As a cornerstone of American commerce, responsible for the most job creation in our country, small businesses are the drivers behind some of the most important technology solutions that appear from Big Tech. Small businesses identified as technology early adopters are more likely to achieve their business goals and are also four times more likely to remain confident in their future business success.
73% of small businesses call themselves a “Microsoft shop”, saying their software stack is built on Microsoft applications, such as Windows (Operating System), Office (Word, Excel, Outlook & PowerPoint) and Directory Services (file / network / users & security organization). In 2017 Microsoft introduced Teams, a collaboration tool offering workspace chat, videoconferencing, file storage, a calling plan and third-party application integration.
The timing was good for Microsoft since the pandemic accelerated the desire and need for cloud-based applications with work-from-anywhere capabilities. The growth is proving significant for Microsoft. In 2020 Microsoft Office 365 saw a 21% rise in usage to 258 million users. Microsoft Teams users grew from 20 million in 2019 to 270 million in 2022.
Standalone vs. Subscription
Today, many small businesses that identify as a Microsoft shop are already adopting the Microsoft 365 (“MS365”) Suite, while the others are still on standalone Microsoft applications. A standalone application, such as Office 2021, is sold as a one-time purchase, which means a business pays for a single, up-front license to get Office applications for one computer. However, there are no upgrade options, this means when it’s time to upgrade to the next major release, the business must buy licenses at the full price. If this seems unfair, it is because Microsoft is moving closer and closer to an exclusive subscription model. As this model matures, Microsoft will force everyone to their subscription platform; it’s just a matter of time.
MS365, formerly Office 365, is a line of cloud-based subscription services that includes Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint), file management tools (OneDrive, SharePoint), productivity tools (email and calendar) and collaboration tools (Teams, Forms, Listings).
MS365 always stays up to date with automatic updates. There are different plans for business, home and personal use. There are even specialized plans for schools and non-profits. Depending on the plan a business subscribes to, there are a broad host of tools that are aimed directly at small businesses to help make them more productive, efficient and collaborative.
Roark Tech Services began its service to small business in 1998 and have remained exclusive to them ever since. We are well positioned to help any small business implement the right technology that keeps them safe, resilient and competitive.
If you don’t have an IT Partner that you can trust to give you the right support and advice, we’d love to help. Contact us!