What is Microsoft Office 365 for Business?

Their are a couple of differences between Microsoft Office and Office 365:

  • Office365 is a monthly subscription to the same Microsoft Office suite of applications you previously had to buy.
  • By subscribing to a service, you are always on the latest version and don’t need to worry about upgrades.
  • Office 365 allows you to run the full Office suite locally* and synchronises both the applications and data, with the Office 365 Cloud service, hosted and run by Microsoft.
  • With Office 365 you also get additional Cloud services, such as storage, smart-device support and some shared collaborative services. Meaning you can store and access data from a tablet or smartphone and work more efficiently*.

Office 365 – The pro’s and con’s

These pro’s and con’s vary according to the Office 365 package you are on and may change with future Microsoft updates.

Office 365 – The Pro’s

  • Low capital outlay; you don’t ‘buy’ Office, instead you pay a monthly subscription that should cost in over a 3 years; which is when you’d likely upgrade.
  • Get more; it’s more attractive for Microsoft to have Office 365 customers then standard Office and so they offer more features and capabilities.
  • Mobile; you are less dependant on your PC, you can access your Office 365 applications and data from any devices*.
  • Lower cost; you need less infrastructure to support Office 365 users, which is run by Microsoft as a Cloud service.
  • Updates are included in your monthly Office 365 subscription.
  • Support is direct from Microsoft 25x7x365, they offer a 99.9% availability.

* Depending on your subscription.

Office 365 – The Con’s

  • Customisation; you have limited control over your environment, affecting 3rd party plug-ins and integrations.
  • Security; no doubt Office 365 is a prime target for hackers and so the potential threat may be higher, however Microsoft are making investments into security that very few organisations could afford.
  • Increased reliance on Microsoft to address and fix service issues.
  • Power; you are effectively still running a local version of Office*, so you need a good specification PC and Internet connection.
  • Bandwidth; Office 365 is ‘Fat Client’ you download, upload and sync data over the Internet, you download Office 365 updates locally on your PC.
  • Silo; Office 365 does not integrate with your other business applications and your data.

Office 365 – Is it right for your business?

Before investing in any technology solution, including Office 365, is important to ask some basic questions:

  1. What do we need and why?
  2. How do users work?
  3. What problems am I trying to solve?
  4. What potential challenges will this solution create?
  5. What are the alternatives?

Many organisations from SME to large global enterprises, will see significant benefits by moving to Office 365, as will public sector and education with additional licensing incentives from Microsoft. However, what if you want more than Office 365?.

Cloud9 – For those that need more than Office 365

Office 365 only goes part way to commoditising IT services. It doesn’t address other non-Microsoft Office applications used within an organisation and it limits the customisation of Office.

Cloud9 addresses these issues by delivering a full, highly secure Cloud service, which can include the desktop operating system and all associated server applications and data. Essentially offering Desktop as a Service (DaaS) or IT as a Service.

Many enterprises want to see the same benefits of Office 365, across the entire business.

Additionally they want integration between Office 365 and the business applications. Cloud9 goes much further than Office 365, it’s a Cloud based solution that delivers:

  • Windows 7 or 8.1 as a virtual desktop
  • Microsoft Office
  • Any Windows Server, Desktop or Linux based application
  • Access from any device – BYOD
  • Auto-scale storage, back-up and DR
  • High Powered Computing
  • Exchange, Lync, AD, Dynamics CRM
  • Support for SQL
  • VDI, Citrix Receiver, XenApp
  • Integration with Microsoft Azure, Google Apps, or AWS
Desktop as a Service Virtual Desktop as a Service trial

Due to the nature of Cloud9, it is possible to upgrade a users desktop with additional storage or processing power in real-time.

Applications and databases can be better monitored for performance and changes to CPU can easily be made.

Test and development environments can be made available within minutes, charged on a usage basis offering the ultimate flexibility.

Cloud9 – Desktop as a Service extends the benefits associated with Office 365, to the entire ICT environment.

Microsoft Office & Office 365 Alternatives

Microsoft Office – The alternatives

Their are more and more alternatives to Microsoft Office and Office 365. We have selected some of the most popular ones used commercially. Some are pure open source, other are freemium (free & premium versions) or pure paid for alternatives.

There are free open source alternative for both MAC and PC, the most popular are:

  • Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite
  • LibreOffice embeds several applications that make it the most powerful Free & Open Source Office suite on the market

And paid for alternatives include:

  • Softmaker is a complete office suite with a word processor, a spreadsheet application, and a presentation-graphics program
  • Kingsoft Office provides friendly Word processing, Spreadsheets & Presentation software

Office 365 – The Alternatives

More and more options are appearing for Cloud based Productivity suites or applications, many add much more than traditional office suites:

  •  ZohoDocs easy Online Document Sharing & Management and lesser known alternative to Office 365, it also has other functionality such as CRM
  • Google Docs is seen as a close alternative to Office 365
  • Open Xchange – OX a centralized cloud environment that lets your users manage their digital lives. It contains all the components necessary in today’s world to get things done anywhere and without installing any software
  • Bitrix24 is a complete suite of social collaboration, communication and management tools
  • ThinkFree offers options from onsite enterprise grade, mobile and pure Cloud, they are one the few Java based office alternatives

Office 365 for Business

Updated on 2015-02-06T15:22:53+00:00, by michael.owen4.