Since the highly anticipated launch of Office 365 back in 2011, the platform has become one of the most popular enterprise cloud services and it's easy to see why. In short, the application is a subscription service that gives users access to Office tools and other services over the internet. With its all-encompassing mix of productivity-boosting features, more and more small and medium size businesses are choosing to migrate from older, legacy platforms to Office 365 to address the pitfalls of their existing systems. If you’re contemplating about taking advantage of Office 365, it’s important to find a cost-effective implementation and migration service as not to outweigh the benefits of the software. As a Microsoft Certified Partner, Blue Link ERP customers gain access to Office 365 licenses for a significantly reduced cost as well as affordable migration services with the purchase of Blue Link's accounting and inventory software. We also understand the Microsoft criteria for using these licenses and can advise our customers accordingly.
First, let’s take a look at all the sweet possibilities of Office 365 (if your employees haven’t hinted at them already):
- Whether your employees use PCs, Macs, iOS etc., they can access Office 365 from almost any device such as laptops, tablets, and phones both at and outside of the workplace.
- The platform is available 24/7.
- Flexible meetings via Skype Business which contain video conferencing and chat functionality.
- Opportunity for collaborations and ability to co-author. Multiple users can access and edit documents in applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote in real-time (for both web or desktop versions).
Regardless of how large or small your business is, data security is crucial to the future of your business and if you're not backing up your data, there is a great chance that you will lose it all! The beauty of Office 365 is that it has built-in data protection and backs up your data so you don't have to continuously worry about losing crucial information.
Room for Growth
Even if you implement Office 365 as a small business, it has the potential to grow as your business grows. You can decide when it is time to pay for additional services or data storage. OneDrive for Business - the data storage aspect of Office 365 provides enough data space for most small to medium businesses at a low cost. It’s kind of the icing on the cake since you won’t need to buy a new hard drive for the storage space.
Your employees will always have the latest version of the software. And, with everything being securely backed up to the cloud by default, you don't have to worry about continuously migrating your data. Taking advantage of a cloud-deployment has many benefits over on-premises applications in terms of the safety of your data and maintenance costs associated with local servers.
Depending on the type of migration service required, it may cost you a pretty penny to make the move to Office 365 from your current platform. Consider going through a Microsoft Certified vendor that can offer Office 365 licenses and migration services at a lower cost to save money and time.
Blue Link Office 365 Migration Services
When you purchase Blue Link's accounting and inventory system, there are a variety of Office 365 implementation and migration methods that are available to you depending on the unique needs of your business. Being a Microsoft certified partner, Blue Link offers Office 365 at a discounted, affordable rate and migration/ set up is used against your consulting package hours.
These methods range from basic to complex, providing a solution for all businesses. Keep in mind, opting for Blue Link migration services reduces costs associated with staffing and support for the integration. We also help with end-user adoption to ensure a successful migration/implementation of Office 365. With the actual work conducted during the weekend, we strive to have as little impact on employees/users' work schedules as possible.
(1) Basic Integration
The least complicated of the three types of integrations, this service essentially moves mailboxes from existing platforms such as Gmail, Yahoo, Zoho Mail etc., to Office 365 mailboxes.
- Smaller size businesses without a mail server.
- Businesses using local computers with no active directory and no Directory Synchronization (DirSync- see definition below).
- This typically takes less time (about a day's worth of work) which means the costs will be much lower than a more complex integration.
(2) Advanced Integration
- Medium size businesses.
- Businesses that have existing Active Directory and DirSync.
What is Active Directory/DirSync?
- Office 365 uses the cloud-based user authentication service Azure Active Directory to manage users.
- Direct Synchronization (DirSync) essentially makes a copy of the local directory and propagates itself to Azure. It takes the users from your local domain and synchronizes them with your hosted email service. It allows for changes from the on-premises directory to be pushed to the cloud (passwords, multiple email addresses etc.).
(3) Complex Integration
This option takes the longest to implement and is the most costly of the three integrations.
- Large size businesses.
- Businesses that have an exchange server onsite, with Active Directory and DirSync.
Shared mailboxes can also be setup at the cost of an additional Office 365 licensing fee. This will provide shared mailbox domains such as Sales@domain.ca or Marketing@domain.ca. Some of the benefits of having shared mailboxes for your team include:
- A single point of contact for all your prospects and customers.
- Your team can track conversations and replies ensuring all emails have been addressed.
- Improved transparency and visibility for your teams- also offers a collective ownership of information and enhanced teamwork.
- With multiple members receiving the same communications, the response rate is higher which means your customers/prospects can often get instant replies.
Want to learn more about Blue Link’s accounting and inventory solution, and how you can get access to discounted Microsoft licenses?