The advent of computers to the workplace started a new generation of document production and management. Companies like Microsoft began making programs that would reduce the amount of time for complex tasks. Starting in 1989 Microsoft began releasing regular installments of its Office Suite; a set of programs ranging from word-processors, presentation-creators, and spreadsheets to web-based creation systems. This has all culminated in the creation of Microsoft’s Software as a Service (SaaS) Office 365 platform.
Over the years each offering has become more and more refined. Microsoft has added elements that benefit the user experience as well as compliment the existing Microsoft offerings. Most users are familiar with mainstay programs like Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. Likewise, power users may employ Access, OneNote, Publisher, Project or Visio. Different plans offer users a variety of product groupings, tailored to meet individual needs.
What is available?
Currently Microsoft markets two different versions of its software; a stand-alone annual “Perpetual Version” of the software (Office 2016) and a cloud-based solution (Office 365). The main difference between the two offerings is the model of product support by Microsoft. As a subscription based service, Office 365 will remain up to date, and secure until Microsoft launches a replacement product. Office 2016 will remain secure and up to date until it reaches its End-Of-Life event in 2026.
Office 365 adds support for Microsoft’s Sharepoint, a powerful online collaboration tool that enables users to work on files together no matter where they are. This functionality extends to external users (such as an external legal council) whom can be granted permissions securely with Active Directory. The Exchange functionality of the Office 365 platform allows your business to run mail and calendar applications without the need for a separate exchange server. This cuts down on operating costs associated with running another machine (virtual or otherwise) on your network.
First Service Carolina has been performing installs of the Office 365 architecture since its introduction in 2011, but has been performing more and more migrations as an increasing number of clients switch to either cloud or hybrid architectures. Our engineers can configure multiple user groups, as well as security settings, for small and medium businesses and Non-Profit Organizations.
What’s coming next?
During the Ignite showcase in September 2017 Microsoft announced the forthcoming “perpetual” iteration of the Office Suite, 2019. Microsoft will release these perpetual versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook (as well as server software like Exchange, and SharePoint) in the second half of 2018. Digital pen and “inking” features will allow work to be conducted more naturally through updated “pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay” (from blogs.office.com).
How can I get Office 365?
The team at First Service Carolina knows that the transition to a cloud architecture can be daunting. Every business has different considerations to make before adopting a new technology. However a dedicated Managed Services Provider like First Service Carolina make the transition a little less daunting. If you are looking to get started with Office 365 for your home, non-profit organization, or business visit our contact page or call First Service Carolina at +1 (919) 832-5553 today.