As a vendor of Office 365 solutions, SP Marketplace speaks with hundreds of Office 365 customers every month. It always amazes us how many businesses are using just a fraction of the Office 365 functions. Apparently ROI for technology investment is not important. Obviously this inflammatory statement is not true (we hope); but rather, it is a lack of information or education about Office 365. You can benefit from what you don’t know.
The average Office 365 customer we see mostly uses it for email. In fact, the main reason in buying Office 365 for many was to get rid of their Exchange Server. What they don’t know is email is only about 15% of what Office 365 can do. In fact, even worse, their staff still uses only the Outlook client and never signs into the Office 365 site to discover all the cool functions available. This is just sad because often they are paying for 100%, but only getting 15% of the possible ROI.
SP Marketplace views Office 365 usage as a technology Maslow’s Hierarchy. It starts with the most basic needs fulfillment up to optimal realization. Your ROI corresponds with a rise in level of maturity of use. The higher you go, the more ROI you get out of it for your organization.
The cost of Office 365 lack of understanding
What is really bad is when your organization purchases new services from third parties that are redundant to functions you already have in Office 365, but did not realize it. An example is a nonprofit that was looking at SP Marketplace's out-of-the-box Intranet solution, and mentioned they just signed an annual agreement to get GoToMeeting. They did not realize they already had Skype for Business as part of their Office 365 E3 subscription. Now that is negative ROI.
Another customer was about to purchase a standalone Intranet that had nothing to do with Office 365. Because they viewed Office 365 as an email system only, the marketing team selected a SaaS Intranet that had many redundant features available in SharePoint. Also, since it was not part of Office 365, users had different sign-ins, user interfaces, and documents were separate from the Intranet. They found SP Marketplace's SharePoint and Office 365 out-of-the-box Intranet at the last minute, which was half the cost and also ran on their existing Office 365 platform. Disaster averted.
Office 365 – an organizational ecosystem, not just MS Office in the cloud
What you need to understand is that while Microsoft originally positioned Office 365 as office automation in the cloud (email and office apps), what it has morphed into is a complete organizational ecosystem that can serve as an organizational hub for all collaboration, internal services, business process integration and documents. As you move up the maturity hierarchy, you can take advantage of next generation approaches to document management, task and project tracking, news and information communication, knowledge sharing, and even business process automation.
Delivered either as services within Office 365 or from third-party partners like ourselves (www.spmarketplace.com). Office 365 allows you to move your organization to a true Digital Workplace where employees get access anywhere, anytime on any device. A consistent structure and common user experience to drive productivity in and across departments, all in a common platform in the cloud that requires not a lot of IT support to run it. You can see an example of it in this on-demand webinar. Best of all, you might be able to automate manual paper-intensive processes and replace legacy siloed systems, thereby reducing IT expenditures. Take the time to learn more and increase your ROI on Office 365.