In many of the discussions we have about Microsoft Office 365, the vast majority of them revolve around productivity, security, flexibility and innovation. Yet they are only one side of the coin. One of the most significant benefits of shifting to Office 365 for small to medium sized businesses is the ability to completely offload the burden of running the platform.

We were discussing this very thing at a client review last week. The client in question runs a small business with less than ten employees. While extolling the virtues of Office 365 and the new features it introduces, the main selling point wasn’t about productivity. It was about being able to offload the responsibility of running the platform themselves.

The client said the relief felt over not having to run their own Office platform, SharePoint and Exchange server was more than expected. It allowed the company to allocate resources to more productive tasks and to concentrate on driving the development of their own apps rather than managing someone else’s.

While we do consider this a benefit, we hadn’t quite realised how powerful an incentive it could be to a small business.

Let it go

Anyone who has managed Microsoft servers will tell you that as powerful as they can be, user friendly they are not. Each server type has its own foibles, its own strengths, weaknesses, particular requirements and demands. Each also has its own hardware, software, license and maintenance overhead. All of which can be a drain on company resources. Licensing alone can be quite the undertaking!

Being able to offload all that overhead while still benefitting from enterprise-level applications is the very reason cloud computing is growing so fast. It requires less capital and fewer resources, both of which can be better used elsewhere.

The other element of offloading responsibility is security. Microsoft servers have their vulnerabilities and their weaknesses which need careful monitoring to ensure you stay secure. By offloading those servers, you’re also offloading the security headache too. As long as you keep your data safe both in storage and during transmission, your security responsibilities are minimal. That’s reason enough for many smaller businesses to consider Office 365 right there!

Using Office 365 for your business has many benefits but the most beneficial ones aren’t always the obvious. As we learned, the ability to make someone else worry about server stability and security is something more important than we thought.

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