Office 365 is a as a Software as a Service (SaaS) suite of business tools. Is that it? Nope. The real answer to “What is Office 365?” involves options for video chat, Cloud storage, managed email, and more.
With name and service changes, the capabilities of Microsoft and other software programs can be confusing. For example, while both products are offered by Microsoft, Office 365 and Office 2016 have differing features and delivery modes.
Office 2016 is a one-time purchase with standard office tools like Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, without the option for updates. Office 365 delivers these tools, with updates, along with additional capabilities, features, and service.
From a standpoint of functionality—let’s talk about Office 365.
Office 365: What does it do?
Office 365 is a Cloud service that requires internet access. You subscribe on a monthly or annual basis to a plan that suits your business needs. Here are some basic points about Office 365 features:
- Exchange Online: Manage your calendar, contacts, and email with Exchange Online. Part of Office 365, Exchange Online is a hosted email service that offers you the ability to manage your mail on Microsoft’s secure servers—instead of maintaining your own on-premise. Microsoft claims a 99.9 percent uptime with continuous security monitoring and 24/7 IT support.
- OneDrive for Business: An important feature of Office 365 is OneDrive. This is another application that has gone through a few name changes like SkyDrive and Windows Live Folders. OneDrive is the Cloud capability that allows you to store, sync, and access your files with your desktop or mobile device. Work offline by syncing your device with OneDrive and go internet free. You can also sync your Sharepoint files with OneDrive. Sharepoint is a more powerful document management system included in versions of Office 365.
- Skype for Business (SFB): Pulling together the online compliance and security of Lync, Skype for Business is a product familiar to anyone who has used the video conferencing tool, Skype. By combining Lync with SFB in the Office 365 product, Microsoft offers instant messaging, online meetings, video conferencing—and an app to take your meeting mobile when needed.
- Business mobile apps: Office 365 aims to deliver a secure computing environment wherever you are. For Office 365 plans that include mobile device management, you have the capability to control access to mobile devices of your choice, deploy device controls, and selectively wipe your company data from an employee’s device without damaging their personal data.
- And more! Depending on your Office 365 subscription, you can purchase several add-ons for increased functionality. You might choose mailbox encryption, a service that gives you end-to-end protection for your email messages and attachments. Or, you might be interested in personal analytics clustered around time management. Delve Analytics is an app that offers insight into how you spend your time, who you collaborate with—and time spent with (or without) important contacts.
Which plan is right for you?
There are a number of Office 365 plans. As you might expect, each plan has different features, options, and costs. Consider your plan after you fully understand the packages and pricing available and advisable for your type of business.
What is Office 365? It is a robust suite of business service and management tools that could offer the capabilities you need out of the box. When you have questions about Office 365, or your Cloud computing needs, give us a call.