A-COM Solutions in Adelaide specialises in helping small business owners across Australia make the switch to Cloud computing and storage, including Microsoft Office 365.
For small and medium enterprises looking to compete in an increasingly globalised business environment, there will always be challenges when it comes to matching bigger, better-resourced competitors, not least of in terms of IT capability.
However, one of the many significant benefits of migrating to Cloud-based computing is that SMEs can compete on a more level-playing field. The range of services that the Cloud offers mean that smaller enterprises can have Cloud-based CRM systems, apps, email and other functions at a fraction of the cost of on-premises solutions, and which provide significant flexibility and adaptability without excessive expenditure or any of the problems associated with managing and maintaining your own infrastructure.
Cloud computing applications are subscription based, and for small business this can make a significant difference to your overall capabilities and bottom line. You don’t need to make major outlays on software or hardware as you do with on-premises infrastructure (especially important for start-ups), and you can also scale up and down at a rate that matches your business’ growth and development.
The added flexibility that this provides, along with the fact that you always have the latest upgrades, means that you’re never paying for services or apps that you don’t need, nor do you have downtime or additional expense when software needs to be upgraded, as this is taken care of by your Cloud service provider.
The Benefits of Office 365
Microsoft’s Office 365 offers Adelaide SME owners a range of Cloud-based apps and functions that reduce costs and overheads, increase agility and improve productivity. Irrespective of the size of your organisation, migrating to Microsoft’s Office in the Cloud provides a huge range of benefits that undoubtedly make the move worthwhile.
Use both online and offline
Office 365 is much more than simply an online version of Office tools like Word and Excel. These and other applications that you most likely already use are part of Office 365 and installed on your devices (meaning you can use them offline as well as when you are connected), but with the added advantage of enabling you to store data in the Cloud so that it’s accessible from any device with an internet connection (PC, smartphone or tablet) — particularly important if you’re operating a mobile business, or work out of a co-working space. In addition, all of the Office 365 apps are updated as part of your subscription, so you always have the latest version without having to undertake time consuming manual updates.
Office 365 also brings with it a host of other features, alongside Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, including Exchange Online (email hosting), SharePoint Online (for sharing, managing and organising data), OneDrive for Business (store and share files across devices), Skype for Business (online meetings and video conferencing) and Yammer (group and team projects).
Manage email easier
Exchange Online is the email application that comes as part of Office 365, and using this as your email client means that maintenance and upgrades are always taken care of for you. You still, however, have flexibility in terms of the features you include and how you use them, but bigger issues like the functionality of your email system and staying online are managed for you as part of your Office 365 subscription. In addition, you will be able to access your email in the office, on your mobile devices, or via any internet-enabled computer!
Reduce time spent on managing hardware
One of the biggest benefits for small businesses when they migrate to the Cloud is that there is no longer any need to spend time and resources on upgrading software, servers and other IT infrastructure. Updates and maintenance are instead taken care of as part of your subscription, freeing up your time, reducing downtime and cutting your overheads.
Security and safety
For SMEs in particular, Cloud-based applications like Office 365 provide levels of security that on-premises installations simply can’t match. Cyber security requires time, resources and expertise that few small businesses have, especially when compared to the levels of security that you receive as part of an Office 365 subscription. Microsoft protects you and your data from breaches and hacking to a degree that individual organisations can’t provide internally, and thus you have far greater protection than if you maintain and manage your own on-premises servers.
In addition, any data that you store in the Cloud remains yours and your privacy is protected, including from advertisers and government agencies. You have complete control over who can access your stored material and, if at any time you decide to cancel your Office 365 subscription, your data goes with you.
Microsoft also guarantees 99.9% uptime and access to your Cloud-stored data, and you receive compensation if this target is not met.
Take advantage of Skype for Business
Moving to Cloud-based applications means you can utilise Skype for Business as a means of hosting online meetings, giving presentations, and for making and receiving calls from anywhere and on any device (provided they have an internet connection). The advantage of Skype for Business over running your own on-premises video or tele-conferencing systems is that there is no need for additional IT infrastructure, nor the need to operate and maintain your own servers. And as the app comes as part of an Office 365 package, new features are automatically incorporated, including upgrades and patches.
Migrating to the Cloud can be staged
If you do make the decision to move to using Office 365 and Cloud-based applications, it’s not necessary to make the switch all at once. You can manage the move in such a way that you migrate across gradually, one app or division at a time if necessary. With this sort of staged approach, you remain in control of your data and technology, and give your team time to experience all of the possibilities that Cloud-based computing provides.
Find out more
For more information on making the switch to Office 365 and other Cloud computing solutions for small businesses in Adelaide or anywhere across Australia, call A-COM Solutions on 1300 852 856 or email us.