Is Office 365 right for your business?

Author: Kieron Doyle

When setting up IT systems for a business, choosing between on-premise systems like Exchange, or the cloud-based system Office 365 is one of the key decisions so how do you know which is the right system for your company?

If you are thinking of committing to Office 365, there are a number of considerations to take into account so we have compiled some key questions to ask yourself, before making the decision.

Have you made an investment in recent years in an Exchange platform and/or Office licences?

If you have then there is more impetus for you to stay with an on-premise solution rather than moving over to Office 365 and losing out on the investment you have already made.

Do you run a range of other applications that are going to remain on-premise and require internal IT management? In other words, do you have an ongoing internal IT infrastructure?

If you still need to manage some other applications on-premise there is a logic to retaining Exchange on-premise as well so that you can continue to keep everything in one place – meaning Office 365 won’t be your best option.

How fast is your broadband service and do you have a strong Service Level Agreement?

Office 365 needs a strong and reliable broadband service to work efficiently so if your broadband service is weak or cuts out regularly then you might be better with an on-premise service instead.

How old is your current version of Office – have you had enough return to justify a change of strategy?

If your current version of Office has had its day and will need replacing sooner rather than later, then why not consider Office 365 – you won’t lose out on any investment you made initially if the system is going to cost you soon anyway.

Which will cost more over a lifetime, say 5 years - on-premise or Cloud Office solutions?

This will depend a lot on your infrastructure, size and licence options, however Office 365 often works out more expensive over 5 years and the subscription prices are subject to increases.

Do you have a range of requirements between users, with most users only requiring email and very few running the full Office suite? If so, do they all require the full licence?

If this is the case then you might want to consider Office 365 as they offer a range of variable licence types with economical and flexible offers.#

Are you running a new business with little IT resources and no current IT investment so far?

If you haven’t started out with IT systems already and have limited internal IT management resources then a Cloud-based system may work better for you, with no IT maintenance requirements or additional hardware required to run it.

Is your workforce all office-based or do you have remote or transient workers?

Office 365 offers great flexibility for remote workers or those on the move as it can work anywhere and on any device, as long as they have access to the internet. If they are all office-based then an on-premise solution will work well.

What backup and Disaster Recovery tools do you have in place?

Both on-premise or cloud solutions can help in this situation as long as you have proper planning and investment. It depends on how your company works and the kind of information you might need to recover.

What kind of impact will storing data in the Cloud have on my customers and partners?

There are still a lot of concerns among organisations about storing confidential and sensitive data within the Cloud so you may need to take your customers into account before you make a decision.

What happens if you lose broadband availability for perhaps a few hours or days? Would you still be able to continue running business applications on the network to an acceptable level?

With on-premise solutions you will often be able to allow a degree of work to carry on effectively even without using internet connection. This won’t be an option for Office 365.

Is it important for you to always be running on the current Office release?

If this is important to you then it is worth knowing that Office 365 offers this without disruption or extra cost.

Whether you are a new business deciding which IT solution to go for, or an existing business thinking about upgrading your system, there are a lot of things to think about when deciding to stay with an on-premise system or moving to a Cloud-based option.

Hopefully this list of questions will help you to consider all of the variables before making your choice but if you would like to get expert advice then why not give our team at Hampshire Business Computers a call? We will come up with exactly the right solution for your individual business needs.

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