Many clients ask if they should consider hosted email solutions like Office 365 instead of traditional, on-premise Microsoft Exchange servers. Others want to know why they should consider Microsoft’s email solution over the slew other hosted email solutions out there. There are a lot of advertisements floating around lately for Office 365, whether from Microsoft direct or partner companies. I wanted to take some time to answer some common questions about Office 365 hosted mail, in order to help you make an informed decision about whether Office 365 is the right choice for you.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is everywhere. It seems that gone are the days of buying a piece of software and it’s yours. It seems everyone wants to sign you up for a monthly fee. It’s true, you can easily get SaaS’ed out, so we can understand why some customers don’t want to think about adding another monthly fee on the books. However, Office 365 might be one SaaS that really should get a closer look. Let’s face it, everyone is buying Microsoft Office, and every business is using some sort of company-branded email. Both of those come with expenses. Office 365 takes those two things and packages it up (nicely, I might add) as an affordable service.
Let’s talk about why this all makes perfect sense…
The first thing I’ll point out is, if you run your own email in-house, you should know that the total cost of ownership (TCO) is much more than just the cost of an Exchange server, licensing, and installation.
If You’re not Making the Switch to Office 365 You should consider everything, including:
Cost of the Exchange server
Cost of hardware to run the Exchange server (server, disk, RAID, power, heating, cooling, backups)
Cost of bandwidth (Internet)
Cost of the licensing and client access licenses (CALs)
Cost of installing and configuring the Exchange server (it’s not as easy as 1..2..3!)
Cost of security (SSL certificates)
Cost of maintaining and updating the hardware and operating system (server maintenance contracts and upgrade insurance)
Cost of downtime for any hardware or Internet failures
Cost of Exchange consultants if you do have any issues
Here are 8.5 of the Benefits of Switching to Office 365
By moving to Office 365, you get pay-as-you-go pricing, which provides predictability and flexibility. Buy as many licenses as you want. Scale up, or scale down. It’s really a lot simpler than running an on-premise server. This can save a lot of up-front cost.
(.5) The pricing is actually more affordable than you’d think. With full office suite plans starting at under $10/month, you can always stay current with the latest Office software with never having to shell out the bucks all at once for a new license. Nothing is more annoying than having to make a customer pay $150+ for an Office license for a new computer/user knowing that a new version would be out in a matter of months. Now, you’ll always get the latest version with no upgrade fees!
Office 365 is more than just Word, Excel, etc. It is (depending on your license) actually a hosted Exchange (email) server. Now, one of the most powerful email systems that used to be only for Fortune 500 corporations, can be accessed by even the smallest of small businesses. Enterprise-level features and reliability for pennies per day!
Office 365 is financially backed by Microsoft, a trusted name, with more up-time, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery and powerful security. Microsoft is a trusted name in technology, and they have invested a lot of their dollars into an enterprise infrastructure to run Office 365.
Get only the licenses you need for each user. This can be a particularly good idea for seasonal businesses or those who have a need to expand and contract the number of users on the email system.
Office 365 is backed by Versutia Solutions’ exceptional support that is available when you need it.
Upgrades happen automatically so your IT management costs go down. To stay secure and reliable, Exchange needs to be patched and updated regularly. The problem with on-premise servers is that each of these upgrades (especially service packs) can take the server offline for hours at a time. And what happens when patches and updates go wrong? With Office 365, Microsoft handles all updates in a way that doesn’t affect availability. In other words, email stays up, even when updates happen.
Standardized tools mean you don’t need to remember multiple log-ins or learn new applications for each device. Reduce passwords! With Office 365 single sign on (SSO), you have the same username and password to access email, SharePoint, OneDrive, and your Office apps.
Scale up as your business grows with a simple phone call. When you need more licenses because you hire additional staff, just give us a call, and we can add a user quickly. Just like that, you have a new user set up with email, SharePoint, OneDrive, and office application access.
One of the more confusing aspects of moving to Office 365 can be the various options that exist. For example, did you know there are several different email/SharePoint/OneDrive/Office plans to choose from, each with its own set of features? And guess what? Some of them aren’t that easy to find on Microsoft’s website. Different plans include different combinations of mailbox-only, mailbox and Office suite, OneDrive, Yammer, Delve, Skype, and SharePoint. Also, there are other plans that can be leveraged by businesses, including Office 365 Kiosk plans. These are perfect for shared users (for shift workers in warehouses, as an example). Let us help you pick the plan that works best for your business. Finally, one of the biggest advantages of moving to the Office 365 platform is that you can get the entire Microsoft Office suite with your email plan. This means that you get not only your mailbox, but a full copy of Microsoft Office (different versions available, depending on the plan you choose). It simplifies licensing dramatically, since you no longer have to deal with purchasing box (“now where did I leave that copy of Office. I know it’s in one of these drawers somewhere”) or open license copies of Microsoft Office on the fly or as needed. And, your Office suite is always up-to-date on all your devices – PC, Mac, iPhone, Android…it doesn’t matter! Still wondering, “Should I Switch to Office 365?”, if we can help in any way with your Office 365 decisions, let us know. Contact us today and we’ll set up a time to talk or visit to discuss your Office 365 questions and develop the right strategy for you. Other Microsoft Cloud offerings include Microsoft Azure and OneDrive, among others. One thing is for sure – the world of “cloud” and “hosted” solutions can be confusing, and our #1 goal is to take the confusion out of strategy decisions like this one!