Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium is an online subscription service that lets you work with earlier versions of Office in the cloud. You are probably used to working with Office on your desktop or laptop, which does not allow you to collaborate well, especially if your small business does not have its documents stored on a server. Many small businesses would need to invest in a server to allow collaboration among employees when working with applications, such as Office or other programs. There are even accounting software and other applications developed, such as the accounting program UALive, that can be used in the Office 365 suite.
No Server Needed for Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 is in a cloud-based solution to the need for collaboration problem that many small businesses face. The fact that Office 365 is accessible online from nearly any device is an advantage to the small business owner, especially since it eliminates the need to run a server to collaborate on Office documents. Many small businesses would benefit from freeing up the capital necessary for investing a server, along with being freed from the headaches of maintaining it as well.
Office 365 Subscription Comes with Office On Up to 5 Machines
Another advantage of the Office 365 subscription is that Microsoft lets you run Office on up to five machines simultaneously. If you need to run Office on another machine, you can uninstall it on one machine and download it on another.
What Size Business Can Use Office 365?
Office 365 is scalable for businesses of all sizes, with different versions of Office 365 that can handle anywhere from one to 50,000+ users. Office 365 is best suited for small-to-mid-sized businesses, with large businesses usually having the financial resources and technical expertise that makes the costs of using cloud computing services such as Office 365 prohibitive. The cost of purchasing, running, and maintain a server can be cost prohibitive, especially to small business owners or new entrepreneurs who are just starting out. However, Office 365 is a low cost substitute to this problem, with all Office productivity software (such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, etc.) stored online and accessible from anywhere you have an internet connection from almost any device.
Office 365 Price
Office 365 is priced on a per user per month basis as follows:
- Hosted email is $4 per user per month for up to 50,000 users (Exchange Online)
- Small business is $6 per user per month for up to 50 users (Plan P1)
- Midsize business and Enterprise is $8 to $20 per user per month for up to 50,000 users (Plan E1 and E3)
For more information on Office 365 pricing options, you can visit Microsoft's official Office 365 pricing plan here.
Downside of Office 365
A major downside of Office 365 is that there are some hidden costs that can come into play. You do not get the full functionality of Office 365 unless you have an Active Directory placed somewhere on your network, an Exchange server, and servers for Lync and Sharepoint, not to mention a staff to run them or a service to host them. These additional costs can run up to $50 per month per user at the low end, running much higher in many cases. Another disadvantage is that you can only use Office programs, like Excel or Word, offline if you pay an additional licensing fee.
Office 365 is a relatively low cost solution for small business with basic Office needs. There is a shift to cloud services, and the virtual office hosted in the cloud will be a reality one day, especially if Microsoft forces this shift by making Office 365 the go-to place for businesses by making future operating systems that are not designed for work, but for play like Windows 8. Overall, many small business owners may want to check out a free trial of Office 365, especially if they need collaborative office space in a cloud environment.