Last Updated on 27th January 2022
Microsoft 365: What You Need to Know for Business
This article is Part 3 in our Microsoft 365 series.
Part 1: What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 offers everything your business needs, including both productivity and security tools. Available via a subscription-based service that’s designed especially for small to medium enterprises, Microsoft 365 gives you all the tech and tools you need to grow your business.
What’s included in Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a software suite that includes Office 365, plus Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Businesses can purchase Office 365 as a stand-alone product, or opt to purchase Microsoft 365 and get Office, plus the Windows 10 operating system, and security tools, all in one.
With Microsoft 365, you get:
- Windows 10 Pro. Includes all the standard features, plus some extras that are geared towards small and medium enterprises.
- Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. 365 is a cloud-based subscription. As long as you keep paying, your business gets to use all the latest versions of the Office 365 product suite.
- Tools for collaboration, flexibility, and productivity. Microsoft 365 is huge for businesses. It provides a range of products that help your employees communicate, collaborate, and share knowledge.
- Premium business apps. Included with Office 365 Business Premium, you get half a dozen business-focused apps for tasks such as email marketing, invoicing, tracking mileage, and making bookings.
The most obvious benefits of purchasing a 365 subscription are the convenience and the savings. With this product, you get your operating system, word processing software, and security tools, all in one.
How can Microsoft 365 help your organisation?
Choosing Microsoft 365 has a number of benefits that can be useful to any organisation, including non-profits and the self-employed, as well as businesses of all sizes. Of course, the specific benefits you can expect depend a lot on how your organisation uses each software product and app. But in general, Microsoft 365 can offer benefits that are important to any business. For instance
- Convenience. It’s hard to ignore the convenience of getting your operating system, word processing, and security software all at the same time. And since you’re purchasing on a subscription-based model, you get automatic updates for all software products included in the price.
- Productivity. Office 365 makes it supremely easy for employees to share information, stay in contact, and work together on any project. With all data stored in the cloud, every team member can quickly access, modify, and save collaborative documents. And with Microsoft Teamwork integrated into Microsoft 365, communication is made easier too.
- Flexibility. Cloud storage and access is built into the 365 range of software products. You can still store your data on an office computer, but your data will always be in the cloud, too. You and your employees can have the same access to data wherever they happen to be, whether they’re at work or at home, or at a conference anywhere in the world.
- Security. Microsoft 365 includes security tools that help keep your data safe, whether it’s in the cloud or being shared across different devices. Multiple copies of Office 365 data are kept in the cloud, safe from both malicious attacks and accidental data loss.
- Value. Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are available as part of several different business-focused subscription plans. Each offers a different range of functions and services, so you can choose what’s best for your business and your budget.
High-level functionality for the business on a budget
One company that’s discovering the benefits of Microsoft 365 is QuoteGoat, an online comparison-shopping website. With offices based in London, founder Michael Foote notes that in particular, Office 365 was hugely important for QuoteGoat when the company was in its start-up phase. The most important aspect, says Foote, was that the subscription-based model made the software much more affordable. The business was able to achieve a level of functionality that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. Other benefits, says Foote, include the ability to set up new employees with Office accounts within minutes, even remotely. And the Office 365 system helps the company retain control of its data, too.
Fast, flexible, and portable collaborative tools
Microsoft’s office suite is a great option for sole traders and the self-employed, as well as for larger businesses. For instance, Hannah Brice of Upmarketry has built a service that helps start-ups access freelancers and consultants across the UK. Rather than taking on full-time employees, Upmarketry an extensive network of freelancers and agencies it can call on as needed. For Brice, the portability and flexibility of the 365 products are integral to the way she runs her business. The software works across all her devices and syncs data easily, meaning that she can run her business fully and effectively from any location. She cites Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Planner as being particularly useful for keeping project team members updated, and for allowing team members to quickly and easily share information.
Switching to Microsoft 365 is Easy
Thinking about moving your business to a new software product can be intimidating. There’s often a lot of work involved in planning and preparing for the move, as well as a learning curve afterwards. But there are lots of great reasons to take the plunge—and since Microsoft offers a 30-day free trial, there’s no reason not to!