What’s Happening with Microsoft Office?

If you are still firing up Outlook 2010 everyday, you may want to consider an upgrade. Microsoft is releasing Office 2019 in late 2018. This is the next update of the “perpetual” versions of Office.

Perpetual vs. Office 365

Those of you using Office 365 may be thinking… “I get updates all the time… What does this mean for me?” Well, you are correct. Office 365 users enjoy new feature roll outs from Microsoft all the time. However, even as an O365 user, if you are using the desktop Office apps, they have remained largely untouched functionality wise since 2016 arrived.

A lot of Office users (really almost every business in the world is an Office user in one capacity or another) are still using the on-premise or “perpetual” apps. Governmental agencies, extremely large, disjointed organizations, and other businesses can be slow cloud adopters, so it makes sense there are still a lot of on-premise users.

What’s so great about the new version?

Microsoft has been pouring most of their R&D dollars in to their cloud offerings, all of which have a heavy integration to Office. For instance, Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operation, their new cloud ERP system, boasts the ability to create a customer invoice straight from Outlook. It even has the ability to read an email and suggest items to include on that invoice. Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation provides import/export capabilities to Microsoft Project and Excel, a project manager’s dream!

At the Ignite Conference, Microsoft announced that many of the new features would surround Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, which have not seen many riveting releases in the last few version.

“Office 2019 will add new user and IT capabilities for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud. For example, new and improved inking features—like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay—will allow you to work more naturally,” Microsoft Office general manager Jared Spataro said in a press release.

“New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful. Visual animation features—like Morph and Zoom—will add polish to PowerPoint presentations. Server enhancements will include updates to IT manageability, usability, voice, and security.”

Not much has been released surround other new features, however it seems that a demo of these products will be coming in early 2018.

Is it time to go cloud?

If you are one of the “perpetual” office users, you may be wondering if it is time to look at moving to Office 365. The answer is unequivocally YES. Microsoft makes technology acquisitions at a staggering pace and includes almost all of them In Office 365.

Let’s look at a cost comparison. An Office 2016 Professional perpetual license costs approximately $374.00. An Office 365 Business Premium licenses costs about $12.50/user/month.

Over the course of three years Office 365 Business Premium will cost about $450.00 and the perpetual license will cost about $374.00. For less than a $100.00 difference you will gain the following features by using Office 365 Business Premium:

  • Exchange Online (Say goodbye to that on-prem server and its costs!)
  • OneDrive for Business (1TB of Storage space)
  • SharePoint
  • Skype for Business (Chat internally and host meetings with up to 250 attendees)
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Yammer
  • Web Versions of all Office apps
  • The ability to download desktop apps to 5 devices (You would have to buy 5 separate on-prem licenses to do this!)
  • Microsoft Bookings (Streamline scheduling meetings)
  • Microsoft Planner (Manage your internal projects easily)

The amount of functionality and the value of Office 365 is a no-brainer! The cost savings of putting your email in the cloud and eliminating an email server alone is a huge cost savings to any organization.

Today, employees work everywhere and everywhere. They need to be able to access documents quickly and easily connect with other employees. If you are still running an old version of Office or considering purchasing more perpetual Office licenses, there is a major problem in your organization… you are not seeing collaboration tools and technology as an asset but as an expense. Giving your employees the right technology and tools will empower them to become more productive and reach new heights of efficiency, ultimately adding to your bottom line.

But Google is less expensive anyways…

Alright fine, this one is true. Google’s productivity apps are typically less expensive than Microsoft, but there is a reason for that.

Tell the Accountant in your company that they no longer have access to Excel and have to use Google Sheets. Then watch their head spin around and fire shoot out of their eyes! They just won’t do it, because the functionality they need isn’t there. Also, Google provide considerably less storage space (about 30GB) on their entry level plans than Microsoft (about 1TB does). If you are encouraging you employees to sync everything up to the cloud, storage capacity is a huge deal!

Something else to consider when comparing Office 365 and GSuite is their growth. Microsoft has been acquiring technology like crazy in the last few years and the vast majority of those acquisitions have been rolled in to Office 365 as new features, at no additional cost to the customer. For Microsoft, their cloud apps are King, so they poor their R&D money here and value their customers feedback.

Microsoft invoicing, bookings, to-do, etc. all represent acquired technology that was integrated in to Office 365. Also, you may have heard that Microsoft acquired a little company last year, known as LinkedIn. Integration from LinkedIn to their productivity tools is on the horizon and promises to vastly change the way you work, especially for those in sales and recruiting roles. You don’t hear of many Google acquisitions that end up effecting gmail or docs. For Microsoft, Office 365 is the lynch pin their “Digital Transformation” plan and is of the utmost importance.

Productivity tools are not Google’s bread and butter, this is part of the reason they do not have desktop versions of their applications. Working in the cloud is great, but isn’t always the best end user experience, especially for things like Excel and PowerPoint.

Google’s bread and butter will always be their search engines. In order to power these and sell to advertisers they mine data. Google announced in 2017 that they would no longer scan emails for advertisers, but you have to imagine they are still getting this information from somewhere. For Microsoft, security has always been top if mind. You can actually go the Microsoft Trust Center and read about security, privacy, and compliance in all of their cloud apps. You can even see how they specifically relate to and effect your industry. Microsoft also has a separate cloud for Government organizations that need different levels of security and compliance than corporate customers.

Microsoft 2019 Release

Microsoft 2019 is set to release in the last half of 2018. Look out for more updates in the new year as there are sure to be more feature roll outs and demos! If you are not already following the Microsoft Office Blog be sure to do so!

If you are already a loyal Office 365 users, check out a few of our other blog that go over little known Office 365 features, such as Sway, Delve, and Planner!

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