If your small business is like most, it runs on Microsoft Office. Microsoft programs have been vital tools for small business owners since the beginning of Microsoft Works in 1986. Microsoft Office was released in 1989, quickly overtaking WordPerfect and Lotus. The productivity suite, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, is now omnipresent. And Microsoft keeps updating and expanding its business functions by adding add security features, mobile device management, contacts management and many more helpful characteristics.
You’re probably also thinking whether it’s time to switch from the traditional perpetual-license versions of Office to an Office 365 subscription.
Liquid Telecom now offers office 365 to its account holders. Office 365 and the cloud changes how work is done and it comes with a lot of advantages. Liquid Telecom brings you local billing, on-the-ground support, managed services and assistance and they bring you adaptive solutions that simplify this digital transition.
Office 365 refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services).The fully installed applications include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access.
In theory, making that switch offers multiple advantages. You get a predictable cost instead of having to budget for upgrades every few years. You can install Office apps on multiple devices without activation hassles. Uninterrupted updates and improvements remove some of the headaches of having to buy, install and manage upgrades every few years. You also get access to an ever-expanding assortment of cloud-based services.
More and more Zimbabweans organisations are looking to move to the cloud, hance the shift from Exchange servers to Microsoft Office 365 often just a single component of a larger infrastructure change although a business-critical and complex one.
But making the decision to switch is just the first step. Much more important is choosing the right Office 365 edition. And with more than a dozen editions to choose from, Liquid Telecom has priced ranging from $6.58 to $15.87 per user per month, it’s easy to make the wrong decision.
All of Office 365 business packages are available for up to 300 users, making them ideal for small businesses. There are three main packages to consider:
These three packages are ordered from least features to most as shown by the above diagram. For Business Essentials it costs 6.58, Business costs $10.60 and Business Premium costs $15.87 all-inclusive taxes per month Microsoft builds up features as the packages increase in price.
This package is the least expensive and includes mostly web-based features. Essentials, you won’t get any of the desktop Office applications like PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Access, Outlook or OneNote but you will have access to web versions of all these programs except OneNote and Access. Essentials focuses mainly on web applications and cloud-based services. Business Essentials includes Exchange for email, OneDrive and Skype for Business. In addition to these three collaboration tools, Microsoft provides Essentials subscribers access to SharePoint for team file sharing, Microsoft Teams for intra-office chats, and Yammer, a companywide social media network.
Office 365 Business
Business is essentially the opposite of Essentials all the web-based services in Essentials are nowhere to be found in Office 365 Business. In its place, users have access to desktop versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access. Even though Office 365 Business does come with Outlook, it doesn’t come with access to the business-class email hosting of Exchange. This means that you can use Outlook to run your current email, but you can’t set up an email specifically for your business.
Business does have access to the online storage system OneDrive, but not SharePoint. The nature of Business is best for small businesses looking only to reap the benefits of Microsoft’s core apps.
This package includes both the web services of Essentials and the desktop access of Office 365 Business into one subscription option that features the full range of both apps and services. In addition Business Premium members also have access to other apps and services geared toward small businesses, like Microsoft Bookings, an online appointment scheduling service.
This plan is ideal bigger companies that rely on appointments with clients for success (think contractors, dentists, movers, stylists, etc.) Business Premium is a great option for larger teams that need access to the collaboration tools of the web-based services as well as the desktop apps.
Businesses that need to project a professional image with email and file-sharing tied to a custom domain, as well as those who have to comply with industry-specific regulatory requirements. Will have to go with Business Premium.
Determining which of these packages is best for your business starts with measuring your business needs. Consider the size of your business, different features you need and use, and how your business could benefit from new programs.