microsoft Office 365 is web-based, your data is accessible from anywhere.

Takes Care of Standard Data Security
Microsoft 365 uses encryption. With encryption, your data is safer than it would be on the desktop version of the Microsoft Office suite. Plus, it is HIPPA and FERPA compliant (the importance of this is highlighted on our blog here), which makes it easier if you are operating in the healthcare or education industry. The security in cloud-based storage is generally stronger than what you get when storing at the local level.

More Storage
Microsoft 365 offers more storage space compared to the traditional version of Microsoft Office. In the traditional version, when you use Outlook to email clients, the emails are stored on your hard drive, slowing down your system and eventually making you run out of space. This may force you to delete a lot of those older emails.

We often find that clients don’t want to lose old emails. They may contain important information or they don’t want to spend time browsing through hundreds of them deciding which ones to delete. In any case, Microsoft 365 comes with plenty of cloud storage space, so email storage shouldn’t become an issue.

More Efficient
Microsoft 365, being the most recent version of Microsoft Office, is one of the most efficient versions. It has updates and improvements that can boost your productivity better than the traditional Microsoft Office Suite.

Microsoft is continuously at work, innovating to make their tools more efficient. A recent example is its ability to capture printed data in Excel. If you have a printed data chart, you can instantly convert it into a spreadsheet by just clicking a picture using your smartphone and Microsoft 365 app.

Mobile Compatibility and Real-Time Synchronization
Microsoft 365 is mobile compatible and has an app that you can use on your phone to access and edit your Office files anytime, anywhere. Since the files are in the cloud, multiple people may work on the files simultaneously.

Upgrades Are Much Easier
Since Microsoft 365 is online, you don’t have to implement software updates or version upgrades manually for each device. Updates and revisions can be both expensive and cumbersome, so businesses tend to stick with the older version, rather than paying for and installing a new one. Relying on old versions and updates can create security issues. In Microsoft 365, you receive simultaneous automated updates and version upgrades across all your accounts.

Offers a Good Number of Support Tools
Microsoft 365 is more than Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It offers many other support tools that make collaboration more manageable and can help boost the overall productivity of your team. Examples include-Sharepoint, Teams, and OneNote.

You Are Paying Only for What You Use
In the traditional set-up, you are paying for, installing, and using the software program on each individual device. That means staff working remotely from home or other locations, won’t have access to the programs. With Microsoft 365, you are paying per license, irrespective of the device being used. That means anyone can access it, from anywhere, using their credentials. This flexible approach also makes it easy when you scale up or down in terms of staff.

You Don’t Have to Pay Upfront
When you subscribe to Microsoft 365, you can pay the licensing fee on a monthly basis. It is more of a pay-as-you-go format. In the traditional Microsoft Office set-up, you had to pay for the number of licenses you bought, then they were yours to keep. However, they were tied to the device you bought them for, meaning legally, you could install them only on one device.

All Your Favorite Features Stay the Same
If you are already well versed with the traditional Microsoft Office, you don’t have to worry about Microsoft 365 being any different. Microsoft has not made any significant changes in the cloud version that might confuse users that are familiar with the desktop version.

Great Admin Tools
Microsoft 365 offers IT administrators tools that provide them with a lot of control and visibility over activities. Here’s what administrators can do with the new Microsoft 365:

  • Create and delete users.
  • Manage users; create user groups based on user roles and requirements and set different access and permission levels for each user group.
  • Manage the security of data in Microsoft 365 by setting access restrictions, password expiry, etc

Using the admin control tools, administrators can generate reports that tell them usage patterns, draw attention to bugs, or program downtimes. The reports also provide usage patterns that can help you streamline subscription costs.

No matter how intuitive a software suite is to install and use, making sure it is regularly updated, the security patches are in place, and the tool is in compliance with industry regulations, and standards, can be time-consuming, especially when you have a business to run and customers to attend to.

There are multiple versions of Miscorfot 365, each suitable for different business sizes and uses. Consider getting assistance from a Managed Services Provider (MSP) who is authorized by Microsoft. Contact Wahaya IT Consulting for guidance on the Microsoft 365 services that will best suit your business needs.