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You’ve probably heard about “Cloud Computing” by now – the concept of having your IT services run offsite to gain advantages in mobility, access, resiliency, and reduced costs. Microsoft’s Office 365 offering is a key player in ‘cloud’ business solutions (though I wouldn’t personally class Office 365 as a cloud solution..stay tuned for another blog post on this later this month), but is it really as pay-and-go as Microsoft suggest?
The sales pitch from Microsoft is simple – benefit from all your favourite Microsoft Office products and services – Word, Excel, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync – but pay monthly and always receive the very latest versions. No need for an onsite Exchange server (which these days needs a fairly high spec server machine to run), and no capital expense to find from your budget. We at Systemagic think it’s a great solution for SMEs who would otherwise have to upgrade their desktop copies of MS Office every few years at great cost (or alternatively find themselves stuck with an old incompatible and insecure version after a few years) or those who find themselves with an aging Small Business Server 2003 machine and having to scrabble for a budget to replace it.
But, while Office 365 can be a great solution for businesses looking to make an initial step into ‘cloud computing’, it’s certainly not as pay-and-go as Microsoft suggest. Sure, when you sign up online there is a step by step process talking you through setting it up for your business, but many SMEs are easily confused by talk of DNS, MX, CNAME, TXT records, recipient and retention policies or migration options. This is where the value of having additional support comes into play – and the reason that Systemagic are a Microsoft Partner, Small Business Specialist and members of the Microsoft Cloud Programme.
Not only can Systemagic provide a fully functional 30 day trial of Office 365 services, but we’ll take the time to understand your requirements first and make sure you’re on the correct package (in, in fact, Office 365 is the correct solution in the first place). When you sign up for your account with Microsoft you can nominate us as your Delegated Partner Administrator, and our techies can set to work configuring your DNS, users, distribution groups, retention and security policies, and then create a plan for migrating your email from your existing server or provider over to Office 365. Then, rather than hand over and let you get on with it, our helpdesk is always on hand for any queries, changes or technical problems you might encounter.
Office 365 – great solution for business, but only when you combine it with business grade IT support.