Why you should move to Microsoft 365
What are the main benefits for your business?
A bit of history here: back in the day, most companies bought copies of Microsoft Office (which includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and Powerpoint) and installed that onto their PCs. And their email account either came from their Internet provider, or via their website host. With the Microsoft SBS product (Small Business Server) some customers hosted their own emails on their own network, and at Dental IT we loved SBS as it was a great product for a really good price. Some larger customers hosted their own email servers with Microsoft Exchange.
In the small to medium sized business sector, this has now all changed. SBS is no longer a product, Internet providers have long since stopped providing email services, and hosting your email with your website designer is often the least secure platform you can use.
In 2011 Microsoft launched their Office 365 platform, which was designed to offer both access to many of Microsoft's apps on a subscription basis, as well as associated cloud services for email and file storage. It took off, and is now by some way the most popular email and Office suite for businesses of all sizes.
At Dental IT we have supported and encouraged our clients to move to Office 365, and have experience migrating email and files to Office 365 from many other platforms and services. Recently, Microsoft changed the name to "Microsoft 365", but the core product remains much the same. Meanwhile, Microsoft have expanded the offerings included with the product to include other apps and services that many businesses have
If you are not already on Office 365 let's look at the main advantages of adopting this in your business:
Getting your emails safer is the single biggest reason to adopt Microsoft 365 in your business. Microsoft support a whole host of features that help protect your network from email hackers, spoofers and scammers. Our experience suggests that over 80 percent of cyber threats to SME businesses come through email, so protecting this should be your top priority. Microsoft 365 offers advanced spam protection, link and attachment scanning, spoof protection and account security features such as MFA and conditional access.
Powerful and popular email apps
On Microsoft 365, your emails are accessible from almost any Operating System and a large number of applications. Any Android or Apple phone can connect to this email system, as can the Mail app in Windows 10, the Outlook app, the Mail app on the Mac OS, and you can access Outlook online at office.com from any computer with almost any browser. Both the Outlook desktop and Outlook web based app are very powerful and have every feature you could ever want in an email application.
Microsoft Office suite subscription model
Rather than buying Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the other Microsoft Office apps outright, the subscription model has a monthly charge, but this ensures that you are always on the latest and greatest versions. It is still possible to buy Office apps outright, usually Office 2019 "home and business" version, but rumour has it this will be last version of the Office apps that can be bought in this way. The future is the subscription model, as is the case for most software.
Added value applications
In addition to the main Office applications Word, Excel and PowerPoint, with which most of us are familiar, Microsoft have added a whole range of applications over the years that add a whole range of useful capabilities to your business, let's look at just a handful of these:
Microsoft Teams: a highly capable chat, messaging, voice and video conferencing tool. Teams has become ubiquitous due to the Coronavirus pandemic and working from home, but at Dental IT we have been using this for years to improve our internal communications and collaboration
Microsoft Forms: a ridiculously simple way to create forms for your internal staff and processes; these forms can be easily created and distributed, and the results collected and analysed.
Microsoft OneDrive: this application has been around for years, but has gradually evolved into a hugely powerful file storage system that allows you to synchronise your documents, images and other files across all your devices and platforms.
These are just a few of the many services now available through Microsoft 365 that can really enhance your business processes and productivity.
In the dental market, of the main applications available, SOE Exact offers excellent compatibility with Microsoft Office applications and also connects directly to Microsoft 365 email services. We have had much more difficulty integrating the latest Office applications with Carestream applications R4 and Orthotrac, which seem to be behind in development of support for the latest Office software. It is incumbent upon software manufacturers to keep their product under continuous development and ensure that it supports and works well with the latest software that many of us will be using in parallel with this dental software.
Are there any disadvantages of Microsoft 365?
In our view, not really - although it is undoubtedly the case that adding Microsoft 365 as a subscription for all your users, could add up over time to much more than buying the applications outright used to. However, the capabilities offered more than outweighs this investment in our view.
Need help with your IT practice support? Get in touch with us today.
© Liam McNaughton, Dental IT ltd May 2021