If you’re thinking of using Microsoft Office 365 but aren’t sure if it will suit your small business or if you’re already signed up but think you might not be taking full advantage of your monthly fee, this blog is for you.
It’s a pretty straightforward and intuitive setup but with such a wide variety of tools and add-ons, sometimes people don't realise that there is just the tool they need, right there. You might be shocked to find out just how many tools there are available, even if you've been using the system for a while already.
But if you're not already using Office 365, why would you? Maybe you have older, non-cloud versions of Office, or perhaps you're using Google's G-Suite instead. What would make Office 365 a better option for your business?
It's flexible and scalable
Office 365 has 3 different plans that range from £3.80 to £9.40 per user per month, depending on the size of your company and services you need. For the smaller price bracket - Office 365 Business Essentials - you get all your email and office apps as web and mobile versions, plus Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams. Whereas at the top end of the range - Office 365 Business Premium - you get desktop versions of all the apps. With the mid-point - Office 365 Business - email is not included, so that's something to be aware of if you need business email.
For most small businesses, we recommend Office 365 Premium but we don’t think one plan fits all so get in touch and we'll help you figure out which option is right for your business. The point is that everything is flexible, so you get what you need without paying for what you don't.
As you grow, you might want to scale your subscription - the Enterprise level packages include even more tools, enhanced security features, and data analytics. These might not be necessary for you now, but they'll definitely come in handy when your business gets bigger.
You can buy with a monthly commitment (which makes it easy to scale back if you need to), which bumps up the price a little, or pay for a full year up front. Again, flexible.
It keeps your data safe
There's no one around who doesn't know how important data security is these days, with businesses being fined for poor security and breaches, and others losing millions through cyber security issues. So, how can a cloud platform offer enough security to be safe?
Well, as it happens, the big cloud providers offer security far over and above what any small business would be able to implement alone. Their business is the cloud, which means it's in their best interests to offer the best security possible - so they invest huge amounts in different types and measures.
Office 365, for example, is a cloud platform with 5 layers of inbuilt security and proactive monitoring.
This means your data is safe and private at all times. Plus, Microsoft have made loads of effort to ensure that Office 365 is GDPR compliant, so you can rest assured that your software won't let you down.
Of course, you can contribute to keeping everything safe, too, so that you don't add risk as an end user. Implementing multi-factor authentication and making sure staff understand phishing will also help keep you secure.
It promotes remote working
Most people have dreamed of working from home when their alarm goes off at 6am on a rainy, grey day. For lucky ones, working from home or wherever they like is a reality. Remote working allows companies to hire employees who might live in another city, country, or even continent.
Companies like Buffer are a prime example of how successful this type of business model can be. And using cloud services like Office 365 allows this to work for your business as well as your employees. They can access all their data from anywhere around the world, as long as they have half decent internet access, so they won't be missing important documents or wishing they hadn't saved things on the server they can't access outside the office.
Not to mention the fact that Teams and SharePoint make collaboration incredibly simple, making it possible to engage and communicate no matter where everyone else is. Pe
If completely flexible working isn’t in your plan, having the technology available at least means you give your employees the opportunity to work from home if they need to (we’re thinking ill kids, snow days, or unexpected car trouble).
If you're considering remote working but you're not yet sure it's a good idea, you may be interested in how remote working and technology can increase employee engagement.
There are specific apps for small businesses
You’re well aware of the main apps in the Microsoft suite and we agree, it’s a handy - if not an absolutely - vital tool, but it’s time you get to know the not-so-famous packages that will make your team happy to work with each other. You know the saying, teamwork makes the dream work.
We have previously rounded up the 5 best tools for collaboration and you should definitely give it a read. However, today we're looking at apps that will facilitate your small business life.
Microsoft Connections - more and more email marketing has been gaining territory when it comes to essential digital marketing strategies that businesses should adopt. This is the perfect tool for your business, it will help you attract and retain costumers all the while tracking what works and what doesn’t.
Microsoft Listing - This tool will help your customers find you by listing your business on Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp all from one dashboard (everyone loves a new dashboard). Ensure consistency across all directories with this simple tool, which will help improve your local SEO.
Microsoft Invoicing - Pretty self-explanatory, this one. A tool specifically designed for small businesses to help you with creating, tracking and estimating invoices without wasting a tonne of time.
The Office Suite - Word, Excel, PowerPoint - have been around a lot longer than the cloud, and it's likely that you've become pretty comfortable with them over the years. Don't underestimate the power of familiarity. It's amazing how much time you can lose when you need to learn a new system, and how frustrating it can be when you can't find functionality you've come to rely on. New G-Suite users are often irritated by the fact that Google Sheets doesn't have all the functionality of Microsoft Excel - if you're using spreadsheets a lot, you'll probably want to have the familiarity and effectiveness of a tried and tested system.
As well as being home to your familiar Microsoft Office apps, Office 365 improves things further with access to the latest version of each application. You don't have to worry about patches or upgrades - that's all taken care of and you'll always be up to date.
To find out more about how SpiderGroup can help your business with Office 365 support, give us a call on 0117 933 0570.