Why Moving to Microsoft 365 Is a
No-Brainer for Small Businesses

Long ago now, businesses switched from pen and paper to software for just about every imaginable task. Today, software has changed the way we do business – with dozens of tools becoming essential for daily operations. While software has brought huge productivity increases, many businesses juggle a multitude of apps to remain competitive: Slack for messaging, Zoom for video calls, a local Exchange server for email, and the list just goes on.

While this a la carte approach to software can get the job done – it is clunky, awkward, and expensive. An alternative that most small businesses need to seriously consider is Microsoft 365. This office suite is a single, integrated cloud service which provides the flexibility, scalability, and security that small businesses need to thrive.

In this article, we’ll explore why moving to Microsoft 365 is a no-brainer for small businesses and how it can replace a variety of standalone services and applications, ultimately simplifying your operations and increasing productivity.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365, formerly known as Microsoft Office 365 or just Office 365, is a cloud-based suite of productivity tools developed by Microsoft. For small businesses, it offers an integrated solution that combines the ubiquitous Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook) with a variety of powerful services accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

Whether you need to manage your emails, store and share files securely, collaborate in real-time with your team, or ensure that your business data is protected, Microsoft 365 has a tool for you:

  • Outlook and Exchange Online: Professional email hosting with advanced spam filtering and calendar integration.
  • OneDrive for Business: Secure cloud storage for file sharing, online backups, and collaboration.
  • Microsoft Teams: Integrated platform for chat, video conferencing, and collaboration.
  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint: The latest versions of Microsoft Office applications for document creation, data analysis, and presentations.
  • SharePoint: Collaborative platform for managing and sharing content, knowledge, and applications.
  • Planner: Task management tool to help teams organize and manage work.
  • Power Automate: Workflow automation to streamline business processes.
  • Microsoft Project: Comprehensive project management software.
  • Advanced Security Features: Multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and threat protection.
  • CoPilot AI: Powerful generative AI system built directly into the Office productivity suites.

But What About Mac?

While Microsoft is probably best known for their Windows operating system, Microsoft 365 is not limited to their homegrown ecosystem. In fact, Microsoft 365 works on Mac computers, as well as tablets and mobile devices including both iPhone and Android.

Regardless of which operating system your business uses, Microsoft 365 can help with your business needs.

The Benefits of Microsoft 365

Before we dive into the benefits of Microsoft 365 – it is important to mention that there are other tools which do similar things. However, the primary difference is that Microsoft 365 is able to offer the functionality of more than a half dozen other pieces of software while reducing local hardware needs.

So, with that caveat out of the way, let’s look at how Microsoft 365 helps small businesses.

Get rid of the headache (and cost) of an on-site Exchange Server

Exchange is a powerful email and calendar solution that lets businesses manage their emails, schedule meetings, and organize tasks efficiently – however up until recently it also has been a major headache for businesses.

Running Exchange on-premise is expensive and requires dedicated hardware, purchasing Exchange, buying licenses for all of your users, a secondary internet connection for redundancy, and Microsoft Office licenses. On top of all of this you’ll almost certainly need to hire someone to maintain and troubleshoot issues as they arise since managing servers and their associated hardware requires specialized skills.

However, with Microsoft 365 you get the benefits of Exchange without the downsides. Exchange Online, a core component of Microsoft 365, offers all the robust email capabilities of an on-site server but without the associated overhead. It provides reliable, secure, and scalable email hosting managed by Microsoft, allowing your business to benefit from enterprise-grade email services without the burden of maintaining its infrastructure.

Cost effective & flexible licensing plans + bundled software

Microsoft 365 offers flexible licensing plans that cater to the unique needs of small businesses, making it an exceptionally cost-effective solution. With a variety of subscription tiers, you can choose a plan that fits your budget and only pay for the services you need.

Additionally, Microsoft 365 bundles essential office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with advanced tools such as Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint. This eliminates the need to purchase multiple standalone applications, simplifying accounting and reducing overall expenses.

Being able to scale your subscription as your business grows ensures that you will have access to the tools you need without overspending, making Microsoft 365 a smart choice for small businesses looking to maximize their technology budget.

Built-in security features

With the rise of ransomware, protecting your business from hackers has become more important than ever. Cyber criminals who used to prefer targeting large organizations now realize that small businesses are often softer targets who cannot afford to lose all of their information.

This makes security a top priority for any business, and Microsoft 365 delivers robust, enterprise-grade protection which keeps your data safe. The included cybersecurity features include multi-factor authentication, data encryption , advanced threat protection against malware, and continuous monitoring with real-time alerts about potential security issues.

Additionally, the subscription model ensures that you are always running the most up-to-date software with all of the new features. Instead of buying a particular version of a tool (say, Office 2021), you are buying access to the entire Office productivity suite and no matter how many updates it goes through, your team will have the newest one!

Effortless communication, scheduling, & collaboration

Efficient communication is crucial for the success of any small business, and Office 365 makes it easier than ever. With tools like Microsoft Teams, you can streamline your communication channels by integrating chat, video conferencing, and file sharing into a single platform. Instead of jumping between Slack for messaging, Zoom for meetings, and Dropbox for file sharing, Teams offers all these functionalities in one combined environment.

Outlook and Exchange Online provide robust email solutions with shared calendars and contacts, making scheduling meetings and coordinating with your team straightforward. For instance, instead of using Google Calendar separately from your email provider, Outlook combines email and calendar functionalities, allowing you to schedule meetings directly from your inbox.

Real-time co-authoring in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint means multiple team members can work on the same document simultaneously, whether they are in the office or working remotely and eliminates the need for emailing document versions back and forth.

Powerful AI Tools

AI is here and whether your business is using it or not, one of your competitors is almost certainly putting it to good use. Microsoft 365 includes the powerful CoPilot AI system which brings generative AI to the entire Office suite. From quickly responding to emails or helping you wade through a pool of new hires’ resumes, AI is a time saving tool that you shouldn’t be missing out on.

An Easy Upgrade to Your IT Infrastructure

Switching over to the subscription-based Microsoft 365 is an easy way to reap myriad benefits. Effortless enterprise grade email, enhanced security, Microsoft’s Office’s Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, and all-in-one communication tools like Teams all work together to create an easier way to do business.

If you’re ready to streamline your business processes and reduce the number of different software licenses that you rely on, then it’s time to consider moving to Microsoft 365. Not sure how to switch over without disrupting your operations? Working with a managed service provider is a great way to ensure business continuity, prevent data loss, and make your business’s IT stress free.

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