Top 7 Reasons Why SMBs Should Upgrade to Microsoft Office 365

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7 Reasons Why SMBs Need Office 365

According to Microsoft, over 1 billion people use Microsoft Office. That’s 1 in every 7 people on earth—one heck of a statistic. Consider what a competitive advantage that is when it comes to running your business. Office 365 is a full-featured, business-centric, and cloud-based productivity platform hosted by Microsoft that’s built from the ground up. It helps businesses meet requirements for security, privacy, reliability, and manageability, all while being the most used productivity solution in the world.

That’s what makes Office 365 so well suited for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs). SMBs tend to be closer to their customers (which is a good thing, of course)—but they must be able to provide first-rate service to those customers despite having limited resources to do so. These SMBs need an agile solution that simplifies their existence but doesn’t break the bank.

Office 365 is precisely the solution to address these problems. Office 365 has the benefit of low upfront costs, all the applications that SMBs are familiar with—plus additional rich features they wouldn’t expect—and a financially-backed guarantee of 99.9 percent uptime.

But you probably knew all of this right? Well, we’ve asked around and have compiled here what we’ve been told are the top 7 reasons why Microsoft Office 365 is the smart choice for SMB owners to jump on now.

1. Privacy and Security

Office 365 has taken special measures to provide a platform specifically with security and privacy in mind. IT comes with enterprise-grade security, and there’s a contractual commitment that your data will never be scanned for advertising purposes. Microsoft has implemented security by design with state-of-the-art data centers. Office 365 gives the secure flexibility of encrypted, anywhere-access to data with multi-factor authentication. SMBs receive data loss prevention (DLP) functionality that help them identify and monitor sensitive information like PINs, credit card numbers, or standard forms that all businesses use in some form during daily operations.  And they get the added flexibility of easy setup of DLP policies to notify users that they are sending sensitive information, or they can simply block the transmission of that information altogether. Emails are always encrypted at rest or in motion with S/MIME Encryption and client-side encryption keys; and your most sensitive data is protected with Information Rights Management (IRM) for encryption of content online and off.  Data protection is built-in with Enterprise Data Protection and Office 365 Mobile Device Management for all devices – even for the BYOD businesses out there.

If that’s all a bit “techy” sounding for you, know that your customers’ and partners’ sensitive information, as well as your private business information, are all but guaranteed to be kept private and secure.

2. Work Virtually—Anytime, Anywhere

Working on-the-go is a serious competitive advantage—especially for SMBs looking to deliver stellar customer service to differentiate themselves from larger competitors. Office 365 delivers improved customer experience across platforms and devices both online and offline by allowing web-enabled access to email, important documents, contacts and calendars, and across a litany of devices. Office 365 ensures SMBs and all of their employees can work from anywhere whether or not they have access to the internet.  And this is also coupled with the assurance that the critical information and docs you access outside of the office are still Fort-Knox-secure.  This includes PCs and Mac computers, along with iPhones, Android phone, and even BlackBerrys.  In short, 365 gives you the ability to respond right away from anywhere you care to go, and on virtually any device you want to go with. You’d be hard pressed to find a tablet, smartphone, or place it wouldn’t work.

3. Boost Productivity and Efficiency

In a word, Office 365 is seamless when it comes to ensuring productivity and efficiency. OneDrive for Business provides on- and offline access and automatic syncing of files to reflect the most recent edits so users can be confident that they are always accessing the latest version of documents from any of their devices.  In addition, SMBs get ease-of-access to cloud-based productivity services hosted by Microsoft, such as business-class email, file sharing, and HD video conferencing, making it easier to stay close to clients and fellow colleagues, and ahead of the competition.  Instant messaging, video conferencing, desktop sharing—the whole shebang is built right in and accessible from the desktop app or web browser. Outlook 2016 is being touted as the smartest inbox ever, which many SMBs still on Gmail may balk at, but Microsoft has taken pains to build the new Outlook 2016 (a default application of Office 365) with a lightning-fast search, removal of low priority mail automatically, and the safeguard that makes sure everyone on the To: line has the right access with modern attachments. Another great feature is Windows Hello.  Say “Hello” just once – Windows Hello logs you into your Windows 10 PC and Office 365 all in the same step. Capture your ideas however you work best – using a keyboard, pen, or a touchscreen, easily format information in Excel with tools that recognize your pattern and auto-complete data, and effortlessly incorporate content from PDFs to create your own great-looking Word documents. These features enhance the already familiar Office experience designed for a consistent user experience across devices, on top of the tried-and-true ways to create, collaborate, and communicate.

4. Easy to Learn, Simple to Use

If you’ve used MS Office, you can use Office 365 with virtually no training. For that matter, you can get away with even the most cursory experience of Office products and still operate 365 in no time. What’s not instantly familiar will be more than approachable, and likely, intuitive. More experienced users will find Office 365 to be a streamlined version of what they already know, with newer features built in for you power users out there. For those less familiar, Office 365 ensures that SMB users can start using Office with step-by-step guidance.  Easy web-base management of all the services lets administrators effortlessly add or delete users, define settings, etc.  Controlling document access and data management from OneDrive for Business is a cinch. With the unified  eDiscovery Center, you can search across SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Exchange mailboxes (not to mention eDiscovery integrates nicely with advanced retention and archival which enables in-place legal hold and case-based projects).  Single license per user format allows individuals to work from preferred devices – up to five desktops, and five mobile devices or tablets – simply and without any headache. Office 365 also provides some unique features that are designed to make working in the suite even simpler. With Smart Lookup, you can look up anything with just a click, which brings insights straight from the web right into your Office docs.  Finding the right command also couldn’t be any easier.  Just say the word and Tell Me takes you directly to the feature you need.

5. High Fidelity from cloud-to-ground

Microsoft reported that 70 percent of SMBs are looking to the cloud for collaboration. Office 365 gives SMBs the benefits and productivity of cloud computing without the complexity previously required to get there, and while providing the same Office applications and productivity tools as their customers and partners. The fidelity of their documents are likewise preserved across devices, and will look as expected to the recipient. No wonky changes will occur, even across platforms. That’s no guarantee when using a less common productivity tool.  What’s more, Microsoft has built onto the standard language of business that Microsoft Office documents have become. Office documents interface across Mac and PC with ease, from desktop to cloud and back again. And Office 365 provides the ability to create and edit documents in real time with colleagues and shared documents with partners and clients without loss of quality or accessibility.

6. Built for teamwork and collaboration

Collaboration is the key inter-organizational ingredient for Zen-like success or dysfunction and failure.  More time is lost in process inefficiencies when necessary collaboration has to occur than nearly any other transactional process gap.  Office 365 helps remedy that situation. SMBs can get input without ever leaving their documents thanks to Skype in-app integration.  Users can IM, screen-share, talk or video chat in HD right inside the documents.  Office 365 Groups and Office 365 Planner keeps teams connected with shared conversations, multi-user notebooks, content, plans and more for real-time virtual collaboration.  This allows teams to work together like they are all in one room even if oceans and time zones separate them.  Version control and co-authoring are possible through SharePoint, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote.  Shared inboxes, calendars and document libraries help users collaborate more productively—all of which is elegantly integrated across Exchange and SharePoint.  Public Groups enable users to discover new information and meet new people within their organizations, with group membership likewise integrated across Exchange and SharePoint.  This integration also extends to Yammer – a new service addition to the Office 365 suite.  Yammer extends the social media culture to the business.  Avoid lost productivity to the likes of Facebook and Instagram, and promote social activity instead through the SMB’s own private social networking platform.  Yammer allows private messaging within teams, sharing information and extending information and ideas, public recognition and more in an intuitive way that promotes collaboration and communication – and communications and documents can be shared so that they are searchable by both current and future employees.

7. Peace-of-mind with up-time guaranteed

Microsoft has a proven track record of enterprise-class availability that SMBs can count on when unexpected downtime occurs. Speaking technically, Microsoft has geo-redundant reliability, state-of-the-art hardware, redundant power supplies, and disaster recovery built-in. It’s data centers are located around the world in North America, South America, Europe and Asia to help optimize performance with automatic failovers—not to mention a strict privacy policy. Office 365 is designed to deliver reliability, availability, and performance with a guaranteed 99.9 percent uptime, financially backed service level agreement (SLA). Read our posts on disaster recovery and you’ll see how downtime can be TREMENDOUSLY detrimental to a small to mid-sized business. In short, there’s a 0 percent chance you’ll experience downtime at the fault of Office 365,…well 0.1 percent chance that is.

In short, we’ve heard from our customers that Office 365 has become an invaluable and easily scalable part of their technology investment. For the cost and functions, SMBs can get a lot of power, flexibility and functionality at a lower cost.  Want to know more about Office 365, see a demo of the Office 365 platform, or sign up and get the best rate in town – absolutely no higher than MSRP? Contact us below to speak with our team.

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