Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 is quickly gaining popularity in the business world – reportedly passing Google Apps in user count and closing in on Salesforce. Its rise in popularity is due, at least in part, to the flexibility it offers over the desktop version. Both include Microsoft’s backbone tools, like Outlook, Word, and Excel, but with Office 365 you can access them from any device and collaborate online. Another major difference is the pricing plan. You pay a monthly subscription fee for Office 365 (business / enterprise plans run from $6.10 to $44.20 per user, based on a one-year commitment) and you’re always running the latest version. The sticky point, for many businesses, is data storage and integration.
Dude, where’s my data?
If you’re considering Office 365 for your business, the most important thing to understand is that you are ultimately responsible for data backup and recovery. Microsoft has safeguards in place to protect customer data but its back up and retention policies vary between programs. These policies often change and can be very complicated. It’s critical to understand the limitations so that, when necessary, you can easily retrieve emails and files in a timely manner. Integration is another important consideration. For example, if your ERP or CRM software shares data with Outlook, migration from an on-premise server to cloud-based platform requires a little extra work. The good news here is that storing files in the cloud, via OneDrive in Office 365, may present more time-saving and productivity-enhancing integration options for users. Many businesses opt for a hybrid configuration that combines on-premise applications or data with cloud-based services. This can be a temporary measure to migrate users or information to Office 365, or you can continue to have some users or information on-premise and in the cloud.
For most small and midsize companies in Canada, cloud computing is the linchpin in business transformation plans. Whether you’re looking to reduce overhead, increase productivity, scale operations, or open new doors for employee and customer collaboration (perhaps all of the above), we’ll help you determine the best way to protect your data and migrate your systems. At Zantek, we have the business acumen and technical expertise to help you accelerate your goals and thrive in the digital economy. Contact us about your business goals.