Office 365 is a product offered by Microsoft which provides a range of subscription based services from Office licensing to instant messaging and video conferencing. There are many different packages available and choosing the right one can be difficult. Office 365 can be purchased from your IT company, Telstra or directly through Microsoft on an annual or monthly subscription.
Some main features of the Office 365 package are full installed Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook etc.), cloud storage, business class hosted mailbox, Skype for business and SharePoint Online. These services can stack up quite well when compared to their individual outright licensing costs, minimal on-site infrastructure required to run the services, scalable user licensing options, and always being eligible for the latest versions of the services offered. This can provide your SMB with a cost effective professional solution that achieves your requirements.
1. Licensing and infrastructure costs
It’s quite easy to see the up-front costs of an Office 365 subscription are much less than purchasing Microsoft licensing outright, before even starting to look at infrastructure. However, does it stack up in the long run? Paying $20 per month per user over 3 years adds up to a significant investment! The answer to this depends on your requirements and size of your business. If you’re looking to only take advantage of 1 feature within an Office 365 package, doing the calculations over 3 – 4 years (even under the basis you are purchasing brand new licensing outright every 3 years), Office 365 will more than likely end up more expensive. Where you start to see a saving is when you take advantage of the other features within the Office 365 packages, like Skype, SharePoint, cloud storage, hosted email and Office licensing. To achieve an on-site solution for all those services, you will find the outright licensing costs plus the infrastructure they need to run on ends up being very expensive.
Depending on the number of users you have, especially if your numbers are high, some investigation and calculations are required to determine what is right for you.
2. Scalable user licensing model
Does the number of staff in your SMB fluctuate? On most monthly subscriptions, you can increase or decrease the amount of Office 365 licensing you have so you will not have to pay for licenses that are not in use. You can also change the Office 365 plan depending on what services are required by your users.
3. Always have the latest Microsoft releases
As Office 365 is a subscription based service, you are always eligible for the latest licensing that Microsoft releases for those products you are subscribed to. For example, Office 2016 was recently released, if you had a subscription to Office 365 which provided you with full Office 2013 products, you automatically have the option to download and re-install the new 2016 version of Office for free on your devices. This differs from purchasing MS Office outright, where you’d have to re-buy the licensing when the new version comes out. This can be an expensive exercise, especially at the rate that technologies are now advancing and having reliance on new software and services to provide stable solutions and systems.
There are pros and cons to any sort of technology service, and although certain features and costs can look attractive from the outset, thorough due diligence is required to evaluate each option to determine the best solution for your SMB.
If you are unsure about Office 365 for your business and would like to discuss your requirements with one of our IT consultants, contact us on 1300 991 351 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Our consultants are highly experienced and can do an evaluation of your systems to advise if the solution is suited for your requirements.
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