The new Microsoft Office 365 has certainly got people talking, so why is Windows’ latest offering causing such a difference of opinion amongst users? A huge suite of other services and software, as well as a pay as you go style scheme has given 365 plenty of appeal, but it does have cons as well as pros. It’s advisable for chief IT officers to test out the system within a production environment first, rather than jumping straight in and transferring an entire team of staff in one go.
In terms of business efficiency, nothing has had a larger impact than cloud services in the last ten years. The world’s largest online firms such as Amazon and Google are now offering cloud services and 365 is Microsoft’s answer to the demand for cloud storage.
365 has set itself apart from many other providers by offering pay as you go prices for enterprise level security – an attractive prospect to firms struggling in the current economic climate. 365 integrates the professional software suite and utilises it as a web based solution along with the Lync communications server, SharePoint document server and Exchange messaging service, all of which are supported by a downtime guarantee of 99.99%, which equates to nine hours of downtime annually.
Pay As You Go
Microsoft have garnered complaints in the past about the high price of their software licences and the complexity of updating and keeping track of each seat. That’s prior to factoring in the expense of desktop maintenance and servers. To combat this issue, Microsoft have set up a pay as you go system for 365 similar to those found on the public cloud. The system works like a utility bill in that you only pay for what you use. This approach has been a major reason why the cloud has become so popular, as it eliminates the necessity for expensive overheads like IT investment and maintenance. In addition it allows firms to budget more effectively and be more flexible as staff can work from anywhere provided they have internet access. In terms of ROI, the Office 365 payment structure is one of the best on offer.
There are many advantages to choosing Microsoft 365, but there are a few drawbacks too. According to recent evaluations carried out by ImprovIT, it was found that 365 worked more slowly over the internet than in a physical environment, although this is to be expected to a certain extent when retrieving data and applications over the net.
However, home workers may be subject to slow internet connectivity which could in turn slow down their productivity as compared to other alternatives. Although it’s hard to measure a specific degree of productivity loss, many users will simply vote with their feet if they don’t feel the ease of use of the product is of an acceptable standard.
Office 365 is an effective cloud based solution, but it’s not right for every company. Before you decide to migrate to the cloud with Office 365 carefully evaluate your business requirements, performance parameters and costs to ascertain whether it’s the right choice for you.
Benjamin Totham is an advocate for Microsoft but even he struggles to get his head around their newest offerings sometimes! He works as a consultant for Sprint Integration, a company which offers IT support solutions to businesses in Essex and London.