Most Common Office 365 Products: What’s Included & What Are the Benefits?
Office 365 is a subscription-based Cloud service, hosted by Microsoft. It provides a wide range of products you're probably already familiar with, such as Microsoft Word.
Office 365 can be broken into two major groups:
- Email and Communications
- Office Applications
All Office 365 services work on a subscription model. You pay a monthly (or annual, if you prefer) subscription per user for the services you choose. This kind of flexibility can have a positive impact on your business's ability to scale.
There are a wide variety of products available through this platform, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. But it is an overview of the most commonly used products in a small business environment.
So here's an informal introduction to Office 365 products.
Office 365 Email and Communications Products
Full-Featured Microsoft Exchange Business Email
When you subscribe to Office 365 business email, you get the full-featured Microsoft Exchange mailbox. It's hosted on Microsoft’s Cloud and is accessible from just about any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. You can access your inbox through a web-based site, or the Outlook application.
A huge benefit of moving your email to Office 365 is that you don’t have to worry about your email server’s Internet or power stability. Another great feature is that you don’t have to worry about managing the hardware it’s running on, or about upgrading every few years.
With Office 365, access to the latest version will always be available.
Office 365 Instant Messaging and Meeting Platform: Skype for Business
In addition to hosted email, certain Office 365 plans also include Skype for Business. Skype for Business a powerful instant messaging and meeting program. It integrates automatically with email and Microsoft Office, and is as user-friendly as the social, or consumer, version you may be familiar with.
This tool can also improve your company’s internal communications through quick, convenient chat.
Collaboration and Storage Products: SharePoint Online and OneDrive
Other services that are available in the Office 365 platform are SharePoint online and OneDrive. SharePoint is a web-based, collaborative platform and OneDrive is a web-based storage platform. Both are included for free with specific plans.
Microsoft Office Applications
Most Common Office Products: Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint
Microsoft's most popular applications are Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.
Just like Office 365 email, these Office applications are available through an Office 365 subscription as an alternative to purchasing the software outright. Your monthly plan can be updated anytime to the number of licenses you need, which allows you to scale your company’s unique software requirements easily.
If someone leaves the company, their Office 365 license can be re-assigned to a new hire, or removed entirely so you’re no longer paying for it.
This allows considerable improvement of flexibility over the old model of licensing. Before this option, you would purchase outright a license for each user. If that user left and that position wasn't filled, you'd have spent money on unused licenses.
Another great benefit is the straightforward tracking of user count and re-assignment of licenses using an online management portal. Long gone are the days of lost licenses, or the fear of not having enough licenses to be in compliance.
If you need additional software, subscriptions for Microsoft Visio and Project can also be added on an à la carte basis.
Benefits to Office 365 Over Purchasing Licenses Outright
A significant benefit that outweighs buying individual licenses is software updates. If your subscription is active, you'll have access to the latest update/version the software has to offer. No more wondering if your documents are secure, if the software has reached the end-of-life, or if you’ll be able to open the documents you received from someone using a newer version. You can always be up-to-date.
Everyone on the Same Version
Another significant benefit is it simplifies a company’s workflow by ensuring that everyone is using the same version of Office. It is removing the frustrations caused by incompatibility and inconsistencies between older versions.
Only Pay for What You Need
As I mentioned before, buying licenses on a subscription model allows you to pay only for what you need, when you need it. As your company’s size fluctuates, you’ll be able to enable and disable licenses as needed.
Office 365 has done a great job at giving companies the ability to customize and select exactly what they need. You can mix-and-match subscriptions so each user has the right combination of email, online services, and applications.
Keep in mind, this is just an overview of the most commonly used Microsoft products in small businesses. Office 365 has many more products available.
If you have any questions about Office 365 options, or if it’s right for your organization, feel free to reach out to us any time.
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