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Starting Your Startup in the Cloud

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Starting Your Startup in the Cloud

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Are you starting a startup or thinking of starting one? If so, you may want to strongly consider the cloud. Why consider the cloud? Well, for the typical reasons: time and money. And while you are considering the cloud, you might as well consider one of the top clouds in the world: Microsoft's Office 365. Microsoft was recognized by Gartner as a leader in cloud in the Magic Quadrant since 2014 (latest blog here: http://blogs.gartner.com/merv-adrian/2016/01/31/microsoft-in-40-gartner-magic-quadrants-january-2016...) and Microsoft's cloud, Office 365, can save you both time and money.

 

You Don't Have All the Time in the World

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You are starting a business and time has become an even more precious commodity than it already was. There are only 24 hours in a day after time to eat, sleep, rest, and take care of yourself and loved one, the time in a day is short.

 

Consider the time it takes to start up an business. Time with paperwork as well as possible office space planning and setup and hiring people can be a big investment of time. Setting up the company IT infrastructure can also be a time huge investment but you can get some of that time back. Imagine getting the tools on an infrastructure that you don't have to setup, only have to subscribe to. Office 365 (Not to be confused with Office. Learn the difference here) contains all of these things that most startups (as well as established organizations) need:

  • Exchange –
    • Keep everyone in sync with professional, enterprise-grade email and shared calendars they can access at their desk or on the go. Get business-class email, shared calendars, 50 GB of storage space per user, and the ability to use your own domain name. Also, archiving and legal hold capabilities, plus unlimited storage on the E3 plan.
    • Ask Yourself: Are you thinking of using Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or the like for your organization? Doesn’t look too professional, right? You may be getting some business at first but there are a lot of people who will not take you seriously if you are using a consumer email address. How much does standalone email cost? Can you afford to give all of your staff email? What about the other tools you need?
  • Skype for Business  (Formally Lync. Not to be confused with Skype. Learn the difference here.)–
    • Connect immediately or set up and host online meetings for up to 250 people with multi-party HD video conferencing, real-time note taking, and screen sharing. Connect to Skype user and hold meetings with people who don’t have Lync, Skype, or Skype for Business.
    • Ask Yourself: Are you thinking about paying for WebEx, GoToMeeting, or the like? If so, how much will it cost you? Are you having to share accounts? Did you know that you can get two E3 and one E1 subscription of Office 365 for the same price as one WebEx account?
  • SharePoint –
    • Collaborate with teammates, partners, and customers with documents that are always up to date and accessible from almost anywhere. Have the ability to create separate sites for different purposes. Share documents and so much more like project management, dashboards, online forms, and automated workflow in a 1 TB shared space that can be as large as 25 TB. And it is permission based so you can invite those who need to be.
    • Ask Yourself: Have you wanted wanted/needed to share documents and make sure everyone can get to the latest and greatest? Planning to you use a fileserver but concerned about how it is hard can be to navigate and know which is the latest and greatest files? How about automating paper forms and slow workflow processes? Considering a product like Basecamp? How much does that cost?
  • OneDrive for Business (Not to be confused with OneDrive. Learn the difference here.) – 
    • 1TB of personal storage they can access from anywhere and that syncs with their PC, Mac, and mobile devices. Easily share files internally and externally and control who sees and edits them. You can also use co-authoring so that you and your team can work on a document at the same time.
    • Ask Yourself: Is your data backed up? What if my computer goes down tomorrow? If you are considering DropBox or the like, how much will it costing you?
  • Microsoft Office Professional or Professional Plus desktop applications (depending on subscription level) -
    • Subscription to Office Pro or Pro Plus for up to 5 PCs/Macs and 5 mobile devices per user. Office Professional Plus includes Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, and InfoPath.
    • Ask yourself: How much of a capital expense is it for you to upgrade? Wouldn't it be great to have everyone on the same version of Office.
  • Site mailboxes – Store and share email and documents in project-specific folders, allowing for easier team   collaboration.
  • Office Mobile – Don’t have a Windows phone? No worries. Access, edit, and view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on iPhones, iPads, and Android. Depends on subscription.
  • Office Web Apps – Create, store, edit, and share Office docs online for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
  • Website – Market your business with a website that’s easy to set up and update via Wix or GoDaddy and get 50% off the first year.
  • Worry-free, continuous data backup to geo-redundant servers
  •  Access securely from anywhere on any web connected device
  • Much more!

Speaking of security, it is secure and compliant, all without you having to lift a finger. If you go to http://trustoffice365.com, you can read all about Microsoft's compliance, security, privacy and transparency measures. Namely, the following:

Built-in security

  • Service-level security through defense-in-depth
  • Customer controls within the service
  • Security hardening and operational best practices

Privacy by design

  • Your data is not used for advertising
  • You have extensive privacy controls
  • You can take your data with you when you want

Continuous compliance

  • Proactive processes to meet your compliance needs
  • Customer controls for organizational compliance
  • Independently verified to meet evolving standards

Transparent operations

  • You know where your data resides and who has access
  • Visibility into availability and changes to the service
  • Financially backed guarantee of 99.9% uptime

 

Leveraging the cloud as your company's infrastructure can minimize some of the time you would spend setting it all up from scratch. And speaking of time…

 

Time is Money

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Time is money so saving time is equal to saving money. The less time you spend setting those parts up the more time you can devote to other things and the less money you have to devote at your payrate or at your IT person's payrate to do something that is already done. Why recreate the wheel? Check out this blog and this whitepaper for a more in-depth look at the return on investment (ROI) that Office 365 offers.

 

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Images from: https://sadasystems.com/blog/microsoft-solutions/office-365/blogmicrosoft-solutionsoffice-365the-fiv...

 

Money is Money

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So how much does it cost? Check this out!

 

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Full Enterprise plans pricing chart with features: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/compare-more-office-365-for-business-plans

 

 

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Full Business plans pricing chart here: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/compare-office-365-for-business-plans

 

When you take those costs and compare them to how much it would cost to buy the server, the Office software, tools that enable mobility and backup recovery, tools for collaboration for each of your employees, you can easily see the cost savings. So get Microsoft's cloud, Office 365, and watch your ROI grow!

 

Need help calculating the ROI, the TCO (total cost of ownership), and/or a demo or Office 365? Need to talk this through more? We understand and are here to help. Reach out to us at service@cartermcgowanservices.com and we will happily answer your questions. We can also work with you to bring Microsoft Office 365, Azure, and SharePoint as well as this and other solutions to your organization. To learn more about how we help, please see our website at www.cartermcgowanservices.com.

Peace and Blessings,
Nikkia T. Carter, MCPS, MS, CTT
CEO/Owner, Carter-McGowan Services, LLC
Free Monthly Business Technology Webinars/Q&A Sessions and Helpful Tips: http://ow.ly/yVSFM
Specializing in Technology All Organizations Need!
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