As a business owner, one of the more important decisions you make is which office applications and services you use to run your company and the infrastructure and security of that software. One of the more prevalent application systems is Microsoft Office 365. While it would seem like a straightforward investment to make there are some important aspects to consider before diving into your purchase. Should you purchase Microsoft Office outright or subscribe on a monthly basis? Another important consideration is whether you have an administration system in place to manage your storage process? Is Microsoft’s default storage system the right fit? Or is a private cloud solution a better option?
Terry Rowsell of Frontier Solutions breaks down the different options a business owner faces, uncovers the best value for your dollar, and provides some practical advice on what will best fit your business needs.
Microsoft Office 365: What Does it Provide to my Business?
Microsoft Office 365 comes in a few different varieties and there are various levels that a business can subscribe to. Microsoft’s applications range from Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Access. Office 365 plans for business include services such as Skype for Business Web Conferencing, Exchange Online and additional online storage with OneDrive for Business. When you have an Office 365 subscription that includes the desktop version of Office you always have the most up to date version of the applications.
Should I Purchase a Microsoft Office 365 Subscription or Buy an Office License?
To purchase a Microsoft Office License you are looking at an investment ranging from $300-$700 depending on the version you choose. The most recommended licensing option is $500 per User License (i.e.: per person using the product). With the standard open license you get a digital download but there are some serious downsides. One of those downsides is upgrading. This $500 license is good for the version it was purchased for and the downgrade rights (meaning you can downgrade to the previous 2 versions). Most companies stay with the version they purchased for 3 – 4 years and do not usually upgrade with every new version of Office that is released. When they decide to upgrade, they need to purchase a new license for the new version. With Office 365, the upgrades are included as long as you keep the subscription active, so if your company is using Office 2013 and Office 2016 is released, you can upgrade to Office 2016 right away, and that cost is included in the subscription.
Not surprisingly, there is a big advantage to getting a subscription. At its lowest point, subscriptions cost $10 per registered user per month and are readily available for a business. With this subscription, you are always entitled to the latest version of Office 365 that is available.
Let’s Crunch Numbers
Imagine you are a business owner with 30 employees. You would pay $10 per registered Microsoft Office 365 user per month for a total of $300 per month. This works out to $3,600 per year or $10,800 for 3 years cumulative. If you were to purchase that same version of Office outright for $500 per registered user it would cost $15,000.
One thing to be aware of when purchasing a subscription is that Microsoft requires an annual commitment which can be a challenge if your business size changes.
Another route to consider would be a private cloud solution which acts as an SPLA (Service Provider Licensing Agreement) provider of Microsoft Office 365 all while taking care of your business infrastructure needs too. In the case of a private cloud provider, you do not have the one-year commitment and you can change your software needs as your business size changes.