Microsoft 365 & Sharepoint: The Business Guide
Discover how to boost your productivity, bolster your security and save money with Microsoft 365 and Sharepoint.
Launched in 2011, Microsoft 365 is now a global IT phenomenon. With more than 100 million users, Microsoft’s comprehensive, cloud-based, suite of products and services has been at the heart of a revolution in the workplaces of businesses around the world.
We’ve put this guide together to help you better understand how Microsoft 365 can benefit your business.
What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based productivity platform and suite of apps, software and tools designed to help businesses become more secure, more productive and save costs. Microsoft 365 delivers the power of cloud productivity to businesses of all sizes, helping to save time and money.
Formerly known as Office 365 (until April 2020), it combines the familiar Microsoft Office desktop suite with cloud-based versions of Microsoft’s next-generation communications and collaboration services.
What is Microsoft Sharepoint?
Microsoft Sharepoint is a document and file sharing platform in the cloud with tough security controls so that staff only get to access what they’re authorised to. It comes as part of the Microsoft 365 suite and is particularly useful for businesses where staff work remotely or in hybrid environments. Your teams can now access files securely from anywhere, whether online or offline; with added gains of document management, workflow and approval if needed.
What are the benefits of Microsoft 365 and Sharepoint for business?
Every business can benefit from a move to Microsoft 365, or by extending their use of it. But if you are currently facing challenges caused by the need to replace a server, upgrade older versions of Office software, or tighten up your security and data control, now would be the right time to consider making the move.
Microsoft 365 provides a combination of benefits that makes it the indisputable choice for most businesses. These include:
- Financial – By avoiding costly upfront and ongoing costs for physical infrastructure you can invest your resources in other important areas. Instead, you have a single, predictable and controllable monthly subscription fee, and much reduced IT supplier and maintenance costs.
- Flexibility – you can increase or decrease your use of Microsoft 365 at a stroke, responding to rapid growth, new customer requirements, recruitment, or seasonal fluctuations; always paying only for what you need.
- Familiarity – as you’ll almost certainly be using Microsoft Office already, staff will be used to many of the apps and interfaces.
- Productivity – with everything instantly accessible 24/7, anywhere in the world and on a wide range of devices; your teams stay connected, work together, collaborate, share files and documents, coordinate calendars, respond to customers and work with suppliers with smooth and seamless efficiency that is unrestrained by geography.
- Access to innovation - as soon as Microsoft develops new products and services, they’ll be made available to you; such as Sway for a new way to make presentations, StaffHub for scheduling or Clutter to filter your emails into defined inbox folders.
- Security – advanced cyber security and business continuity measures are built into Microsoft’s infrastructure and services. Think you don’t need this? Are you sure you understand the very risks that criminals are ready to exploit? Most businesses who think they’re adequately protected aren’t. Microsoft 365 provides the tools and systems to meet your data security and protection requirements.
- Automatic updates – with a Microsoft 365 subscription you will automatically receive the latest versions of all the market-leading apps and tools you need, fully deployed and ready to use, with the peace of mind of Microsoft’s 99.9% availability guarantee.
- Your reputation – will be enhanced when clients need to communicate with you at speed using the latest tools and technology, and you can respond with equal speed and efficiency.
- Recruitment and retention – today’s talented professionals expect to use the latest and best systems and devices, and to be able to operate efficiently at any time, anywhere. By embracing Microsoft 365, the best candidates are more likely to choose your business - and stay with you longer.
- Access to expertise – The PC Support Group’s experienced and expert team is on hand to advise and guide you through the process of selecting the right Microsoft 365 package for your requirements, to help you to deploy its elements quickly, and to support you to make the most of its features.
What are the key features of Microsoft 365 for business?
Microsoft 365 combines the familiar Microsoft Office desktop suite with cloud-based versions of Microsoft’s next-generation communications and collaboration services.
- Microsoft Exchange Online – Putting the world’s most popular business email system at your fingertips without high upfront and ongoing costs of running it on your own servers. Bringing you access to enterprise level email, calendar, contacts, and tasks from any device at any time, where colleagues can check your free time, where you can book company facilities and where senior staff can, with the right permissions in place, supervise and access staff emails.
- Office Business - Providing the suite of products everyone is familiar with; Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and OneNote – a digital notebook for capturing, storing, and sharing all kinds of information. No more high upfront cost to buy a new version, you can now pay monthly for the entire suite where you will always be entitled to the latest version and where you are allowed to run it on up to five devices for your own use – such as work computer, home computer, smartphone and tablet device.
- Microsoft SharePoint Online – Document and file sharing in the cloud with tough security controls so that staff only get to access what they’re authorised to. No longer must we remain tethered to the office. Your teams can now access files securely from anywhere, whether online or offline; with added gains of document management, workflow and approval if needed.
- Microsoft Teams– Delivering interactive messaging and video conferencing, during which you can operate a whiteboard, record meetings, share screens and work together, regardless of location. With full integration with your email system and centrally controlled security and auditing, Teams is fast becoming a mainstay of modern business communications.
- OneDrive for Business – The ‘My Documents’ of the 21st Century. OneDrive is the Microsoft cloud service that connects you to all your files. It enables you store and protect your files, share them with others, and access them from anywhere in the world from multiple devices.
These are just some of the excellent apps and tools that come with a subscription; there are many more features that come with Microsoft 365.
Is Microsoft 365 right for your business?
Whether you’re currently using on-premise servers or a combination of servers and cloud-based apps, it’s worth considering ways to help streamline your business operations.
Microsoft 365 is one of the platforms that covers pretty much everything you’ll need on a day-to-day basis.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you looking to replace your file servers?
- Do you want to increase work productivity and output?
- Do you need to cater for remote or hybrid workforce?
- Do you have offices in multiple locations and need more effective file sharing?
- Do you need to improve cyber security across your business?
- Do you need better cost control or are you looking to make savings on hardware and software?
- Are you and your staff already used to using Microsoft software, apps and services?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then your organisation may benefit from moving to the Microsoft 365 cloud environment.
Take some time to consider your requirements and understand which subscription level you’ll need.
How complicated is it to migrate to Microsoft 365 and Sharepoint?
You’ve probably heard horror stories of cloud migrations going wrong. However, it only really ever goes pear-shaped because of one of (or a combination of) three reasons:
- Lack of planning
- Lack of understanding of objectives
- Lack of knowledge and experience in delivering such a migration
The key, therefore, is to ensure that your migration is properly planned and managed to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible.
When migrating to Microsoft 365, follow this four step process:
- Planning - have a clear picture of what you’re moving, where it’s going, and who’s responsible for it
- Testing - test a small percentage of files and ensure that everything is working as planned, and tweak it before undertaking the full migration.
- Governance - stakeholders should be engaged in the process, working with the project team to ensure the system is configured to meet their needs and help spot and resolve any issues.
- Decommissioning - ensure that once the migration is complete, staff are using the new location for ongoing file management, all old content is archived or deleted, and the old systems taken off line to save ongoing maintenance and support costs.
How a specialist IT support company can help
We’re convinced that Microsoft 365, Sharepoint and the other apps in the suite can help your business reach new heights. However, it can be a daunting prospect, and if you get it wrong, it can have the opposite effect to what was intended by causing additional work and preventing staff from being able to do their jobs efficiently.
That’s why we always recommend enlisting the help of a specialist partner who can help you to accurately prepare, plan and execute the transition to Microsoft 365.
If you’re nervous about taking the leap, don’t be. The PC Support Group’s award-winning team is here to advise you and to make the transition seamless. We have considerable experience with Microsoft 365 and know how to keep the complexities of setting it up firmly behind the scenes, so that all you need to do is to look forward to getting up and running and reaping the benefits as soon as possible.
What are the cost considerations for Microsoft 365 and Sharepoint for business?
Microsoft 365 products and services are provided on a subscription basis – you pay only for what you need and use on a per user, per month basis.
And by having your key data and applications stored in a centralised online location, backed by Microsoft’s infrastructure and security systems, your business has an advanced level of protection and security. This can be much more cost effective than having to cover the overheads and maintenance costs of running on-premise or dedicated hosted servers.
Put another way, for a fixed low monthly Microsoft 365 subscription cost, you buy into bomb-proof bunkers, multiple points of failure and a 99.9% uptime guarantee which, to do it yourself, would require huge investment.
Boost your productivity securely with Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 is a high quality cloud platform that helps businesses to be more productive in a secure and cost effective way.
The PC Support Group has helped many clients to select the best Microsoft 365 packages for their organisation, deploy them correctly and make the most of what they have to offer. And the feedback is overwhelmingly positive, with financial, productivity, growth and business efficiency gains.
To better understand the capabilities of Microsoft 365, Sharepoint and other services within the Microsoft suite, download our free ebook.
If you’d like to chat about Microsoft 365 (or the wider bundle of services within Microsoft 365) and how we can help you to capitalise on its potential to benefit your business, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Contact us on 03300 886 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.