Microsoft has announced that support for its popular Office 2013 will be ending in 2023. Businesses that use the software suite after support ends risk security and compliance problems. For most companies and organizations, that is not a gamble worth taking.
Companies are probably not wondering about whether or not they should upgrade. Instead, they are likely weighing their options for replacing Office 2013.
Office 365 contains all of the communication, productivity, collaboration, and security tools you need, so the obvious choice for most is to upgrade to a newer version of the software suite.
In 2020, Microsoft rebranded Office 365 as Microsoft 365 (M365). However, there is confusion because the rebrand only affected specific sectors. In healthcare, large enterprises, government agencies, and academic institutions, the name remains Office 365. If you operate a small or medium-sized enterprise, you will use Microsoft 365.
Is it worth upgrading to Microsoft 365 from an older version of Office?
Here is a look at the benefits of M365 so that you can decide for yourself.
The benefits of shifting to Microsoft 365
Here are eight M365 benefits that small and medium enterprises can enjoy when they switch from an older version of Office or another software suite.
1. Seamlessly switch between the office and remote work
Microsoft 365 is cloud-based, so you can access the platform from anywhere with the right credentials and an internet connection. Remote and hybrid work arrangements are very common in today’s business world, and this level of connectivity is essential for productivity. With the correct configuration and the subscription plan, workers can take full advantage of the benefits of M365 regardless of their location.
2. Easily access tools for collaboration
Microsoft 365 allows you to select teams or workgroups based on skill and compatibility instead of location. Tools like OneDrive and SharePoint make it possible to share and access files securely, and Microsoft Teams (available on Business Standard or higher plans) ensures instant communication, even if you are not in the same time zone. You can choose the tools that work best for your team or the given situation. Microsoft Teams offers video calls and conferencing. You can also use instant messaging or Outlook’s traditional email features. Additional tools like screen sharing can further aid collaboration.
3. Enhance efficiency and reduce the learning curve with social communication systems
Teams and Yammer, a social media-like system for business, do not require much training. Employees are already familiar with video calling, social media-style chats, and instant messaging. M365 simply brings these tools into a business environment. Additionally, the social nature of these applications makes collaboration easier. Everyone can participate in a video or text chat. They can easily engage in brainstorming sessions or communicate with other team members while working on a project simultaneously.
Microsoft 365 shares the familiar icons, layout, menus, and keystrokes with Office, so if you are switching from Office 2013, the environment will be very familiar for your employees.
4. Take advantage of automation and no-code app development
Microsoft 365 customers can supplement their setup with Dynamics 365. This suite of tools includes business intelligence applications that can collect and analyze data and offer insights to streamline workflow and help employees make informed decisions. You can also use the Power Apps platform to create customized applications with little or no coding knowledge. Any employee can make a tool to help streamline or automate time-consuming tasks, freeing them up to work on more important aspects of a project.
5. Improve employee experience
A digital workplace can be impersonal, making it difficult for workers to engage and feel connected during work. Microsoft has addressed this issue with Viva, an employee experience platform that you can add to Microsoft 365 with Teams. Viva brings several features meant to personalize work experiences. It includes a Connections feature with a customizable homepage for each employee, and Insights, an AI-power analytics tool that can help you improve performance and overall wellbeing.
Meanwhile, Viva’s Learning system finds formal and informal professional development opportunities and makes them available to employees. Finally, Topics uses algorithms to detect which projects, tools, and communications are important to you and make them more accessible via shortcuts like personalized search results, pages, and cards.
6. Enhance security
Microsoft handles backend security for the cloud-based system on which M365 operates. This frees up your IT team to work on network security and other front-end vulnerabilities.
Also, Microsoft 365 has security enhancements, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), which adds a step during login to negate the issue of stolen or guessed passwords.
7. Enjoy easy system administration
Companies can sometimes delay updates or forego software upgrades to avoid work stoppages. This can hurt efficiency and cause security issues. Because M365 is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, Microsoft handles the updates, creates security patches to deal with the latest cyber threats, and fixes bugs.
8. Pay for exactly what you need
Microsoft offers different subscription plans and add-ons, so you can get exactly what you need without having to pay for features that you will never use.
Because it is completely cloud-based, M365 can also reduce hardware costs for computers, memory, and servers. If you have a third-party IT management partner like Softlanding, you may be able to limit in-house IT positions.
How to get the benefits of M365
If you need assistance configuring and deploying the newest version of Microsoft 365, you should contact Softlanding. We can ensure you have the tools, systems, and add-ons in place to take full advantage of all the M365 benefits.