Is Microsoft Office right for you?

I’ll be honest; this one is quite a nerdy one. However, it’s important. Software is one of the biggest costs which companies incur and too often decisions are made on gut reaction, hear-say and my personal favourite of “we’ve always done it that way”.

I’m fortunate (I guess) in that I get to take an objective step back when it comes to software. I trial out so many different options that I have been able to understand why there are so many products out there and how they all differ. This is actually a service We’ve started offering to business clients looking at CRM, ERP, MRP and accounting packages, but I’ll write about all that another time. I’m going to discuss your base options; Office 365, Office 2016 (and older), Mac software (Pages etc), Google Apps and Apache Open Office (Free!).

Let’s start simple with the question above “Is office right for you?” in truth, I LOVE office. I was raised (digitally of course) in word and excel and almost point-blank refuse to do my e-mails on anything other than Outlook. But I recognise its faults too. It’s no longer the most cutting edge or innovative and Microsoft’s desire to keep adding so called “features” can often just change things from how I liked them. Firstly then, it’s important to understand that there are different versions of Office you could use and they all have their own quirks. Office 365 is Microsoft’s current favourite and with its subscription based model I can understand why!

So is Office 365 any good? In short, yes. It includes live updates, is very secure and will keep you at the “front line” of Microsoft’s technological developments. That being said, the live updates (i.e. you don’t always choose when it updates!) can be quite frustrating. They alter the software without you knowing so sometimes you can open a document you’ve used thousands of times previously only to discover that now when you print it some of the content is missing (this is referring to images embedded in tables which can now be cropped if overlapping the cell size – I told you it would be a nerdy one!).

You don’t have to use 365 either; there are still plenty of people using 2007 for example. And why not (security issues aside…)! They know how it works and it’s a comfortable thing to use. Serious change can cost time, and for people on a deadline time isn’t to be parted with easily. Financially too if you buy Office 2016 outright, it’ll inevitably be cheaper in the long run than paying monthly for 365.

Furthermore, Office isn’t your only option. If you’re a Mac user you can use the native apps there; Mail, Pages, Keynote etc. and these are great options. They’re more intuitive and if you’re being at all creative, with a newsletter for example, it feels more organic when designing in them. But you can only have them on Mac, so half the market can’t even access them to see what I’m talking about.

I personally am a big advocate of Google Apps; Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. This is Cloud-Based software so your documents are collaborative. This means in an office you can all work on the same presentation in real-time on different computers all over the globe! That’s pretty clever by my standards! Honestly though, as clever as it sounds I’ve never found an actual use for it!

So which software should you get for your word processing? It’s time for some “rule of thumb”!

  • If you’re using a Mac then use the apps which it came with; pages, mail etc. They’ll perform better for you in the long run (don’t forget that Apple and Windows aren’t best buddies) and when you get used to them it’ll be a breeze.
  • If you’re used to Microsoft Office on a Windows computer I’d stick with it. I’d even suggest Office 365 so that you don’t have to worry about updates; lack of updated software is one of the biggest causes of security breaches. Unless…
  • If you’re using a Google cloud-based system then investigate Google Apps. They go hand in hand with the solution you’re already using and as an added benefit they don’t count towards your file storage limit.
  • Don’t forget about the secret 4th option; Apache Open Office. It’s FREE. It’s not perfect and it’s certainly not modern, but if you were happy with Word ’97 and loath change then this is the one for you.

Finally, remember to speak to your IT provider about software. We get great reseller discounts we can pass on to you. For example, this week alone we’ve managed to save one company £1896.00 per year on Office 365 subscriptions just by switching to us. If you’d like more details or to discuss which is best for you don’t hesitate to get in touch; we’d love to help.