Broadband infrastructure in and around Chicago has improved dramatically over the last several years. This has allowed small businesses (SMBs) to take advantage of cloud computing in a way that was previously reserved for the big shots with their private fiber optic connections. The first wave of cloud-based solutions embraced by SMBs has been the most obvious – offsite data backup. While remote backup is vital to any disaster recovery policy, the cloud offers far more.
Microsoft Office, the world’s most popular suite of productivity applications, has been the standard for Chicago businesses for two decades. Microsoft has maintained their software suite by offering incremental updates, from addressing new security threats to making performance upgrades; and of course, the occasional overhaul requiring a “Service Pack” or a brand new version.
When Microsoft began creating the newest generation of their Office software, it was clear that the ‘cloud’ was becoming the new business-computing platform of choice. The result was a fundamental change in the traditional upgrade cycle and the first major upgrade in Office’s functionality in twenty years – Office 365 runs in the cloud. This is big, and here are the reasons why.
- Budget: Traditional Office runs locally of course. It has had a lifespan of roughly three years per version. Each new version requires the purchase of new licenses for each user and each machine requires an installation of the software. The weekly security updates, performance enhancements, and the large, incremental service packs, require the attention of qualified personnel, and deploying the newest version can even cause some downtime. With Office 365, Microsoft handles all of the updates and security fixes with no attention from the client whatsoever, and there is no software to install or maintain. Office 365 is a subscription; a consistent monthly cost – predictable and easy to budget.
- Accessibility: Office 365 is a true cloud application. The client has access to every piece of software and all the associated data from practically any device; all that is needed is an Internet connection. This means iPads, Android tablets, Apple laptops, PCs, and most smartphones as well. This is a substantial upgrade to Office.
- Synchronization: Collaboration has become a vital aspect of successful businesses but we still spend most of our time separated from our team. With Office 365, teams collaborate from anywhere. Calendars, contacts, folders, PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, and all the rest, all synchronized so that each team member has access to the same information—at the same time, all the time.
Microsoft is fully committed to the cloud platform; they are even expanding support for Android and iOS devices furthering the usefulness of the cloud. This upgrade cycle, contact 101 Digital to take advantage of Office 365 and everything else the cloud has to offer. For updates and breaking news, follow @bccarthur, and to join in the conversation visit 101 Digital on Facebook today.