When people think of Microsoft Office, they often equate it with Windows only. Once, that was true, but no longer. Microsoft now provides Office for multiple platforms and operating systems, making it much easier to standardize a bring your own device (BYOD) environment when everyone is carrying a different device.
Today, there’s Office for Windows, Office for Mac, Office for iPad and Office for Android, not to mention Office for Windows Phone. And, thanks to Office 365, licensing is easily managed.
In fact, customers can subscribe to business plans that cover more than one device per license – for example, PCs or Macs, plus tablets and phones, for a single fee.
Office 365, unlike standalone versions of Office that have perpetual licenses, is sold by subscription. The software downloads and installs like standalone software, and can save data locally, but there the similarities end. With Office 365, updates are automatic, and you never have to worry about version upgrades as long as the subscription is active. They just happen. By default, Office 365 applications save to Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and users receive one terabyte of cloud storage. Some Office 365 versions include team Intranet sites, enterprise collaboration software, and even a corporate video server and enterprise social network.
The core programs – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote – are augmented in some plans with enterprise-grade email and other services. Users also can use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint’s online versions at no additional charge.
Add in unlimited online meetings via Skype for Business, as well as instant messaging and video conferencing, and users can remain productive wherever they are, on any device. The power of the cloud provides the ability to open a document on a PC, then later edit it on a smartphone or tablet.
IT’s needs weren’t ignored; Office 365 business products are manageable, with Group Policy, telemetry and shared computer activation, to ensure corporate security is preserved regardless of the device in use. Even the lawyers are accommodated; some versions include compliance and information protection, including legal hold, rights management, and data loss prevention, for both email and files, as well as eDiscovery tools to support compliance.
Since the programs contain all features of the standalone products, Office 365 users will not be shortchanged in functionality. Obviously, screen size will be a constraint; huge spreadsheets are not practical to view on a phone. But the files will nevertheless be available, should a user need to look at them.
Companies can purchase Office 365 for Business through providers like Rogers, combining their billing with that for other services such as mobile phones, providing a concise way to view costs.