4 Ways Office 365 Can Benefit Your Organization

by John H. Higgins, CPA, CITP | Sep 11, 2017

If you are like most people, you probably know only a fraction of what Office 365 is all about. In fact, many people believe it is simply the newest release of the Microsoft Office suite. Nothing could be further from the truth. So what exactly is Office 365? More importantly, why should you be interested in using it in your organization?

Office 365 can be best described as:

  • An ecosystem of desktop- and cloud-based applications
  • A subscription-based software as a service model (SaaS)
  • A 21st century platform for internal and external collaboration
  • A gateway to self-service analytics and KPI dashboards

At last count, there were over 20 individual applications available in the Office 365 ecosystem, ranging from Outlook, Excel and Word to OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Power BI and many more. Except for the traditional Office applications, all of the other applications are cloud based to optimize your ability to collaborate and share information with clients, customers, suppliers, patients, etc.

Office 365 Portal: 4 Ways It Can Benefit Your Organization

  1. Integrated Applications. One of the key value propositions for Office 365 is that all of the applications are integrated. You can create an Excel spreadsheet on your desktop, then store it in OneDrive for Business, and then collaborate and edit it online with others simultaneously by using the Excel online app. You can also publish the data to Power BI to offer a highly visual KPI dashboard and then meet online using Skype for Business to review and discuss the results.
  2. Subscription and Scalability. The licensing model for Office 365 is subscription based. This is consistent with the SaaS model for software distribution. A huge advantage to this model is that a number of services are included in the monthly fee: continuous software updates and enhancements; full service data backup and disaster recovery protection; cybersecurity; network administration; and file server infrastructure. You can choose from a variety of subscription levels based on the scope of applications required. One key benefit of Office 365 is its scalability. You can mix and match subscription levels based upon individual user requirements and you can increase or decrease your number of user licenses on demand, with just a few clicks of the mouse.
  3. Ease of Collaboration. In terms of collaboration, Office 365 provides the best of both worlds. You can still work independently using the Office desktop applications. Alternatively, you can choose to store your files in the cloud using OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online, which allows you to share access to your files and documents for collaboration. When you share access, you can choose whether you want to provide view-only access or full editing capabilities. The efficiency gains that come from eliminating the sending of multiple file copies back and forth can be substantial. You can enhance this collaboration by using the Skype for Business application to have online meetings and the Microsoft Teams app for a continuous online group dialogue with direct links to specific files for reference.
  4. Includes New Business Intelligence Application: Power BI. One of the newest applications in the Office 365 suite is Power BI. This is the primary business intelligence application that Microsoft has developed to create highly visual dashboards that can be accessed via mobile devices for busy executives on the go. This app provides an excellent opportunity for CPAs to add more value to their organization, or their clients' businesses, by helping them focus on the metrics that are most important to managing the growth and profitability of their operations.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of describing the features and benefits of deploying Office 365 in your organization.

Ready to take your organization's Office 365 use to the next level? Learn more by attending these WSCPA CPE programs:

Office 365 - Unleash the Power in Your Organization

Office 365 - Unleash the Power in Your Organization WEBCAST

Office 365 Ecosystem - How to Start Using Your Subscription WEBINAR

John Higgins headshotJohn Higgins, CPA, CITP, co-founder of CPA Crossings, LLC, is a nationally recognized leader in strategic technology advisory services for CPAs and other financial professionals. In 2017 CPA Crossings established the Office 365 Learning Center.

This article printed with permission from CPA Crossings, LLC

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