The ROI of Office 365: Making a Business Case

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By Neil Wells-West on

Office 365 is Microsoft’s flagship product. It provides the most flexible way of licensing your familiar desktop applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and offers significant enhancements and benefits in the tools and capabilities it provides to enable you to run your organisation. However creating the business case for Office 365 can be a challenge. This may seem like a rather obvious question; however, many business users have difficulty working out what Office 365 is? Frequently it is equated with the “classic” Microsoft Office product. The business users therefore assume that they will simply receive Word, Excel and PowerPoint, etc. “from the cloud”. But as we know Office 365 offers so much more…

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What is the difference?

Although Office 365 provides the actual Microsoft Office desktop applications, this is merely a fraction of the features on offer. The real benefit is frequently underrated or even overlooked entirely. My personal view is that Office 365 creates an opportunity for a business change programme that offers an integral and strategic direction change within the enterprise. Besides features such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business, Office 365 provides security and compliance services, information protection, data analysis, real-time communications, external collaboration, business process management and much more.

What would be the motivation to subscribe to a cloud service like Office 365?

There are a complete range of reasons, however here a few examples:
• Your organisation is probably keen to focus on its core revenue-generating business. As a result, it is unlikely the organisation wants to implement and maintain an extremely complex IT infrastructure.
• It is too expensive for your organisation to provide this kind of infrastructure with high availability and failsafe operations.
• Your organisation does not have the human resources required to operate a complex IT infrastructure.
• Your organisation would like to cut back on costs, e.g. for software licenses, storage capacity for innumerable mailboxes and the corresponding archive.
• Your organisation is determined to use the latest software version always, but is concerned about the effort involved in ensuring that the latest updates are always installed in your IT infrastructure.

Why should your organisation use Office 365?

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This leads us back to the question of why Office 365 should be implemented. It would exceed the scope of this post to provide any kind of definitive answer to this question. You could write an entire book on the topic! So, we will pick just one example.

Let’s look at a medium-sized enterprise from the automotive industry. Of course, this company will also be reliant on a good IT infrastructure. It follows, therefore, that resources, technology and a budget will be made available to create a suitable IT environment.
Besides being secure, current and highly available, it also needs to be easy to maintain. Now we’ll pick the issues of maintenance and currency as our examples.
The indicators for these two areas might be as follows:


• The need to maintain systems to provide proactive protection against downtime.
• The need to maintain systems to ensure their high-performance operations.
• The need to maintain systems to protect them against security vulnerabilities.

But what about currency?

This does not mean just update management or security patches. Instead it is a question of creating a modern workplace.

These days, most students or apprentices have better software at their disposal than any number of organisations. Many universities provide their students with a new Microsoft Office package free of charge and Office 365 has made huge inroads into University life.

So how will this influence our medium-sized enterprise? It’s very simple: Today’s students expect similarly good technical equipment at their workplace as they are used to at home.
Every young professional and new employee, regardless of whether they had previously been students or apprentices, would like to work in a modern and innovative company.
Very often the conversations when sharing a drink after work are the same as they would in the school playground: “Which telephone did you get from your employer?”, “Which Office version do you use?”. And who does not want to score points here as an attractive employer?

That’s just one side. Another side presents the company with an even stiffer challenge. After all, how can you introduce a Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) solution without it taking forever? How quickly can you roll out the new Office desktop, and will it then be compatible with your backend? Which resources and budget will you need to manage these projects?
There are plenty of arguments that favour Office 365, and these examples are just two of them.

What would be the top 3 reasons to move to Office 365?

As I have hopefully shown in this post, the business case for Office 365 is compelling. However let me finish with three practical and immediate benefits for moving to the cloud:

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#1 Mobility – While the final numbers are not in yet, Gartner predicted tablet sales to surpass laptop sales in 2017. Mobility isn’t just an ‘option’ for most organisations, but a necessity. Office 365 can be deployed on a PC or Mac, and most plans include apps for tablets and smartphones. Plus, as Office 365 applications can be installed directly on-device, users can keep working even when they aren’t connected to the Internet.

#2 Scalability – It’s easy to scale up and scale down, meaning you can buy the seats you need when you need them. When you no longer need them, you simply turn them off. In this regard, Office 365 provides a tremendous financial advantage over perpetuity licensing, especially for larger organisations.

#3 CapEx to OpEx – Even though the application is deployed on-device, Office 365 is offered as a subscription service. This allows many organisations to move the expense from CapEx to OpEx budgets and often makes it more financially feasible than a large capital outlay.

How can Silversands help?

Silversands has many years’ experience providing consultancy, guidance, recommendations and best practice in relation to the delivery of the full range of capabilities within Office 365.
We have a wealth of experience and are actively involved in helping organisations to gain the maximum benefit from their investment in Office 365, whilst reducing risk to the business and facilitating user adoption. Please complete the form below if you want to talk to us about making your organisation a productive, modern workplace,

Also take a look at our latest events which include a dedicated Office 365 and  SharePoint workshops. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with our regular blogs and commentary.

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