Is Office 365 the Best Choice for Businesses?

Microsoft Office 365 on phoneMicrosoft Office 365 is a subscription-based alternative to traditional office software.  In addition to saving you the expense of paying for your office software upfront, it may also include a variety of useful cloud services like hosted email and online storage, depending on your specific subscription.

While this may be a great asset to many small to mid-sized businesses, it may not be the best fit for everyone. Don’t get us wrong — we like Office 365 — but there are number of issues you need to be aware of before taking the plunge.

#1. Initial Migration

Migrating an established network infrastructure over to Office 365 can sometimes be difficult, even for an experienced IT pro.  If your organization uses any third-party applications and utilities, for example, they could be rendered useless by the transition over the Microsoft’s cloud-based servers. Email configuration problems, DNS issues, and mobile compatibility are all on the list of potential problems to look out for if you’re thinking about making the switch.

#2. Productivity

When you host your office software in the cloud, your productivity depends on the quality of your internet connection.  If your bandwidth isn’t high enough, you’ll find that Microsoft’s high-productivity features don’t perform quite as quickly as they would in a physical environment.  In addition, if your internet service goes down, you’ll lose access to your office applications.

#3. Control

Switching over to Office 365 means giving up a certain amount of control over your data.  It’s worth noting that this can be a good thing in many cases — many organizations can’t afford to hire an expert or properly maintain their IT environment, so moving to the cloud is often safer than trying to manage everything in house.  Even so, if you’re used to administrating your network on your own, you may not feel comfortable turning everything over to a third party.

#4. Support

Microsoft does not provide phone support for some editions of Office 365, including the Professional and Small Business, which means that the majority of their customers must use online forums, email and chat when they require technical support.  This may be enough to resolve simple issues, but those with more complex requirements may find these support features inadequate.

At the end of the day, it should be said that Microsoft Office 365 is still a great product. Even so, there are lots of other alternatives out there that may be better suited to your specific business needs, including hosted options.  We recommend that you explore all of the pros and cons thoroughly before making your decision.