Business Growth with Microsoft Office 365

August 29, 2016 by Lore Marketing Team

In February, Todd McKinnon, CEO of Okta reported Office 365 usage has skyrocketed. It has become the top deployed application in enterprises. 70% of Fortune 500 companies have migrated to the application. With so many small to large businesses choosing Office 365, it must be worthwhile.

Cost, Productivity, and Increased Productivity

The reason many other businesses have switched over is because of the effectiveness and efficiency of Microsoft Office 365, which increases productivity and a great return on investment (ROI). The subscription costs only $5 a user which when compared to the ROI is nothing.

Forrester Research studied the ROI of Office 365 to evaluate the costs vs. benefits of the suite. The results were positive with businesses gaining 162% of their return on investment with a value per user of $1,348. The average payback period was just 7 months. In three years, those businesses had increased revenue by $8.8 million.

Source: The Five Pillars of Office 365 ROI

The increased productivity was mostly because of the use of the cloud. Taking a business to Microsoft’s OneDrive hosting eliminates onsite servers. Employees receive access to business emails and projects at all times, as long as they have an Internet connection. Work can be completed no matter where they are or what time it is day or night. According to Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, business agility is the greatest benefit of using the cloud.

Combining OneDrive and OneDrive for Business for Cloud Storage System

Many Microsoft users utilize OneDrive personally to store files on the cloud. OneDrive for Business can do the same. “OneDrive is the personal online storage of your files. Although you can’t connect your personal OneDrive to your Office 365 business account, you can copy or move files between them” according to the Microsoft OneDrive support website. This is an easy process when syncing both versions of OneDrive on a local computer. Open both folders for OneDrive and OneDrive for business and simply drag the files and folders to the OneDrive for business. After syncing both drives, they will be updated on the cloud.

Social Media Aspects of Office 365 to Increase Productivity and Revenue

Office 365 utilizes two platforms for collaboration: Yammer and Sharepoint. Yammer is a private, social network to help an organization communicate across departments and even geographies. The purpose is to allow organizations to collaborate in real time to discuss projects and opportunities. It operates similarly to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but it is only for those who have a verified company email address.

SharePoint network is also a social network for organizations but functions differently than Yammer. SharePoint provides a platform for collaboration on projects. When employees are working on a document, others can enter and also work on it in real time. Comments can be sent, changes can be made, and people can work together to complete it. According to Kayla Matthews from TechologyTell, projects should be based off a single template to promote efficiency and familiarity between teams and projects, which is what Office 365 provides.

Security and Compliance Requirements

One of the concerns of businesses when considering Office 365 is security and compliance. Office 365 has met the challenges that often come with similar applications, and has added the following features to satisfy security and compliance concerns.

Office 365 Security and Compliance Center – Office 365 has a management tool to set up and manage compliance standards across Office 365, Exchange Online, and SharePoint Online.

Office 365 Import Service – Importing PST files to Exchange Online mailboxes is done safely by uploading the files over the network, copying them to a hard drive and then sending it to a Microsoft datacenter that can then be imported to Office 365.

Anti-span and Anti-malware Protection – Office 365 has built-in malware and spam filtering.

Other features include:

  • Archiving in Office 365
  • Auditing in Office 365
  • Data Loss Prevention
  • eDiscovery
  • Encryption
  • Hold
  • Information Management Policies
  • Information Rights Management
  • Legacy Exchange Hosted Services
  • Mobile Device Management
  • Transport Rules

Differences Between In-House Exchange and Office 365 Exchange

In-house exchanges come with a large expense for inception. While many executives believe that a one-time startup fee is better than having to pay monthly for Office 365, that’s not when the costs end. Maintenance, repair, updates, and upgrades can all come with a high cost. This does not include licensing for additional apps many businesses need as they grow.

Office 365 monthly cost (an average of $5 per use) comes with an online office suite, 1 TB of One-Drive storage, spam/virus filter, encryption, Microsoft Support, instant updates, and migration support. Office 365 is the complete package, while in-house exchanges require many moving parts to offer the features Microsoft provides in its exchange.

The below image shows the differences in costs for in-house exchange vs. Office 365 Exchange.

Source: Cost of Hosted Exchange vs. In-House Exchange Server

Planning for Office 365 Migration

Microsoft wants migration processes to run smoothly. They provide Exchange Service Deployment Assistant to help. It’s a free tool that can help organizations understand what they need to migrate to Office 365. As part of the tool, organizations will be able to set up a sign on, AD synchronization, certificate configuration and much more.

It’s important to realize that many businesses won’t be able to connect to Office 365 without specific prerequisites. For example, there needs to be two roles on the same server. If an organization doesn’t have Exchange 2013, it will need to update the on-premises environment.

Domain names is a consideration. Microsoft Office 365 can use partial re-delegation to handle them. The organization owns the domain name, but the Office 365 servers control the functions of it such as the email and web hosting.

User accounts are stored in Active Directory, which many organizations are already using. Synchronizing those accounts between a local Active Directory and the Office 365 on the cloud. Organizations use the Active Directory management tools, but everything is stored on the cloud.

User mailboxes are also part of Active Directory. With new and current users, migration happens seamlessly with starting and storing the account on Office 365 and managing it on Active Directory.

IMAP migration is utilized for migrating mailbox data from a non-Exchange mail system. While the migrating the data is simple, there needs to be preparatory work to ensure all data migrates. Exchange mailboxes must be created for users and a CSV file with email addresses, user names and passwords all need to be migrated. Once this is done, the E-Mail Migration option in the Outlook Web App can be used for migration.

Migrating to Office 365 can be an overwhelming task for even IT professionals. Turn to Lore Systems for help with migrating to the most popular, efficient, and effective cloud-based platform.