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Office 365 for the large enterprise

Office 365
by Jennifer Scott, 05 Apr 2012

Cloud computing is not always embraced in the large enterprise. Businesses of these magnitudes will have their own data centres built up already, with their own policies and own choices of hardware deployed as they see fit.

The problem with taking on your own data centre, however, is it tends to become an on-going battle of keeping it up-to-date and increasingly is a 'keeping the lights on' task, rather than one of innovation or business value.

As the cloud market has continued to grow, there are options now available that can give enterprise IT departments a welcome break, while also providing what a company needs and more, through a cloud model.

Office 365 is one of these services. Containing all the Microsoft Office software that a company needs, along with extras such as the Lync unified communications package. A large enterprise can take advantage of all the Office 365 services to provide these daily necessities, while it focuses on building a  stronger business with its own IT.

Not convinced? Let us show you why.

Managing licences

When running a large organisation, there are numerous employees with lists of software requests. Giving them what they want while keeping in budget and tracking all the different licence lengths is a full time job.

But there are standard types of software everyone needs and having to sign multiple licences running at different time scales makes that full time job turn into a full time nightmare.

By signing up to Office 365, there is a monthly cost for each user, coming in at less than £15. Having the same price for the same raft of software for every employee can make the nightmare merely a distant memory.

Also, as the service is on a monthly basis, it is easy to keep track of licences with everyone on the same timetable, and even easier to add or remove users as a company needs to.

Office 365 for Enterprises enables a firm to have over 50,000 employees signed up to use the software in the cloud, moving this management out of the data centre and into Microsoft's Dublin facility, taking a massive weight off of the IT department's shoulders.

Unlimited Storage

With Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and millions of emails flying around on the internal network and servers, the storage in a company data centre has never felt such pressure.

Storing and backing up all these files is a mammoth task that needs up-to-date and well maintained storage equipment, along with strong networks and security to keep the data away from prying eyes.

There will always be certain types of data large enterprises want to keep in-house, but doesn't the idea of the regular documents, which hold no business IP but just necessary tasks, out in the cloud sound appealing?

When using Office 365, businesses are given unlimited storage for such documents, even including database publishing, meaning regardless of how many documents you create or emails you send from your business, they are all taken care of in the cloud and out of your data centre. What a relief.

Voice in the cloud

As much as Office 365 is touted as a tool for SMBs, enterprise customers can get a lot more than their little cousins.

For £14.50 per user per month, a company can take advantage of the full voice capabilities provided by Microsoft through its Lync server as part of the Office 365 package.

Replacing the enterprise's existing PBX, Lync brings new IP capabilities, enhancing your existing phone systems by using VoIP, as well as adding instant messaging, a choice of end points - meaning the service can be extended to worker's mobiles - and fully hosted voicemail in the cloud.

At a time of globalisation, with communication high on the agenda, the Office 365 package offers you high quality telecoms and additional features, at a low cost and on a monthly plan.

Remote working

The new world of work is not tied to a desk. Your employees need to be able to work from anywhere in the world, from any device and without barriers.

By using cloud computing, this dream becomes reality, but with Microsoft Office 365, this reality is a safe one, keeping all corporate data in its high security facility over in Dublin and, in turn, keeping both your CIO and regulators happy.

It also removes the costs associated with providing hardware for your employees. Rather than a pricey business laptop filled to the brim with licences and sensitive corporate information, employees on the move can access the data securely in the cloud from any device, be it their own mobile or tablet, or a company provided laptop.

This gives ample opportunity to embrace the new 'bring your own device' (BYOD) trend and allows workers to keep up productivity while using an end point of their choice.

Not just for SMBs

Microsoft may offer the smaller business tools to help them grow, but it wants the large enterprise it has supported along the way to continue to shine.

With Office 365, it offers a new model for firms to use the traditional software, but take advantage of innovations in technology that the industry just can't ignore.

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