You’ll no doubt have used Microsoft Office applications like Word and Excel, and you’ve probably seen adverts for Office 365, but you might still be scratching your head, wondering “What is Office 365?”. Here at Superfast IT we’ve helped businesses for several years with their Office 365 licencing and explaining what Office 365 is.
The reason behind your confusion could be that Office 365 isn’t one product; it’s a suite of different applications and online services, all sold in various packages under the Office 365 brand.
Another thing to get your head around is that you need to take out a monthly or annual subscription to access any of the different Office 365 plans; gone are the days where you would buy software off the shelf as a one-time purchase.
At the time of writing this article, just over half of our IT support clients have an Office 365 subscription, with the vast majority having the Office 365 Business Premium plan.
Office 365 Business Premium costs from £9.40 per user per month; let’s take a look at what you get for your money:
Microsoft Office Applications
With a subscription, you’ll have access to the latest version of the familiar Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and Access.
Because Office 365 uses a per-user licensing model, you can install the software on up to 5 computers per user. So, if you’re like me with a PC in the office, a Mac laptop, and a PC at home, you’re free to use the software on all of those machines with a single user license.
Yes, you read that right, there are Mac versions of most of the applications too!
And, for times when you’re not sat in front of a computer, there are mobile apps for your iOS or Android devices too. You can install these apps on another five devices.
As well as the above applications, Office 365 Business Premium includes a suite of online services, enabling you to share information and communicate with colleagues, partners and customers.
Frankly, there are too many included online services to tell you about in one article, but I’ll give you an overview here, then follow up with some further articles on how you can take advantage of these.
Email and calendars
You might have previously had an on-premise Microsoft Exchange server for your email and calendars, or had this functionality included with a Small Business Server, but now this is provided for you in the cloud.
You get a massive 50GB of storage per user, which is the equivalent of what most small businesses might previously have had for the entire company!
Your emails and calendars are accessible through Outlook or a web browser, and will fully sync with your mobile device.
File storage and sharing
OneDrive for Business is a cloud storage solution that allows users to access files from virtually anywhere, on almost any device. Again, the amount of storage provided is generous, with 1TB for each user.
With Skype for Business, you can communicate with other users via instant message, voice calls and video calls.
Other online services
There are loads more online services than we can cover here:
- Online conferencing.
- Microsoft Teams – a chat-based workspace which is similar to Slack
- Yammer – a social network just for your company
- Sharepoint – a team site for sharing documents
- Office online – versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote that run in your web browser
- Planner – a work management tool for planning and organising tasks
- Sway – a way to create engaging web-based presentations
- Delve – a tool for searching and discovering content in Office 365
Other Office 365 Plans
There are other Office 365 plans to suit a wide variety of businesses. We’ll cover these in a future article to help you decide between them. Alternatively, feel free to get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help.
Office 365 Deployment
Unless you know what you’re doing, it can be quite challenging and time-consuming to migrate your existing data and get set up with Office 365.
Superfast IT is a Microsoft Partner specialising in Office 365. With dozens of successful deployments under our belt for businesses in Birmingham and the West Midlands, we can provide the assistance you need to make it a smooth transition. Please get in touch for more information.
Hopefully, this guide has given you an idea on what Office 365 is and what it does. If you have any questions about Office 365 leave them in the comments below. Take a look at our related content for more information on Office 365.