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You’ve probably heard plenty of chatter about Microsoft Office 365. You might even be familiar with some of its tools and features. But if you aren’t already using the cloud-based solution, chances are that you’re not aware of the difference Office 365 can make for your employees and their productivity.

In our experience, the primary inhibitor to businesses adopting Office 365 is lack of resources: IT personnel are busy with other initiatives, and migrating data to the cloud can be difficult without in-house expertise. But with TPx at your side, you can unleash the power of Office 365, which is so much more than just Microsoft Office in the cloud. The list of benefits is long, but we’ve narrowed them down to these six keys to helping you grow your business:

1. Simplified Administration

Dealing with software licenses can be a headache. But Office 365 includes all licensing and it can be deployed company wide, ensuring that all employees have the same version of Microsoft apps and automatic updates at the same time. Employees also can log on from any device at home or in the office. Since each user can install Office 365 on up to five devices, a mobile BYOD (bring your own device) policy is much easier to manage. In addition, data backup, security and recovery are managed by Microsoft.

2. Mobile Access

With Office 365, your calendar and all of your contacts and emails are automatically synchronized with your mobile devices, allowing you to access and edit files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote from anywhere, anytime. All you need to do is add your work account to the Microsoft Office app and you can easily edit the files you have saved in OneDrive for Business.

3. Lowers Costs/Capex

With TPx Managed Office 365, you don’t have to worry about servers (or the related energy costs and office space to store them) or rely on a heavy in-house IT department. TPx Microsoft Certified Solutions experts act as an extension of your IT team to handle all onboarding and ongoing support so you don’t have to. In addition, you can swap out DropBox for Microsoft OneDrive and use Skype for Business in the place of GoToMeeting to save money.

4. Powerful Collaboration

Office 365 enables your employees to communicate via instant messaging and work collaboratively on documents and files in SharePoint. You can set your own document management and sharing criteria, allowing you to quickly share files and build intranets, extranets and project-oriented collaboration sites. Microsoft Office 365 also offers a video delivery solution with built-in encoding and management tools to streamline the process of uploading video and building video portals. And video is stored and streamed from Microsoft Azure using Microsoft’s global network.

5. Scalability and Flexibility

Office 365 grows with your organization, allowing you to add or remove users by simply adding or removing licenses. You’re not locked into a contract – you’re only committed to your service package for a month at a time with a flexible monthly subscription model. Office 365 also allows you to mix-and-match apps to customize solutions for different users or departments.

6. Robust Security and Compliance

With Office 365, Microsoft systems scan your messages and documents for spam and malicious software, and Microsoft data centers help safeguard your data. Essentially, you get built-in security and it’s easy to remotely wipe all data if you lose a mobile device. Additionally, multiple add-ons let you tailor Office 365 to specific industry regulations and data compliance requirements. For example, security and encryption settings can be customized to comply with HIPAA, FISMA, ISO 27001, and more.

These features, combined with TPx’s state-of-the-art operations security center (SOC), managed firewall and business continuity solutions, are a potent combination.

The bottom line is that, in today’s competitive business environment, your business can’t afford not to use Office 365, especially when you can lean on TPx Microsoft Certified Solutions Experts for the migration, onboarding and ongoing support.

About the Author

Ross Spero is a Sr. Product Manager for ITx Managed Services. His products including TPx’s managed IT offerings for Microsoft Office 365, Workstations and Servers RMM, and Backup. Ross received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and is currently earning his Executive MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. He resides in Seattle.

With so many people working from home these days, the number of “office” locations has grown exponentially in recent years. In fact, 31 percent of remote workers reported being out of the office four to five days a week— up from 24 percent in 2012, according to a recent Gallup survey. And about one in five employees are working from home full-time now, the study suggests.

To be sure, employees are pressing companies to break down historical structures and policies that traditionally have influenced their workdays. And employers are accommodating, primarily for three reasons:

To that last point, emerging cloud technologies are transforming the way work gets done. By using technology solutions like UCx and Managed Office 365, workers increasingly are doing their jobs virtually or remotely – and at various times of the day – instead of from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. And the primary inhibitor for working at home remotely – loneliness – is no longer an issue because these technologies keep colleagues virtually connected. With these high-tech communications tools in place, mingling and collaboration are as easy – and as fun – as congregating by the water cooler.

In fact, contrary to early concerns about remote workers, employees who spend 60 percent to 80 percent of their time away from the office have the highest rates of engagement, according to Gallup. It makes sense when you think about it: a video chat or conference to share ideas and documents with a colleague is only a keystroke away.

These new tech and tools are not just being used by remote workers at home. Multilocation businesses are employing them along with private networking, Internet, SIP Trunking and SD-WAN services, among others, to support the growing business and technical demands driven by the proliferation of critical applications, cloud services and mobile devices.

Scalability and flexibility are key. To meet the unique needs, goals and budgets of our business customers, TPx offers these services through a single-source, mix-and-match approach that delivers truly customized solutions for every business scenario. Our customers reap the benefits of constant access to the latest-and-greatest technologies without the headache and expense of managing it all themselves. Small businesses without IT departments get access to the same technologies as larger firms, and larger firms can free up their IT resources for more important proprietary pursuits.

Regardless of which vendor(s) you source for your technologies, using them is becoming a matter of remaining competitive on both sides of the balance sheet. We are experiencing a remarkable digital revolution that is both transforming and distributing the workplace, with web, computing, social and mobile technologies converging to deliver an unprecedented effect on virtually every aspect of business. This convergence is creating new ways for multilocation companies – whether we’re talking storefronts or the home office – to deliver better service, enhanced customer experiences, and retain talent.

About the Author

Matt Mair is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for ITx Managed Services. His role includes marketing and communications for TPx’s suite of managed IT offerings including Managed SD-WAN, LAN Monitoring, Office 365, Workstation and Servers Management, Colocation and Server Backup solutions. Matt holds an MBA from Michigan State University’s Broad School of Business and resides in Los Angeles.

The transition from the old, standalone Microsoft Office products to the cloud-based Office 365 is massive, transformational and accelerating. Microsoft sees 50,000 SMB organizations migrating to Office 365 every month and there are nearly 90 million Office 365 commercial subscribers today, up nearly 40 percent year-over-year, according to Forbes magazine.

Microsoft offers several versions of Office 365, ranging from $5 to $35 per user per month. Many of these plans also include the desktop version of the latest Office applications, which users can install across multiple computers and devices: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.  In other words, you don’t always need to be online to use it. Suppose you’re camping out in the woods this summer, and you’ve got zero bars of signal, but you still have to finish up that monthly report – you can work offline and your files will be automatically synced as soon as your connection to the Internet is re-established.

Office 365

Office 365 is a monthly subscription plan that includes access to Office applications as well as other business productivity services, all hosted in the cloud. These services include Skype IM and web conferencing, Exchange Online hosted email, online storage with OneDrive for business, and many other business productivity applications.

The ability for employees to work anywhere, swap information seamlessly, and use multiple devices under one user subscription license is a tremendous benefit for companies with employees who are based in multiple locations, work remotely, or work flexible hours. And with Office 365, end users can always have the latest version of the software with new features and services being added all the time at no extra charge.

For large organizations, making the move to Office 365 is a no-brainer. They readily make the decision to recruit, train and maintain skilled in-house staff to provide technical Office 365 support for their employees. But for SMBs, the staffing and expertise investment is difficult to justify.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to level the playing field. TPx’s Managed Office 365 helps smaller enterprises gain the same benefits that the largest companies enjoy, without the challenges of managing it all by themselves. It lowers costs while improving the quality of service provided to their users – a win for users throughout the organization that brings “no-brainer” back into the equation.

In fact, TPx’s ITx for Office 365 managed service complements – and for many customers completes – an Office 365 solution, with our IT engineers and Microsoft Certified Solution Experts (MCSEs) delivering comprehensive configurations and ongoing technical support.  And if there’s ever a need to escalate a vexing problem to Microsoft, we’ll manage that for you every step of the way. The payoff?  Better end-user IT support, controlled costs, and in-house IT teams freed up to focus on core business issues. Affordable monthly subscription plans make it easy to scale the service to suit both the number of users and the level of support needed.

Office 365 is changing the playing field for many businesses.  It has an air of inevitability because its power and flexibility are the keys to competing effectively in a changing 21st century workplace. With exceptional productivity and innovation capabilities that are improving every quarter, the question becomes not “if” but “when” – and “how.”

A migration project is a complex, invasive change for a business, bringing a bit more heat and heartburn than most SMBs are ready to digest. The right recipe for success has three ingredients: using an industry-leading productivity platform in Office 365; using certified IT engineers to run the project that will get you there; and using the ITx managed service to keep it working. Do it right, do it once.

About the Author

Ross Spero lives in Seattle, WA and is a Sr. Product Manager for ITx Managed Services. His products including TPx’s managed IT offerings for Microsoft Office 365, Workstations and Servers RMM, and Backup. Ross received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and is currently earning his Executive MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.