What are the top nine reasons to employ Office 365 in your business? First, what is Office 365? 
Office 365 is a subscription-based online suite of software products that improve business productivity.  The most popular components under the Office 365 brand are Exchange Online (email) and Office 365 ProPlus, the familiar desktop application products used daily (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, InfoPath, OneNote and the Lync and Outlook clients).  SharePoint Online (cloud-based file sharing and storage) and Lync Online (instant messaging, presence and web conferencing) finish out the top four components.  Office 365 is Microsoft’s fastest selling product with revenues growing over 100 percent quarterly.

With that in mind, here are my top nine reasons business users should choose Office 365:

1. Easy to administer:  Seriously easy.  Office 365 operates through an easy-to-use web-based Admin Console.  It includes a service health dashboard and template-driven, drop-down tools to create a customer user experience tailored to your company needs.  Step-by-step deployment guidance is included as needed via click-through to topic learning modules.     

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2. Add components as you need them:   Other Office 365 components are simply added through the administration console under the ‘purchase services tab.’  Online versions of Visio Pro, Project Pro, Project Online, Project Lite, Dynamics CRM, Social Listening and Power BI are easily acquired through an online cart.  Once your Office 365 tenant is set-up, distribute licenses to only those co-workers who need them. 


3. One place for all your file storage:  Save files to the cloud for anywhere, anytime access with OneDrive for Business.   Microsoft just announced an increase in default storage from 25GB to 1TB per user.  All Office 365 ProPlus customers get 1TB of OneDrive for Business storage per user as part of their Office 365 ProPlus subscription.  And OneDrive for Business migration assistance will be available.  Additionally, OneDrive for Business may be purchased currently as a standalone service with an introductory promotional price of $2.50/user/month. 

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4. Latest feature sets:  With Office 365, Microsoft releases new product feature sets as they become available.   Rolling versioning allows for always up-to-date service.   Previously, releases came in ‘waves’ with lots of change.  Now releases are in ‘ripples’ with small updates and enhancements. This provides subscribers with an ‘evergreen’ product.  Over one hundred new feature sets were added in 2013 without a price increase.   ‘Evergreen’ versions coupled with apps from the Microsoft Office Store  make for a powerful, personalized product. 

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5. One user license across five devices:  One Office 365 subscription allows installation on up to five devices (PC or Mac) and five mobile devices.  This means you don’t have to keep track of product keys.  It also means you don’t have to figure out how to use other activation methods such as Key Management Service (KMS) or Multiple Activation Key (MAK).   Workers are on the go now so this allows for data to move with them regardless of device.  Access to Office 365 is also available either client-side (local install) or via a web browser.   No connection to the Internet is required.   Data syncs continuously and logging into the Microsoft Licensing Service via the Internet every 30 days keeps the subscription current.

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6. Lync Online is a beautiful thing:   Need to collaborate with teammates on a project?  Launch a Lync web conference meeting via the Internet and conduct meetings with HD quality video and audio, white boarding and polling tools.  Present via Power Point then keep and send meeting notes through Lync with OneNote.   Lync Online also gives users access to presence, instant messaging, audio and video calling. Organizations that subscribe to Lync Online retain control over these collaboration services, but do not have the operational burden of on-premises server software.

7. Support is included:  Technical support – 24/7 – is available for all critical issues with Office 365.  Submit a service request either by phone or online via the Office 365 Admin Console.  Service health is reported there along with dozens of reports monitoring performance, usage, malware and spam sent or received.  Keep up to date on planned maintenance events in advance through the notification service. 

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8. Trust and security is paramount:  Microsoft’s data centers are enterprise level, best-in-class computing centers built with trust and security.  A 99.99 percent uptime, with numbers published quarterly, gives peace of mind.  Service level agreement (SLA) percentages are calculated based on the number of minutes in each calendar month where Business, Government and Education editions of Office 365 are available worldwide.  Built-in security features monitor, anticipate and migrate threats to protect your data.  Top industry standards and regulations including HIPAA FISMA and ISO 27001 meet and exceed security expectations.

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 9. Now available-Office for iPad:  View, create, edit and print Office documents on your iPad with touch-friendly Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps. Office for iPad allows users to install and view documents, but requires a subscription to Office 365 to make edits.  Microsoft calls this a “freemium model.”  To get Office on your iPad, install the individual apps, Word for iPad, Excel for iPad, and PowerPoint for iPad from the Apple Store.  (Office is also available on non-Apple brand tablets and mobile devices.)

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 What do you think?  These are my top reasons to use Office 365.  What are yours?  Let us know in the comments section below.  Follow me on Twitter @Cloud_Kimb to stay informed on the latest Office 365 product announcements.

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Image Credit: ZDNet, Microsoft

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