We get asked, a lot, why an an oganization should pick Office 365 over other email services such as Gmail (as an example). After all, email is email, is it not??
This is one of those “loaded” questions, specially if you’re older and remember the email server “wars” back in the early 2000’s. But I digress …
Firstly, the email “server” in O365 is Exchange and Exchange handles something like 90% of the world’s email. It is “the” corporate email server standard and it is so for good reason.
Secondly, Outlook. Outlook and Exchange go together hand in hand, each making the other “shine”. If you use Outlook you miss a monster chunk of the functionality of the product if it is NOT talking to Exchange. And this really bring us to the third point.
Thirdly, Outlook (and Exchange) are so much more than email! And, frankly, this is where all of the really shiny bits show up. Outlook (and Exchange) aggregate ALL of the functions you see inside Outlook (email, calendar, contacts, tasks) in one place. Exchange (the server) drives all of this and provides the backing store for Outlook. While Outlook can certainly talk to other email servers including Gmail, the bits of Outlook that aren’t email suffer for it. This, in turn, tends to upset users when calendaring and other information sharing is not smooth and seamless. Of course, there are other services out there that purport to “talk” to Outlooks’s calendaring and contacts and other modules but none do it as effectively or as seamlessly as does Exchange. And, of course, there’s the whole issue of having all of this info syncronize cleanly across your multiple devices (computers, phones, tablets). O365 drives this very cleanly, again because it is Exchange in the back end handling all of the heavy lifting.
OK, so Outlook and Exchange are the “perfect pair”. That’s all fine and dandy, but Exchange is only one piece of Office 365. For your subscription dollars you get a whole bunch more than “just email” and that is the final justification for why we strongly suggest Office 365 to our customers. There are a lot of email services available where you get email for $9 or $10 per month. For the same dollars you get email, SharePoint, Lync, Delve, OneDrive for Business, Yammer (depending on subscription). You might also get downloadable Office software rights (depending on subscription). That’s a lot of value for the dollar! For us, to be frank, it really is a no brainer, Office 365 wins hands down!
Oh, did I also mention that by storing your Office files in O365 (SharePoint, OneDrive for Business) that the “online” versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Visio can display your Office files for reading and editing on devices that DON’T have Office loaded on them? This is one of those features that you don’t think much about until you use it and then you wonder how you lived with out it. And, yes, I know I bang on about this incessantly but it seems the message needs to be repeated, incessantly, for people to hear it.
Office 365 … just “do it”!