Cloud computing’s software as a service model (SaaS) has changed the game in business. A few years back, you have to invest thousands of dollars to get an enterprise grade CRM solution; or pay high hardware and license costs just to have your own on-premise Exchange set-up. When Microsoft launched Office 365 in 2011, businesses started to have a little bit of room to move. The tech giant offered Office 365 for Professional and Small Businesses together with Office 365 for Midsized Business and Enterprises. Now, it is not about choosing to have an industry grade solution versus a mediocre open source platform.
When Microsoft updated its Office 365 plans just early this year, Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Mid-Sized Business were added. These Office 365 plans now aim to meet the needs of small businesses. This suite includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher and even Lync. The more upgraded version – the one for Mid-Sized business, has been designed to have more enterprise-oriented management functionality. Its license can be used for up to five PCs/devices per user. The Small Business plan only costs $6 every month while the Premium one costs $15 per user per month. Now, with all the benefits of Office 365 for small business all without the burden of paying a heavy upfront, what are the notable benefits aside from cost?
First, Office 365 supports mobility. The trend in business calls for the capability to respond to client demands, issues, risks and opportunities at the smallest lead time. To do this, employees must be capable of gaining access to valuable information, systems and other resources that are normally available in the office. Remote workers or those deployed on field can now easily access Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and Outlook email through Office 365. In effect, this makes people more efficient by working remotely, multi-tasking and generally becoming more flexible despite not directly working on their office desks.
Second, Office 365 also promotes enhanced collaboration through Lync Online. Gone are the days when you have to make expensive phone calls or travel just to set-up a face-to-face meeting with clients. Lync Online through Office 365 allows employees and your clients to communicate efficiently and cost effectively through the cloud. With this, users can do conference calls, group chat, share desktops, presentations, videos and files; there is even a virtual white board that is very useful for brainstorming fit for creative meetings, risk and issue resolution.
Third, small businesses can now gain access to enterprise grade platforms useful in creating their own customer relationship management (CRM) solution and team site; have an efficient document management system that allows businesses regardless of size to standardize templates, processes; and even get a hold of version controlled document that is very important most especially in doing business proposals, request for information (RFI) and request for quotation (RFP). SharePoint Online can make this all possible. With its lean and clean use interface packed with the core specialty of SharePoint and its cloud enhancements, small business can definitely compete head-on with enterprises in terms of standardization and process.
Office 365 is a perfect example of how technology can be harnessed to give value to business. If you want to start with our own Office 365 implementation today, our team of experts at Portal Integrators can help you.