I am a huge believer that the Office 365 email service is the best in breed option that the majority of law firms should be using. That’s what my previous post on the subject is all about. However, there are a lot of other great benefits that come with the Office 365 Business Premium subscription.
First, a look at some of the other features that you get with the Premium plan (other than email):
- Office 2016 apps for PC and Mac. This includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and Onenote. Each user can install Office on five PCs or Macs, five tablets (Windows, iPad, and Android), and five phones.
- OneDrive for Business gives each user 1TB of personal cloud storage that they can access from anywhere. It also syncs with their PC/Mac for offline access.
- Ability to easily share documents with others inside and outside your organization. Also, you can control who can see and edit each file. [Note: We do not recommend this as a file sharing solution for Mac-based law firms.]
Also, here are some of other key benefits of Office 365:
Access to the Full Microsoft Office Suite
Of course, everyone is familiar with the Microsoft Suite: Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. With the Business Premium plan, you are able to install these applications on up to five devices per user. My setup, for example, is a 27″ iMac in the office, a 13″ MacBook Pro TouchBar for travel, a 27″ iMac in my home office, an iPhone, and a Kindle Fire. Wow, that $12.50 per month already seems like nothing!
Stability for Macs
Although there has always been a radical divide between Apple and Microsoft, many people aren’t aware that Apple was rescued from certain financial doom by Microsoft in 1997, with a $150 million investment that breathed new life into the then-struggling Silicon Valley icon. Historically, the Apple version of the Microsoft Suite always seemed to be an afterthought. Die-hard, long-term Apple-using attorneys will remember the regular pains of Entourage 2004 and the formatting issues that were all-too common when exchanging files between Microsoft Word for Mac with a Windows-using colleague.
I can confidently say those days are long gone and that the 2016 suite of Microsoft apps is now fantastic on the Mac. The current version is by far the best release of the applications, and it shows Microsoft’s commitment to bringing parity between the Mac and Windows versions of their applications. There are no longer stability issues between the Microsoft apps on Macs versions. Microsoft not only addressed the problems, but they also developed apps that are modern and easy to work with.
In addition to the five local versions of the Office applications that you can access, you also get access to all the online versions of the software as well. This provides further flexibility in your ability to use the tools you need from anywhere. If you store a file in OneDrive, you can use Real-Time Co-Authoring (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), a much-beloved feature that Google Docs has had for years. Hand in hand with that feature is improved version control, which allows you to see which changes were made, by whom and when. You can also revert back to a previous version of the file if necessary.
Bottom line: Microsoft offers a powerful punch in their 365 Business Premium offering. At $12.50 a month, you get their business-class email, contacts, and calendars plus the entire suite of Office apps, with both locally installed versions for all your device. You receive the online versions as well. However, I haven’t begun to address all the additional tools and solutions Office 365 includes include such as Yammer, file storage and sharing, online conferencing, chat-based workspace, and more. Stay tuned!
Tom Lambotte is the CEO of GlobalMacIT, a national company providing complete end-to end legal technology consulting services to Mac-Based law firms. Operating as a Managed Service Provider, their service enables their clients to delegate all technology-related responsibilities so they can leverage their technology and convert it into a profit-generator for their firm.