Bi101 Blog … on cloud computing and SaaS, by Business Intelligence 101

Cloud Accessibility Microsoft Office 365

cloud computing Is it time to move beyond local storage, and move your document collaboration into the cloud? Office 365 can make it happen!

Recently, we’ve had a lot of success stories moving clients to Office 365, rather than letting them continue to sink money into server upgrades. Sure, you can continue running a local Exchange server… but why would you want to? The list of good reasons is shrinking by the day.

On the other hand, a move to the cloud-based Office 365 offers substantial benefits over local hosting, and very few drawbacks.

Six Big Reasons You Should Consider A Move To Office 365

1 – Go-Anywhere Accessibility

Sure, if you’re hosting your own Exchange server, employees can log in through your systems… but are you compatible with all the various devices in use out there, especially mobile ones? Office 365 delivers a guaranteed experience to effectively any device in use, anywhere in the world.

2 – Dedicated Apps

Office 365 isn’t solely for Windows machines and devices. Microsoft provides app support on both iOS and Android platforms, creating a truly consistent experience across every device that might need to log into the system. Since the interface remains the same, and familiar to all long-time Office users, there’s minimal need for retraining.

3 – Reliable Servers With Plenty Of Space

Microsoft tends to throw cloud storage space at Office 365 users, with 30-50 gigs usually being minimum. Further, Microsoft has among the most stable cloud servers in the industry.   Their up-time is likely better than what your own admins can guarantee, and that translates to better productivity and more effective remote workers.

4 – Simplified Migration

microsoft office 365If you’re already running a previous version of Office, back to 2003 or so, migrating your files, folders, and email is a relatively simple process. Microsoft intends 365 as part of their upgrade path, so they’ve made it as easy as possible to move from local hosting to cloud storage.

5 – Simplified Document Collaboration

Office 365 is built to facilitate live document collaboration, in real time, involving people from around the globe. If you or your admins have struggled with file access permissions, or servers too slow to handle multiple users accessing the same document, Office 365 makes it simple.

6 – No More Upgrades

Possibly the biggest benefit to moving onto Office 365 is that it takes you out of the nonstop hardware\software upgrade cycle. Cloud software is maintained and updated automatically, by the provider, which almost entirely takes the burden off your shoulders. Likewise, since Microsoft owns the servers, you’re no longer on the hook to buy and maintain your own servers and hard drive space.

The Cloud Is Here

While there are still some worthy reasons to keep data on-site, especially for firms with serious security issues, the cloud is making more sense for more businesses today. With its ease of use, simple collaboration, and device-agnostic software, Office 365 is a compelling platform for modern businesses.

To learn more, just contact Bi101!

Benefits of Cloud Computing System for Your Business

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History of Creating Google Apps

cloud computing

It’s sometimes hard to believe just how quickly Google rose to prominence in the online world. Even though the service is only about fifteen years old, they’ve grown at truly astounding rates to become, not just the best search, but one of the premiere providers of online productivity services for people and businesses at all levels.

Likewise, their “Apps” line of products only launched circa 2006, yet today they’re used by millions of people around the world. The collaboration opportunities in Google Apps are top of the line, and for many companies, are totally redefining how they do online collaborative work.

Chances are, none but the most locked-down operations anywhere in the world truly operate without Google being involved.

So where did all this come from? Let’s take a look.

A Quick History Of Google Apps

The most interesting aspect of Google Apps is that they largely developed organically from the services Google was already offering. There was no single moment where Google declared “let there be apps!”

Arguably, they began with the introduction of AdWords in 2000, marking the first point Google started selling services rather than relying on venture capital to grow. AdWords quickly spawned Google Toolbar, Google AdSense, and then Google Analytics in 2005 – their first “suite” of Google tools with moneymaking as their goal.video player

Google Apps itself first appeared in 2006, although at that time it was called Apps For Education and was marketed at higher learning institutions. That was also when Google Docs and Google Sheets first appeared. In retrospect, this makes sense of Google’s collaboration focus. Students and universities have more need for collaboration than many enterprises.

Late 2007 was when it became clear Google had ambitions far beyond simple education tools. Their Android OS was announced then, with Chrome first coming out about a later. These would become foundations for the total platform that Google envisioned: a cloud-based suite of productivity software that can be accessed from low-cost devices, and which doesn’t require local storage to run.

From there, it’s largely been a matter of expand their service offerings. Acquisitions like DoubleClick and YouTube, along with the introduction of Google Wallet and Google+, continued to tie their products together more tightly. Indeed some today now tend to complain about how tightly they’re bound together. Just try using Google services without G+ getting involved.

However, throughout the expansions, they’ve never lost their focus on usability and stripped-down functionality. While Google Apps generally offer less raw functionality than competitors like Microsoft Office, there are few companies in the business who are better at making software that anyone can use.

Google Into The Future

Today, Google Apps are used by millions of small and midsized businesses which value their ease of use, robust online storage and, of course, unparalleled collaboration offerings. Google Apps is becoming one of the most popular productivity suites in the world.

Is a move to Google Apps right for your company? Contact Bi101 for a free consultation!

Benefits of Cloud Computing System for Your Business

 

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Cloud Email with an Expert-Office 365 and Google Apps

These days there’s a lot of talk about “the cloud” – an almost magical place where your emails and other documents are stored, backed up, and accessible to your employees anywhere and at any time. Sounds like a great plan for you and your business but how is your email system going to handle the move?

Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps each have some great migration resources that will help you and your administrator navigate the transition but keep in mind that you shouldn’t Cloud Email with Expert Office 365 and Google appstake this change lightly. Your business’s email moving to the cloud is about more than just email, after all – it’s about securely transferring company data assets and about making sure there are no interruptions to this vital company service. Can you imagine a day in your business without emails working properly? For this transition to be seamless you’re going to want an expert to help you – someone who’s been through it many times before and knows exactly what to expect. Online migration resources are there to supplement an expert’s technical understanding but they simply cannot replace it.

If everyone is making the move then why is it so complex? The truth is that the process can be relatively simple for those with experience but can be a potentially serious mess for those without it. Rest assured that the end result of this migration will be well worth the effort for your business in the long-term – simply leave the most technical details to those in the know. Your primary concern should be avoiding any disruptions to your business-as-usual and this most certainly includes keeping your mail flow functioning properly at all times and avoiding any data loss. Partnering with an expert for your company’s migration means you’ll have someone on hand not only to properly analyze and plan an approach but also to respond immediately and appropriately to any hiccups so that your workflows can continue. Someone who handles migrations regularly will know exactly what to expect and how to react quickly if anything goes amiss.

Apart from the migration process itself an expert partner can also help you plan appropriately for what comes next. Switching to an entirely new email management system is no small potatoes either – to ensure that your office productivity stays high you’ll need a game plan as well as technical resources available to address the questions and issues that are bound to arise. An experienced partner can provide that technical knowledge and be a resource as you begin to look ahead towards your company’s post-migration world.

Finally, a partnership is the right way to go in order to be able to utilize the full potential power of your new cloud email service. Experts in cloud computing can assist you in creating best practices around your new provider so that your business reaps optimal rewards for the switch! The bottom line is that email migration to the cloud is a major change – one that has the potential to affect employee productivity both now and in the future. Seeking help from experienced professionals means your business will be able to get this transition moving forward smoothly in no time.

If you need more email migration advice or our help in making the switch, please contact Bi101 for a free consultation on your specific needs!

 

Benefits of Cloud Computing System for Your Business

How To Use Office 365 on Your Mobile Device

office 365 install

Office 365 is a great cloud collaboration platform, especially for a business that’s already largely standardized on Microsoft servers and previous Office releases.  It can be accessed from virtually any mobile device on the market, but it does take a bit of legwork first.

Both Android or iOS require several apps for full compatibility with Microsoft’s solutions.  So, we wanted to provide a quick overview of how to get Office 365 going on the two dominant mobile platforms.

What You Need For Office 365 On Mobile

When we see problems with an Office 365 Mobile rollout, it’s usually caused by a missing app, or apps being installed in the wrong order.  This is the best sequence to ensure everything works properly.

1 – Connect To The Microsoft Exchange Servers

The first step is adding Microsoft Exchange to the list of email servers used by your device.  On Android this is found under Apps -> Settings -> Accounts And Sync, and for iOS it’s found under Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars.  Both operating systems should already have the relevant Microsoft Exchange accounts, but if you’re asked by an older OS, use outlook.office365.com.

Otherwise, the only information you should need to input is your Microsoft email address and password.

2 – Install Lync 2013

Lync is one of the main systems Microsoft uses for ensuring compatibility in documents as they move from platform to platform, and it’s necessary for Office 365 compatibility.  All that’s needed here is searching for the free “Lync 2013″ app in your relevant app store, installing it, and putting in your email address and password when asked.

3 – Install Office Mobile

Next comes installing the official Office Mobile App, which is also free and in the major app stores.  This may take a little while, but once it installs, again the only setup you should need is inputting your email and password.

Once this is installed, you’ll be able to freely add, access, or change documents shared through Microsoft SharePoint and through OneDrive.

4 – Install OneNote

The last major step is installing OneNote for shared notebooks.  As before, this is free and easily found in app stores.  However, be aware there are separate versions for iPhone and iPad, so be sure to select the right version for the iOS device being used.  Once it’s approved and installed, again, enter your email and password to log in.

There’s one more step here.  Once installed, you still need to add SharePoint servers.  To do this, go to Settings -> Accounts -> Add A Service -> Office365 Sharepoint.  And then give it your email and password again.

That’s it.  At this point, your iOS or Android device should be fully set up to use the Mobile Office 365 services.  If you happen to have a less-common device, Microsoft also offers a list of feature comparisons and install instructions for other platforms.

Do you have more questions?  If so, just contact Bi101 for a FREE trial of Office 365!

Benefits of Cloud Computing System for Your Business

Are You Better Off With Office 365 or Google Apps?

cloud technologyOne of the most common questions we hear from companies looking to move into cloud-based collaboration is whether Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365 is the betteroption.

Both systems have their positives, and we’ve gotten plenty of businesses running on both.  There isn’t a wrong choice here, although certain setups will be more beneficial to certain companies.  So, we wanted to briefly run down the highlights for each, and talk about who would find value in them.

 Office 365 or Google Apps?

1 – If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It

First, as more of an advisory: If your business is already comfortably settled on Microsoft or Google products, there’s rarely a good reason to switch teams.  Just stick with what’s working, and what your employees are comfortable with, unless significant problems arise.

2 – Ease Of Use

There’s no contest here.  Google’s offerings require almost no tech-savvyness, and just about every service they offer can be accessed through a standard web interface without any extra software.  If someone has a Google account, they can use and access anything on Google’s system.

Microsoft’s systems are more complex.  For example, full mobile compatibility requires the installation of three separate apps, plus system changes.  Their apps and web portals are also substantially more involved than Google’s.

3 – Feature Set

The Office 365 apps are somewhat stripped down compared to offline Office, but not by much.  Microsoft still makes the most functional productivity software on the market, with features no one else offers.  Plus, Microsoft’s file formats like DOC and PPT are the industry standards.

Google offers stripped down collaboration tools aimed at providing the most common or useful features, without niche or esoteric features added in.  They also try to maintain compatibility with Microsoft’s formats, but it’s imperfect.  Still, for regular businesses, Google’s offerings are usually still sufficient.

4 – Pricemicrosoft 365 technology

This is a you-get-what-you-pay-for situation.  Even Google’s Premium offerings cost far less than Microsoft, and a huge range of their most common and useful services are free.  Microsoft charges a premium for their more-advanced services, and you also get more out of it, such as larger per-user cloud storage areas.

5 – Reliability

This is basically a wash.  While our gut instinct is to say Google has fewer service outages in total, Microsoft still has incredibly reliable cloud services.  When you’re dealing with two of the largest computing firms in the world, you can be assured their services will be available when needed.

Which Cloud Collaboration Option Is Right For You?

For most small and growing businesses, Google Apps provides necessary functionality, with minimal cruft, at a lower price.  For more established businesses, or those already deeply invested in Microsoft systems, Office 365 offers more tools and functionality.

If you’d like more personalized advice, or a free consultation on your cloud collaboration needs, just contact Bi101.  Our experts have decades of experience matching companies to the perfect blend of online software services!

 

Benefits of Cloud Computing System for Your Business

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