Office 365 is Microsoft's cloud productivity suite hosted on its Azure platform. The most commonly stated benefits of migrating to Microsoft's cloud solutions are increased productivity with universal access across devices, better business intelligence and reporting, enterprise-level security, and improved cost control for technology. To many SMBs, the benefits sound too good to be true so, in late 2014, Forrester Research conducted a study on the Total Economic Impact of Office 365.
The study was aimed to provide readers with a cost vs. benefit analysis that evaluates future technology, business flexibility, and associated risk. Forrester looked at five key areas to discern the true value to business. Those areas included Technology, Mobility, Business Intelligence, Control and Compliance, and Enterprise Social.
The solution set under evaluation included Microsoft Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Yammer. Forrester evaluated the five key value areas for the cloud-based solution set against their on-prem counterparts.
So how did Office 365 do?
Improved cost control for technology. According to the study, companies experienced a significant reduction in licensing costs, citing 11.9 percent less in IT support costs for legacy systems and 9.4 percent less procurement and third-party software license costs. Companies found that Office 365 provided a comprehensive solution without needing third-party software to supplement it, thereby removing additional licensing costs. Additionally, with automatic updates and backups, IT involvement was drastically reduced.
When the co-founder of Tastea, a growing boutique beverage and smoothie establishment, was asked about why they chose Office 365 to support their business, Ted Vu cited needing to "upgrade from all our ad hoc, free software to a real business-class solution.”
Increased productivity with universal access across devices. Since the consumerization of IT and BYOD adoption, mobility has become a major business priority. Office 365 provides users with a cloud-based productivity suite hosted on Microsoft's Azure platform that can be easily accessed across devices.
According to the study, Forty-two percent of companies using Office 365 saw an increase in worker productivity and 38 percent reported happier employees. Other key benefits noted by the study include, increased employee engagement and collaboration, streamlined operations, and accelerated workflows.
Ross Yearsley, co-founder of Breathe Hot Yoga, believes that “Office 365 delivers the professional, reliable, and easy-to-manage collaboration and communication tools that employees need to work together.”
Enterprise-level security. While many companies are hesitant to move to the cloud, citing security as a primary concern, Office 365 boasts improved security for companies at a lessor cost. Microsoft has developed industry-leading best practices in online security. As a top provider of global cloud services, they have built the Azure platform to comply with operational practices that span multiple geographies and jurisdictions.
Companies using Office 365 on the Azure platform reported that they had a 73 percent reduction in data breaches - resulting in a 32 percent decrease in costs associated with breaches, and reduces compliance costs by an average of 6.8 percent.
Better business intelligence and reporting. As technology becomes more integrated with business strategy, companies are challenged to find ways to turn IT into a competitive advantage. Business intelligence provides useful information to companies about customer and operational trends to drive better business decisions.
Microsoft's Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence tool that provides valuable, real-time insights into an organization using dynamic dashboards to help business leaders make better-informed decisions. According to the study, 28 percent of companies reported corporate knowledge improvements using Power BI. Other areas of improvement cited were, reduced decision-making time and improved employee performance.
Based on their findings, Forrester concluded that companies using Office 365 were better able to accelerate the deployment of latest Microsoft versions, reduce technology costs, increase business and IT user productivity, and stay up-to-date with the latest features and solutions.
Pinnacle, An Advanced Imaging Solutions Company is a certified Microsoft partner that delivers technology solutions to business leaders seeking to increase their competitive advantage. With Office 365, your business can be more productive, agile, and intelligent. Contact us today to learn more.