Office 365 is the cloud based business IT service from Microsoft. It replaces some or all of your existing IT (like your email server and file server) and gives you new capabilities like online video conferencing and file sharing. The service is delivered and managed by Microsoft so that you don’t have to.
You can access the service on a whole range of devices: PCs, Macs, Windows tablets, iPads, and smart phones (including iPhone). You pay for the service on a per user, per month basis, and each user is licensed for the full version of Microsoft Office on 5 PCs / Macs and 5 Windows tablets / iPads.
This is Microsoft’s fastest growing product ever, and thousands of businesses both large (e.g. British Airways, M&S, Aston Martin) and small are using it worldwide in over 125 countries. Many Governments, including the UK Government, are also using it.
What does it give you?
Get it done from anywhere
PC, Mac, tablet, phone. You need to be able to work across devices, from anywhere, and have a consistent, clean, and fast experience doing it. Enter Office 365. Whatever device you’re working on, Office 365 gives you access to everything you need—your documents, email, calendars, contacts, and team sites all come with you. Your settings roam with you too, so your files are up to date and ready for you to pick up right where you left off, no matter what device you’re using or where you are.
Work better together—simply
Get more done together. Office 365 offers business-class email, shared calendars, IM, online conferencing, and access to the most up-to-date documents. You can work together in real time—and without compromising security.
Familiar is easier and faster—for everyone
New tools are hard. With Office 365, your people can use the same apps they rely on every day (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook etc.) with all the new features they need. Save directly to the cloud or start working with others—right from the apps they already know. Everything works together. No hassle, no fuss.
Automatic updates and guaranteed 99.9% uptime
Stop spending money keeping the tools you depend on up to date. And quit worrying about keeping them up and running. Office 365 takes care of both. Microsoft are continually adding new features, so you get them automatically. And, a financially backed SLA means 99.9 percent uptime, making life a lot easier and more productive for you, your users, and IT.
Simple administration, rock-solid security
With Office 365, your data is protected. And control is even easier. You can manage your users and services from a single admin portal you can get to from virtually anywhere. Or, if you wish, Compete366 can perform these tasks for you. Office 365 built-in security deflects malware, spam, phishing attacks and other threats.
The smarter IT spend
Value matters. Office 365 minimises your upfront cost, so you don’t have to worry about hardware costs and software upgrades. You get enterprise-grade IT at a fraction of what it would cost to run it yourself.
What does it cost?
There is a range of plans to choose from, but the ones that are most popular with our clients range from £8 to £15 per user, per month. If your company has 50 IT users, and the £8 plan is the best fit for you, then your monthly cost would be £400 per month. As your business grows and you employ more staff, your cost scales in direct proportion to your staff – if you hired another 10 people one month, you would start paying for 60 users from that month – the total cost for this would be £480 per month. The great thing is that your new joiners are provisioned with their IT capability in minutes, so there are no delays. Equally, should a project end and you shed say 5 temporary staff, then you stop paying for their IT as soon as they leave.
You can also mix and match plans and capabilities across your business. For example, you might want the senior management to have the full suite of capabilities, and the rest of the company to have just the core capabilities. You can decide, and change at any time, who has what capabilities, and pay accordingly.
How does it work?
You probably know Microsoft as a supplier of business software (e.g. the Office suite for productivity, Windows Server for files, Exchange server for email and calendaring). Traditionally you have installed this software on your own hardware (servers, storage, PCs etc.) in your office, and you, or an IT Support Provider, have managed this environment to keep it available, secure and performing well.
With Office 365 Microsoft are providing and managing both the software and the hardware for you, and the software is accessed by you over the Internet. This is called Software as a Service (SaaS), because you are consuming the software as a service, and Microsoft act as the service provider.
You can use a whole range of devices to do work and access your data from anywhere. Whether you are sitting at your desk in the office using your PC, or out at meetings or travelling for work using a laptop, tablet or phone, or even at home on your chosen device. Because your data is stored in the cloud, it is always up to date whichever device you use, and you get the same user experience across all the supported devices. You can start a document on your work PC, continue it on your laptop on the train, and finish it at home on your iPad. Your files and data automatically synchronise from your devices to the cloud, so you don’t consciously have to do anything to have anywhere access to your work. What’s more, one or more of your colleagues can work on the document at the same time and you all see each other’s edits in real time.
You do need a reliable Internet connection, but you don’t have to be online all the time to do your work. If you’re working on a document or an email on your laptop on a plane or a train, and there is no Internet connection the document or email will automatically synchronise back up to the cloud (meaning it will be available on all your other devices too) when you next get an Internet connection (e.g. when you get home).
Microsoft have invested over $15 billion in building their cloud infrastructure composed of more than 100 globally distributed data centres, edge computing nodes, and service operations centres. This infrastructure is supported by one of the world’s largest multi-terabit global networks that connects them all. Subscribers to Microsoft online services (for example Office 365) in the UK have their service delivered by the data centres in Dublin and Amsterdam – so your data is stored in these two data centres that replicate to each other for added resilience.
We can have you up and running in the cloud with Office 365 in a matter of days, please see our Migrating to Office 365 page for more details.