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For many small businesses, computing software is a fairly significant expense, so it is tempting to rely on free or open source programs…even if they don’t quite meet your needs.

Microsoft Office 365 is a great option for small businesses who want to provide their staff with all of the latest MS Office tools without breaking the bank. Is it the right solution for your small business? We’ve come up with a few questions to help you decide.

Is Your Team Using Out of Date Software? Or Growing Faster Than You Buy Licenses?

With Office 365 Business and Business Premium plans, every member of your team gains access to the latest versions of MS Office Suite, including Outlook, Excel, Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Access. All updates and security patches are included in the low monthly per-user subscription cost, so your team will always have the most up-to-date software. You can feel confident that they will always have the best tools available for getting the job done, without the hassle or additional expense that is usually involved in upgrading.

Do Your Team Members Travel Frequently, or Wish to Work Remotely?

Because Office 365 is cloud-based, all of your team members can access their MS Office applications and files at any time, and in any place with an internet connection. Offering the option to work from home can help you to retain valuable team members who desire more flexibility. Constant, hassle-free access to all of their apps and files will also help your employees to be their most productive while travelling on business for your company.

Are Your Collaborators Running into Issues with Sharing Documents?

With Office 365, multiple team members can work on the same document---simultaneously! Gone are the days of struggling to email a massive spreadsheet or waiting on a co-worker to finish updating an “old” version of a quarterly report by mistake. Sharing these documents with external partners or clients is also a snap.

Are Your Project Managers Over-reliant on Email for Communication?

Used correctly, email can be a fabulously efficient way to communicate. However, long-winded email threads can also create confusion or simply take up too much time in comparison with other tools available within Office 365, such as the Skype for Business application. This simple app allows team members to chat “face to face” about those tricky-to-explain-in-an-email issues. Project managers will also have access to MS Planner, a powerful organizational tool for developing project plans, assigning tasks, and tracking progress with a project timetable, as well as very simple-yet-useful features such as MS Tasks and Outlook Calendar.

Do You Have an IT Department?

No? No problem! Office 365 was actually designed for businesses without a lot of internal IT resources. Administrative tasks such as granting access to new team members are easily accomplished through a web-based portal that offers step-by-step instructions. It is not necessary to know a lot of technical terms, though if you do have questions as you go along, you can rest easy knowing that your MS Office 365 subscription includes 24/7 Tech Support, both online and over the phone.

Do any of your team members hum show tunes as they type? Do CrossFit? Work their cats into every conversation?

Unfortunately, we can’t help with any of that, but if you would like to know more about Office 365 – or want assistance with setting it up at your office---we’d be delighted to help you! Call or email Polarverse IT Services today and ask for Chris.

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