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It’s no secret that Office 365 subscriptions are the way to go for small and medium-size businesses. Using the cloud increases everyone’s accessibility to the files they need to do their jobs effectively, and it reduces a lot of your IT management headaches, especially for installing those necessary updates. But while all roads can lead to the cloud, finding the right road for your business can be a daunting task. We can help you find your way.
As one of the IT professionals and Office resellers quoted in a recent article in Channel Pro Network, we are very aware of all the organizations that want to lead you to Office 365. Besides subscribing directly through Microsoft, you can sign up through a number of carriers, such as a cable or telephone carrier. You already use them to access the Internet and, in many cases, to provide your email. Because competition drives them to keep their prices lower or to add capacity, these large carriers need to find ways to increase their revenue. Offering Office 365 as a “software as a service” is one way to do it.
But is it right for you?
As we point out, there are so many different SKUs and plans in Office 365, it can be very confusing. Microsoft offers three packages: Business Essentials, Business and Business Premium. Pricing ranges from $5/mo/person on an annual basis to $12.50/mo/person, but only the premium package includes everything. Microsoft allows you to mix and match services and features from the packages, but you really need to know what they’re charging for this customization and whether the cost makes sense for you. While it might be more convenient to just choose the package that has one thing you need and one or more that you don’t, differences of $3.25 or $7.50/mo/person can add up quickly.
By reviewing our clients’ carrier bills, we see many instances in which they start with free offers and then wind up paying for tools they don’t use. While our reviews can help clients cut their bills, getting us involved in the selection process can put you on the most cost-effective plan at the start. There are two key areas where our knowledge of your application needs and your technology can work for you.
First, we know how many people need to be using each of the various Office 365 tools. We can help you subscribe to just the services you need and set up the access just as you need it. We can take into account how many people work from a central or branch office and how many people need to work from remote locations – and whether they are accessing Office 365 from a computer or mobile device.
Then, we can set up your system to meet those needs and train everyone to make sure they know how to work within your system. The question you need to ask is: Can the large carrier provide you with this level of understanding your set up and your needs right from the start?
Second, once you have Office 365 installed, can the large carrier troubleshoot problems? Microsoft will be able to help you with problems directly related to their product, and they will do a good job with that. But small businesses have unique technology. There is no “standard” computer, server or networking system, and there is no way that anybody providing telephone support can get you to tell them all the technical information they might need to solve your problem satisfactorily. Training a tech support staff to cover every possible combination of systems and potential problems is virtually impossible.
As your IT consultant, we can look at every aspect of your software and technology needs and guide you through the myriad pathways to Office 365 nirvana. We have the knowledge of your systems, and we’ll take the time to help you select the right packages and tools for now and plan for your future needs. Call us – 973-433-6676 – email us to help you find the right Office 365 package for you.