There was a time - not so long ago - when in order to gain access to a new IT solution or software package, you had to buy a physical copy in-store and then install it manually on your PC. But in the cloud age, this way of provisioning IT is becoming increasingly obsolete. Almost everything can be done online these days, which is great from an end-user perspective. You can research and test the latest product releases online, and then, in a few simple steps, download them over the internet.
Getting started with online solutions
Essentially, all you need to take advantage of cloud-based solutions is a strong, reliable internet connection, enough bandwidth to support the applications you require, and fully-functioning hardware. If you're still running an old operating system such as Windows XP, now might be the time to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 to ensure compatibility. Ideally, you need business grade connectivity to ensure consistency of service, and access to a full range of hosted services. Most UK locations now have access to a good standard of broadband, and a business package is the obvious starting point for the majority of companies.
Accessing the tools you need
In a challenging economic climate, many business leaders are focusing on maximising employee productivity. Essentially, the more productive work your paid staff can get through in the working week, the greater your organisation's output. IT vendors have long recognised the need to support businesses in achieving productivity gains, and there is significant demand for solutions which help meet this objective. Microsoft Office is arguably the most popular software suite - offering word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and collaboration tools, plus much more. And through the advent of cloud computing, this package is now available online. As such, users can access the likes of Word, Excel, Lync and PowerPoint using almost any connected device, in almost any location.
Productivity in the cloud
The cloud-based version of Microsoft Office - Office 365 - allows users to access it across five PCs and five mobile devices. As such, business leaders and employees have the flexibility to work in the office, at home, on the road or in other remote locations, seamlessly swapping between devices. They are able to access all files, documents, applications and data from a central location, and work online in a secure, familiar environment.
How to access Office 365
As a cloud-based productivity suite, Microsoft Office 365 can be purchase online in just a few short steps. Businesses can compare and contrasts the various packages - including Exchange Online, Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Small Business Premium - to see which is most suited to their organisation. Clicking 'Buy Now' diverts you to the registration page, which requires your personal details and company name. Users who do not already have a Microsoft ID can create one at this stage. Once you have completed this process, simply proceed to payment to complete your product subscription. Your company can be up and running with Office 365 in a matter of minutes, and you won't even have to leave your PC let alone visit the computer store.
Click here to further investigate Microsoft's Office 365 productivity suites.
Posted by Alex Boardman