Office 365 is a viable and robust tools for any small business.
Aaron Pinsker | TrustRadius Reviewer
April 27, 2019

Office 365 is a viable and robust tools for any small business.

Score 7 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft 365 Business

Office 365 is being used across a couple of small business that I maintain. One business, a law firm, uses Office 365 to not only use the various Office applications (Word, Excel, etc.) but as well as a domain host for e-mail. Office 365 can connect with a personal (or business) domain to provide e-mail services and other domain hosting services. Other businesses I manage are simply using Office 365 to access both the web and desktop based Office applications.
  • Office 365 includes web-based Office applications, desktop Office applications, OneDrive storage, and exchange-like e-mail access. As such it is a robust product providing an entire ecosystem to work on various Office files, access e-mail, and work remotely.
  • The Office 365 web applications are extremely well done and feature rich. The web apps make it easy to work on (and collaborate on) files remotely, even from a computer that isn't yours.
  • Office 365 domain-based e-mail is best in class providing Exchange-like services without the hassle of managing an Exchange server or going through a 3rd party domain host
  • Because Office 365 is a subscription-based service, all desktop, and web-based apps are always up-to-date.
  • The Office 365 admin console is extremely powerful and robust, providing a plethora of tools to manage your organization - from setting up and assigning users with various apps and permissions to granular security controls to block spam and e-mail spoofing to customizing Exchange-based e-mail options.
  • The included 1TB of OneDrive storage makes for syncing files across devices a breeze, and OneDrive integration with Office allows for easy collaboration on files.
  • Perhaps Office 365 biggest downside is its pricing and subscription-based model. In order to access any of Office 365 features, a monthly or yearly subscription must be purchased. If the said subscription is not removed, you lose all access to Office 365, including the desktop Office applications.
  • The various subscription tiers of Office 365 can be confusing, as only some tiers include the desktop Office application, while other tiers only include the web-based applications.
  • While the Office 365 admin console provides robust and granular controls, the sheer amount of options can be extremely overwhelming and difficult to unravel.
  • While I personally prefer the Office 365 interface and features, Google's G-Suite is a far less expensive and viable competitor to Office 365. G-Suite provides a very similar feature set, and even some additional tools (such as the ability to create forms and provide an intranet-like website for your organization).
  • While there is a very active community to help with any issues or questions about Office 365, Microsoft's direct support leaves a bit to be desired.
  • Office 365 provides a one-stop-shop for a plethora of different services making management a lot easier and less expensive than having multiple different products.
  • The monthly subscription costs can add up quickly, and an organization needs to carefully weigh whether it is more cost effective to purchase a one-time perpetual Office license and use other, less expensive, services for domain hosting and e-mail.
  • For an organization that just needs Office applications, Office 365 is far more expensive and really not worth the cost.
  • The entry cost for Office 365 (i.e. time based on initial setup and deployment) is actually quite affordable and is not a hindrance to adoption.
In general, Office 365 provides a wonderful experience compared to the alternative. The main competitor - Google's G-Suite - provides a very similar feature set, but an interface that is far less clean and intuitive; it is, however, less expensive overall. The feature set of Office 365 is vast and flexible, but can also be a bit overwhelming. For an organization that really just needs the desktop Office applications, Office 365 is simply overkilled and expensive.
The Office 365 web-based application is very well designed and performance, in general, is usually great. While there can be a lag at times (especially on a slow internet connection), a number of elements are cached locally to speed up access. Compared to other web-based applications (especially Google's G Suite), Office 365 performance is usually significantly better - especially when dealing with large files such as spreadsheets. Office 365 web-mail is surprisingly quick and feature rich.
Office 365 provides a ton of different ways to use it - from the web-based apps to desktop-based applications. For the typical user, Office 365 is as easy to use as any of the past desktop only version of Office. For admin's, the admin console provides a ton of useful controls, but the interface can be overwhelming at times.

In general, however, the overall ease of use of Office 365 is quite high.
Office 365 can be very well suited for any organization that is already entrenched in the office ecosystem and needs robust collaboration tools. In addition, for organizations already comfortable with using Outlook for e-mail, Office 365's Exchange-like e-mail service is best-in-class and is specifically designed to fully integrate with Outlook. Finally, Office 365 can be used with a 3rd party domain providing a one-stop shop for many web-based and domain-based services.

On the flip side, for an organization that simply needs the Office application and doesn't require the plethora of other features that Office 365 provides (robust collaboration features, file syncing across multiple devices, e-mail hosting, etc.), Office 365 can be complete overkill and not worth the subscription price. A one-time purchase of a perpetual Office license would make a lot more sense both financially and from an ease of use standpoint (no advanced or web-based features to manage).

Finally, for an organization that is already using a competing service, such as Google's G-Suite, the transition to Office 365 can be a time consuming and expensive prospect. While I personally feel that Office 365 is a better managed, designed and thought product that G-Suite, G-Suite is good enough for many organizations.