When business owners regale the virtues of Office 365, others listen and say, “Well, maybe one day we’ll look into it.” The problem with this kind of thinking is that it puts O365 in a box only reserved for larger companies, and that’s not how the platform is designed to work. Many of the features Microsoft has recently added are beneficial for small businesses that want to grow.

Small Business Office 365

An Upgrade from Traditional Licensing

New, small businesses tend to take a casual approach to licensing, buying individual licenses for their personal/work computers as needed. That’s fine, but only for a while. Eventually purchasing one-at-a-time licenses for the Office Suite or other important software becomes expensive and complex to manage from an administrator’s perspective.

O365 is designed for businesses that have grown beyond a few people, into a staff of employees with multiple desktop computers and mobile devices. When you purchase a package, you’re purchasing services based on the number of users, instead of trying to manage individual licenses, or one-time purchases. This makes it easy to plan for upcoming hires while creating a system that you can manage easily. It also helps you close the door on significant security vulnerabilities.

Collaboration Through the Cloud

Cloud tools are everyway these days, and O365 does a particularly good job of encouraging cloud collaboration. No matter what documents you’re working on, they are connected across Office 365 via platforms like SharePoint, so that you team can see them, share and work on them at the same time. Cloud collaboration is built in from the ground level for Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and other core Microsoft apps.

Additionally, Office 365 adds powerful collaboration tools that help teams communicate.

  • The “Teams” app allows people to connect with each other and share information in a more casual IM/email combo.
  • Planner lets you to schedule events across the office, or assign tasks to specific teams.
  • Yammer is a social space where you can share docs, videos, updates and questions with your groups.

Office 365 comes with plenty of collaboration tools for the modern business—All you have to do is take advantage of them.

Syncing Data Across Everything

O365 is fully synced, another advantage of using cloud computing to share data. In other words, it doesn’t matter which device you switch to, your O365 apps will all be updated with the latest changes so that you won’t miss out on anything. This widespread syncing is a boon to young companies that need flexibility for their busy employees who hop from one device/location to another. Everything stays up to date, and no one gets confused because a meeting or document got changed.

Plus, syncing with Office 365 doesn’t require a VPN (virtual private network) or other complex setup on your part—Everything syncs right “out of the box” for the services you use, without any extra effort.

Cost Considerations

Startups may see higher fees when they first switch to O365, since the subscription-pay structure is more expensive than a one-time software purchase. However, Microsoft designed it this way to provide more value by including additional services and  tiers for different types of businesses.

The good news about this subscription model is that fees are very predictable. They become a set item on the budget so you don’t need to worry about sudden expenses when adopting new technology or creating a new position.

Excellent Threat Intelligence

When you’re ready to upgrade your security, Office 365 is right there waiting for you to make the move. Part of the O365 package (including in the E5 Enterprise tier) is a new Threat Intelligence  that includes tailored administrator reports about ongoing security efforts, new threats, and steps to take to secure data. These reports also access systems operations look for suspicious activity, and report it in alerts.

Remember, hackers love to target smaller companies because they often don’t have the strong security that larger corporations do. Prove them wrong by advancing your security efforts.

Reliability and Recovery

Microsoft aims for 99% uptime on its O365 services. If they do go down, you can bet that they’ll be available again in short order. This reliability is important to meet key deadlines – It’s also better than many smaller vendors can offer. Additionally, the cloud-based nature of O365, and the extended use of OneNote and backup services means that data is generally easy to recover if the worst happens and you lose information.

New Lead Management Services

One of O365’s newest benefits for smaller companies is Connections, an email marketing service that allows you to manage and automate leads from Outlook.  Set appointments, keep track of contact information, reply to discussions, and much more. It’s very useful for a business that’s still building a customer base but isn’t quite ready for a full marketing platform.

Simplified Invoicing and Listing

Finally, Office 365 provides Listings and Invoicing, two vital services for small businesses. Listings helps you manage your online business profiles to make sure your contact/location information shows up where it should. Invoicing helps you quickly create, send and monitor invoices for clients, plus it’s customizable for a variety of industries.

Interested in Microsoft Office 365 for your business? Let’s talk about it! PNJ Technology Partners in Albany provides a variety of data services and IT consultations for companies like yours. Contact us at (518) 459-6712 or {email) to learn more.