This is a guest post written by Glenn Gray, a senior product marketing manager at Rackspace focused on productivity and collaboration tools such as Office 365, MS Exchange and Sharepoint.
A lot has been written about Office 365 since its initial release in late June of 2011.
Much of that has focused on why an organization should or should not migrate from older on-premises versions of Office to 365. Features like SharePoint, OneDrive and Skype for Business make it an especially appealing offering and should definitely be part of an organization’s calculus when deciding whether or not to make the switch.
But these and other cool features alone should not be the only reasons for migrating. Rather, an organization should consider how these features translate to better productivity and more predictable (and sometimes lower) costs. With that in mind, let’s examine the top five reasons an organization should migrate to Office 365 now.
1.) Productivity Gains – There are three main features of Office 365 that enable a more productive workforce.
- First is cross-platform support allowing users to access their documents from PCs, Macs, iOS and even Android devices. This is important because more and more organizations are either issuing or allowing employees to use their own devices that aren’t just PCs.
- Second is anytime/anywhere access to work generated with Office 2016 products. This is important in that it gives employees quick and easy access to work they’ve generated with Office 365 regardless of their location.
- Third are the sharing and collaboration features built in to Office 365. Changes to documents and spreadsheets can be tracked by users across an organization without many different versions being generated. This keeps everyone working on the same page!
2.) Flexible Deployment Options – Office 365 can be deployed in one of three ways, depending on an organization’s security needs or migration timeline.
- First is on-premises deployment. This involves deploying the Office 365 Business, Business Premium, E3 or ProPlus plans that come with the full local install versions ofOffice 2016. This allows an organization to deploy in a manner consistent with older on-premises versions of Office with the cost and scale benefits of Office 365.
- Second is cloud deployment. This is the deployment method most commonly associated with Office 365 and involves migrating back-end services like Exchange and Sharepoint to the cloud.
- Third is hybrid deployment. Like you might have guessed, this allows organizations to deploy both on-premises and in the cloud. For example, an organization may choose to integrate Office 365 with on-premises Active Directory services or SharePoint.
3.) Predictable & Manageable Costs – In the past, many organizations opted for one-off purchases of Office products as they hired new employees. What happens if the employee leaves or the company downsizes? Microsoft certainly won’t allow you to return your software for a refund! It becomes a sunk cost.
Migrating to the Office 2016 suite in Office 365 gives an organization the flexibility to scale up or down with a predictable cost structure. Pay for what you use, nothing more. The same applies to individual Client Access Licensing costs for Exchange, SharePoint or Skype for Business. Rather than committing to expensive licensing on long term contracts with Microsoft, for those organizations that chose volume licensing agreements with Software Assurance from Microsoft, Office 365 offers an easy transition to a more flexible arrangement with a familiar cost structure.
4.) It’s Always Up-to-Date – Office 365 subscribers always have access to the latest version of Office products regardless of deployment type. In the past, access to new versions of Office involved the wholesale purchase of new licenses or the maintenance of Software Assurance agreements from Microsoft.
Software Assurance is a sort of insurance policy that lets organizations receive the latest versions of Microsoft products, among other features, without having to buy all new licenses. Office 365 obviates the need for this package solely for purposes of maintaining current versions of Office.
5.) Support During and After Migration – For those organizations that need help, services are available! Buying Office 365 from Rackspace gives organizations access to expert help during and after the migration. For those choosing to buy directly from Microsoft and still need expert help, Rackspace offers Managed Enterprise Services for Office 365 which include migration planning and assistance as well as ongoing Fanatical Support after the deployment.
Opting for these services reduces costs associated with staffing and support, helps with end-user adoption and leads to successful migration and setup of Office 365 with as little impact to end users as possible.
Office 365 is the future of office productivity and collaboration tools. It is simply a matter of time before all of us are using it or something like it. The question each organization must ask is, when is the time right for us to make the switch? Whether you opt for the big leap to the cloud or the hybrid deployment option, Office 365 can help your organization increase productivity and manage costs. And with migration help and support available 24x7x365 from experts, the time to migrate may be now!