Over the past few years, Office 365 has been the topic of conversation with many of our clients. “Our organization is very unique and cannot run any cloud based apps ”, “We’re not ready to move to the cloud,” “We’re licensed for Office 365, but won’t be deploying anytime soon” are just some of the common responses I often hear.
The truth is, although there is some hesitancy to fully deploy in the cloud and legitimate steps you need to take to do it properly, there are important (and cost-saving) reasons for your organization to activate your Office 365 seats.
Here are 8 big benefits your organization will be rewarded with when you do.
- OneDrive for Business : Within the past few months, Microsoft has made several changes to their online storage offering. Previously named “SkyDrive,” Microsoft has renamed it “OneDrive for Business,” but more importantly increased each user’s storage from 25GB to 1TB. Users can store, sync, share and collaborate using their files across multiple devices with ease and security. Using OneDrive can be a significant cost offset for on-premises client backup technologies and a powerful way for your users to have access to their data on any device at any time
- Office for iPad : As announced on April 1, 2014, Microsoft has released Office for the iPad. This milestone offering has enabled Office 365 E3, E4, and Office Pro Plus for 365 subscribers to download Office on up to 5 personally owned or worked owned iPads. Through OneDrive, you will have a seamless transition from editing a document on your iPad and then revisiting it on your laptop or other work device. The Apple store offers a free version that is read only, but if viewing corporate documents within the organization on your iPad without an O365 subscription, you will technically be out of compliance. Unlock the full Office for iPad capabilities through your O365 subscription.
- Home Use Rights : If you were previously utilizing Home Use Rights from your Office Pro Plus perpetual license, you will not see that Software Assurance benefit when you move to an O365 licensing model. By activating your O365 subscription, your users will be able to locally install their Office Pro Plus for 365 on up to 5 machines and an additional 5 iPads/Tablets, therefore negating the need for the Home Use Program.
- Yammer : Each Office 365 Enterprise plan includes a Yammer subscription for your users. Yammer is the market leader in private Social Business Networks. Keep your employees up to speed with the latest organization announcements and reduce email clutter. Softchoice has been using Yammer since 2011 and has been a success story since inception. It continues to be the most used group and cross-functional collaboration platforms in our organization.
- Lync for Web Conferencing : Many clients are spending considerable sums of money on Web Conferencing solutions. Lync Online Plan 2 through your Office E3/E4 subscription offers a competing offer. Whether you are running Lync on-premises or using a competing technology for IM and Voice; Lync Online can be used for hosting your companies web conferences without the high cost of establishing your own infrastructure or paying for another service
- Manage User Identities and SaaS Apps : If you plan to synchronize users from your local Active Directory service to Microsoft Office 365 , you must activate those users before they can use services. By Synchronizing and activating your users, you can evaluate and test various configurations that may be relevant to your organization as well as determine the best methods for authentication including Single Sign On (SSO) or Multi Factor Authentication (MFA). Softchoice offers a suite of services, called Softchoice Cloud, to provide simple administration and support for your Office 365 and other SaaS applications via SSO and MFA.
- Leverage Microsoft’s Email Filtering : Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) is a cloud-based email filtering service that helps protect your organization against spam and malware, and includes features to safeguard your organization from messaging-policy violations. EOP simplifies management of your messaging environment and alleviate many of the burdens that come with maintaining on-premises solutions. EOP can be configured to protect your messaging environment and control mail routing when you have a mix of on-premises and cloud mailboxes
- Microsoft Funding : Most every purchase of Office 365 has coincided with a deployment promotion where Microsoft has provided a significant amount of partner funding to help activate and provision Office 365. Based on reports from Microsoft, only 33% of our clients have taken advantage of these funds. Microsoft’s Fast Track Promotion incents customers to deploy their O365 seats by providing up to $20,000 to help subsidize the engagement. By purchasing at least 150 seats of O365 by June 30th, 2014, you too could help get your organization to the cloud!