Understanding Office 365 – How Does It Benefit Small and Medium Businesses?

An office in the cloud - well that sounds magical doesn't it? Well if you upgrade to cloud computing in your office, you'll find it's more than magical, it's miraculous - as all your earthly IT stress and worries drift away into the atmosphere. The magic of the cloud has changed forever the way that Rochester and Buffalo companies use technology in their business to grow and be more efficient.

Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) make use of cloud technology to enhance communications and collaboration in their offices and to ensure that their employees have access to company data wherever they might be. Some companies love the instant updates, security and storage offered by the cloud - the team at Capstone IT certainly do.

But there are some business owners who may still be wondering about moving to the cloud or who are not sure of the benefits to themselves and their staff. So the Capstone IT experts have put together this blog to show you the benefits of the biggest name in cloud technology for businesses - Office 365. Let's take a look

It All Started With Email and Microsoft Office

Let’s be frank. Most businesses move to Office 365 because they want the email that comes with it. Office 365 uses the powerful Exchange email program with Microsoft Outlook that we are all familiar with. This is also called Hosted Exchange or Exchange Online. It basically means that you no longer need to install Microsoft Exchange on your in-house server. You can use all the business class features of this powerful email software without the headache of maintain and updating it. The next reason Rochester and Buffalo business owners move to Office 365 is because they want to use the latest Microsoft Office products like Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Excel. The staff here at Capstone IT see these applications as old friends.

Well Office 365 offers the same, familiar applications but the technology is moved into the cloud. When you implement Office 365, you get the familiar Outlook and Office applications but enhanced by the collaboration and communication powers of the cloud.

Additional Office 365 Benefits

There are a few other applications that you get with Office 365 with no additional cost. Here are a few key ones that we here at Capstone IT are using regularly to do business.

Onedrive - a cloud hosting service with a massive 1TB of storage space in the cloud so you can store and easily share files.

Yammer - a private social network for your own company that lets your team chat, connect and work together. This is similar to Facebook but meant for business. At Capstone IT, we encourage our employees to post when recognizing and praising fellow colleagues for great work or to promote a social event. Yammer is helping build a strong company culture by allowing free flowing, water cooler like conversations.

Skype for Business - This is a tool to help your team communicate more efficiently. This tool will show the status of all the employees so you can tell if they are free, or they are tied up in a meeting, or if they are away from their desk. When they are free, you can get notified. This tool also allows you to instant message, call or video conference other employees. It also allows for holding online meetings.

Be productive anywhere: Access your data and work efficiently from any device - anywhere, anytime

The modern workforce is a mobile one. If you're anything like us here at Capstone IT, you probably take work home often or work on the move sending emails from the gym or files from the bus stop. And this mobility is enhanced with Office 365. You can install your office and work applications on all the devices you need access to in order to work when and where your schedule dictates. Office 365 apps are available for iPad, Windows Phone, iPhone and Android phones. So as long as people on your team have an internet connection your workers can even sign into work and edit documents, even if they're in Timbuktu (twinned with Tempe Arizona, fact lovers!)

Work better together: Engage and collaborate better between employees, partners and customers

One of the biggest advantages of the cloud and Office 365 in partially is that it enhances collaboration among your staff. Here at Capstone IT, we have found that this ability to collaborate, share documents and work on them at the same time via SharePoint Online has really given productivity a boost. You save time having to meet up and all changes are synchronized and saved automatically in documents and files so there's no more tedious back-and-forth of emails. Your team stays in sync and document management becomes easier than ever.

You are not limited to sharing documents and chat with Office 365. As you many know Microsoft also owns Skype Communications and they've built this video software into Office 365. The Capstone team prefer to stay in touch this way as it feels more personal, and if your company is a customer facing one, you too can benefit from Skype's video calls. Skype's instant messaging also allows you to chat in real time without leaving your desk. You can see who's online, offline or simply too busy for the office gossip.

What About Security with Office 365?

Security is something that plays on the mind of any small business owner. You know that to stay safe you need to be updating your systems and antivirus software, installing patches and keeping on top of all this on a near daily basis. With Capstone IT, our clients utilize the Managed Service plans to keep their business safe. But with Office 365, business owners have the added concern of will their data be safe in the cloud. The answer is that the cloud can be safe and may possibly be safer than the security installed in your server closet. Microsoft also houses your data in multiple data centers so if one data center is down, chances are that you will not experience any downtime.

What's more you have the Cloud constantly backing up your data documents, mailboxes and files securely and off site. This makes business community a breeze. If your offices and servers are affected by floods, storms or any of the bad winter weather that New York State can throw at you, you know you can be back up and running within minutes as all vital data is unaffected.

How Much Does Migrating to Office 365 Cost?

New software can give your small business the edge over competitors, but it can be highly expensive to buy and install over several computers and so most business owners don't like to upgrade very often. But with Office 365, you enjoy the advantage of constant updates that are rolled out automatically as part of your subscription. Your team will always have full access to the very most recent online version apps when they are released. This is cheaper than doing your own upgrades and a single monthly bill brings needed predictability to your IT budget. In addition there are no major upfront investment costs and you can also lower your hardware overheads and software costs. The only upfront cost you will see is the cost for your IT company to migrate your email to Office 365 and install all the other applications so everyone is familiar with Office 2013, Yammer, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and Skype for Business. Capstone has developed a service called Migration Made Easy by Capstone to make this process cost effective and simple to migrate to Office 365. Pricing with Office 365 is flexible too. If you use Office Professional Plus, you have a single monthly fee per user so can scale up or down as you like depending on fluctuations in your business or staff numbers.

If you have any questions about Office 365 and how it could help your small or medium business in Rochester, Buffalo or the New York State area, get in touch with the team at Capstone Information Technologies Incorporated, and request a Free Office 365 Readiness Assessment today or attend and upcoming Office 365 Webinar or call 585-546-4120.


We just released a FREE eBook: Office 365 apps you may not have heard about!Download here