Cloud-based app suites and the software as a service (SaaS) delivery model have revolutionized how businesses connect their teams, encourage greater productivity, and promote business growth. Microsoft (MS) 365 offers your business all these benefits, whether you’re a large corporation or a small- or medium-sized operation.

If your company is already using Office apps, Stoneridge Software can help you take full advantage of the offerings in Microsoft 365, which now extend far beyond the classic Office apps.

If your company uses other productivity software like Google Suite, contact Stoneridge for help migrating to Microsoft 365 and reap the benefits of its deep integration with other Microsoft business offerings like Dynamics 365 and Azure.

What Is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is the rebranded version of Office 365 rolled out by Microsoft in April 2020. Here’s an overview of Microsoft 365—plans available range from Microsoft 365 Personal, a SaaS offering that gives an individual access to Office apps online or installed on up to five devices, all the way up to Enterprise plans designed to meet the needs of large corporations.

Microsoft 365 business plans give you access to far more than just traditional Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. They also provide email hosting, one TB of storage per user in OneDrive, and collaboration and project management capabilities in Teams.

Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365

Microsoft 365 is the new, rebranded version of Office 365. The goal of the rebranding was to emphasize the fact that Microsoft 365 offers both personal and business users an expanded selection of apps and services beyond the familiar Office 365 apps. 

In particular, Microsoft 365 for Business pairs cloud-based or installed versions of traditional Office apps with enterprise-level cloud-based services for productivity and security so that your teams can coordinate and collaborate—all while you maintain control over the security of your data and processes.

Programs in Microsoft 365

With this understanding of what Microsoft 365 is used for, we can move on to an overview of what’s included in Microsoft 365, from the familiar and basic Office applications to new and enhanced apps and services.

  • Microsoft Word-The classic word processing now includes Microsoft Editor, an AI-powered grammar and spelling checker.
  • Microsoft Excel-This industry-standard spreadsheet program allows you to organize and manipulate your data and create reports.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint-You can use this professional presentation program to create standard slides and slides with three-dimensional objects, animation, and video clips.
  • Microsoft Outlook-This industry-leading email client gives users a central place to manage email accounts, calendars, and contacts.
  • Microsoft OneNote-This robust note-taking app allows users to organize notes in notebooks, clip and store web content, and create audio and video notes.
  • Microsoft Publisher-You can use this professional publishing software to precisely lay out text and graphics for print and digital publications.
  • Microsoft Access-This database software enables you to create your own database apps with forms for input and reports for sharing data.

Microsoft 365 Applications To Enhance Your Business Operations

Below is a list of other important Microsoft 365 applications that can streamline your business.

Microsoft 365 Admin Center

Admin Center provides you with a centralized place for managing Microsoft 365 apps and services, your data, and the devices and users that can access your data.

Microsoft Teams

Teams offers advanced video conferencing, voice calling, and chat features that enable your teams to collaborate in real time.

Microsoft SharePoint

With SharePoint, you can create intranets for your teams or divisions within your company for file management and sharing.

Microsoft OneDrive

Most Microsoft 365 plans give each user one TB of cloud-based file storage. You can use OneDrive for collaboration and file sharing and to automatically save your Office documents as you work on them.

Contact us to discuss which Microsoft 365 plan is right for your company and to learn more about how implementing Microsoft 365 could help you grow your business.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium vs. Basic

There are a variety of Microsoft 365 plans available for businesses: Business plans for small- and medium-sized companies, and Enterprise plans for larger corporations.

If you need Microsoft 365 for a small business, you’ll probably opt for one of the four Business plans (presented in order of increasing cost and more extensive features:

  1. Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  2. Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
  3. Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  4. Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Here, we’ll give you a comparison of the features available in the Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Premium plans so that you can get an idea of the available offerings. Both plans are billed per user; because plans are charged per user, you can easily manage costs as your workforce expands or contracts.

The Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan provides each user with access to online versions of Office apps, one TB of OneDrive storage, and access to conferencing and collaboration tools in Microsoft Teams. The Basic plan also gives your company business-class email and standard security options.

The Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan includes all the features offered in the Basic plan but also allows Office apps to be installed on up to five devices per user. Business Premium also adds advanced security options, protection from cyber threats, and control over user access and company data.

Benefits of Using MS 365

Using Microsoft 365 gives your business a number of strategic advantages.

  • From an IT standpoint, MS 365’s SaaS offerings eliminate the need to install security patches and software feature upgrades on each user’s devices; these take place automatically.
  • From a productivity standpoint, MS 365 provides a complete, consolidated suite of tools to streamline team or company-wide collaboration, from the familiar functionality of Office apps to the project management and conferencing tools in Teams, business-class email, and file storage and sharing.
  • If you already use the connected business applications in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you can take advantage of their integration into Microsoft 365. This article gives an overview of how Business Central has been integrated into Microsoft Outlook, allowing users to access customer data and insights from Business Central within Outlook. This video offers an in-depth example of this integration.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium Cost and Pricing

Microsoft 365 costs vary widely based on the plan you choose. The available plan offerings include personal plans, business plans, and enterprise plans. Contact Stoneridge for help selecting the plan that best fits your business in terms of business size and Microsoft 365 functionality.

Stoneridge can help you manage compliance risks related to Microsoft licensing. If users in your company need help to differentiate between personal and work Microsoft accounts, check out this article.

Easy Integration and Implementation of Office 365 With Stoneridge

Stoneridge Software is a Microsoft Gold Partner; this status is only achieved through demonstrated technical expertise in implementing Microsoft products. If you’re considering using Microsoft 365 for your company, let us help you with deployment and demonstrate how Microsoft 365 can be integrated with your existing Microsoft products like Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Azure.

“Few other players offer a common platform and data model for CRM and ERP – and none bring in the Office productivity capabilities as Microsoft can.”

Nucleus Research