Microsoft Office 365 certainly isn’t a new product. It was introduced way back in 2011, which is light years ago from a technology prospective. Even after all these years, adoption from small and medium-sized businesses (less than 250 employees) is only around 7.5%, according to a survey conducted by IT firm SkyKick. There are a number of factors that have influenced the adoption rate, but one key reason is the previous investments that businesses have made.
The best place to start in your evaluation of Office 365 is to understand how your firm uses the features of your current version of Office. For example, do you and your employees primarily operate Office on one device? Do you use Microsoft Exchange? How do you collaborate, share and retain files?
Your answers to these questions are very important because a core benefit of Office 365 is the ability to work anywhere, exchanging information relatively seamlessly and on multiple devices, and under one user or subscription license. These features of Office 365 can be particularly beneficial for firms that have employees in multiple locations or have a number of employees who work remotely.
In addition to the standard suite of Office applications, Office 365 also includes several online services. Some of these services include cloud file storage, online conferencing, email, instant messaging, calendars and online scheduling. Most advisors are already using many of these services today, either with another provider or “a la carte” with Microsoft. If you decide to use Office 365 for these online services, there could be some overall cost savings as well as potential efficiency improvements.
User Control, Security
Another key feature of Office 365 is that you are always using the latest version of the software. Microsoft manages updates, including the IT aspects of upgrades where there are potential downtimes, capability issues and potential hardware problems. This can be a significant benefit for your firm if you are focused on being an early adopter of technology solutions.