What is Microsoft Office 365 and Why Should I Care?

Almost everyone in every office is using Microsoft Office, but we find that most offices have users that do not know about Microsoft Office 365. If they have heard about it, or if they have not, their immediate impression on hearing the name is that Office 365 is just a new version of Office. Microsoft Office is already confusing enough, with their new ribbons and their old original talking paperclips. Everyone loves and hates Office. It has been with most of us since the early 1990’s.

Office 365 is not just Microsoft Office. That has not changed, and it is only a small part of Office 365. It is actually a set of virtual servers in the Cloud that have incredible:

  • Enterprise Communication.

  • Telephone and Voicemail.

  • E-Mail.

  • Fax (we were the first to offer this in the United States).

  • Video Teleconferencing.

  • Remote Access.

  • Corporate IM Presence.

  • Enterprise Data Storage and Collaboration.

  • Replaces your network hard drive or file server with SharePoint 2010, adding many more features and opening your documents to controlled collaboration.

  • Enterprise Compliance Features.

  • HIPAA Compliant.

  • ISO 9000.

  • Sarbanes Oxley (with help from us).

  • Enterprise Reliability.

  • Financially Backed 99.98% Up-Time Guarantee.

The continual repetition of the word Enterprise is no accident, and is not an over-simplification. It is the key to understanding what Microsoft Office 365 is and how it can be an essential strategy for your business to lower costs while improving technology, reliability, productivity and collaboration. You see, having a number of servers set up to perform these essential services is standard operating procedure for large businesses. They know all about the advantages of technology, the reliability of redundancy, and the need for collaboration. All-in-all, completing your own installation of the products in Office 365 locally and co-hosting remotely as Microsoft does would cost you at least a half a million dollars, with expensive permanent IT staff, power bills, repairs, software expenses, and more expensive upgrades every four years forever. This prohibitive entry-level price prevents small businesses and professional offices from adopting such services. However we can offer this for about $24 – $60 per month per user.

Most people put up with the change, but cling to old versions, not wishing to find out what new features are available, and they are always worried about having to find new ways to do work that they already have procedures for.

Many business executives assume that we take a dim view of the resistance of employees to change, or that we somehow look down at them for not being aware of the bleeding edge of technology. This is definitely not the case, as their resistance is the sign of a quality employee, and businesses with quality employees are what makes consultants like us able to do our best work.

The reason that resistance to change in employees is not a bad thing is that it indicates a desire for procedure, for controlling a process, and systems thinking. Their resistance is rooted in not wanting to change procedures because they fear a loss of productivity. This is almost always their primary concern, and it is motivated by loyalty. Also resistant employees may be concerned with disruption in their quality control procedures. Employees in this category are very proud of the consistency and accuracy and rich detail of their craftsmanship. Understanding these motivations makes life easier for the experienced IT consultant. For locked within the resistant employees’ minds are the secrets of the business process, providing many clues for potential process improvements, regulatory requirements, common standards, and other details that executives may not have conveyed.

Interviewing and valuing the ideas of these employees is the first step. We will reassure them that their ideas are of utmost importance. That we want to take the time to understand their business process, needs, and standards. Knowing these new requirements, we can move forward to greater success with the business process re-engineering component of your implementation.

After we have spoken to your staff, and gotten all of the relevant ideas, concerns, and needs, they will be left feeling hopeful and confident. We will have told them that we are empowering them and giving them the tools to do a better, more efficient job. We also reassure them that their input is vital. We need to make them feel that they are being treated as stakeholders and customers as well. We always ask offices to delegate an employee in middle management on the front lines to serve as a single point of contact for raising issues. This always ends up helping us address employee concerns better, and keeping them enthusiastic about the new project. A proper implementation will increase efficiency by reducing duplicated effort, centralizing and securing data, and facilitating better teamwork and collaboration.

Office 365 will change the way you do business. The efficiency, reliability, and control you get will make your organization more adaptive to change, and our clients are already reaping the benefits of their Office 365 implementations!

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