What to Consider When Choosing a Productivity Platform


General Electric gave a major endorsement to Microsoft Office 365 recently when it signed an agreement to deliver the cloud productivity suite to more than 300,000 employees in 170 countries. Office 365 is the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office that can be accessed from a wide range of desktop and mobile devices.
GE chose Office 365 based upon Microsoft’s ability to deliver a high-quality user experience at massive scale and to rapidly and reliably deploy the solution to GE’s global employee population. Office 365 provides a comprehensive and integrated set of productivity capabilities including email, instant messaging, presence and real-time document sharing. IT controls and security capabilities enable GE to provide employees with secure access to information and productivity tools while adhering to corporate policies, industry regulations and legal requirements.
Microsoft Office is the most well-known and widely adopted productivity suite, used by more than 90 percent of organizations, according to a study from Forrester Research. Office costs more than other solutions and few users utilize the majority of its features. Still, the familiarity people have with Microsoft Office, along with file and browser compatibility, has helped make it the most popular productivity suite in the workplace.
Microsoft has also made significant inroads into the cloud — according to estimates by cloud security vendor Skyhigh, 87.3 percent of enterprises are now using Office 365. However, 93.2 percent of employees are still using traditional Microsoft Office apps, with only 6.8 percent migrating to the cloud-based versions. In other words, most organizations are adopting a hybrid approach that combines on-premises apps with Office 365.
As dominant as Microsoft continues to be in the workplace, productivity suites from Google and Apple continue to grow in popularity. Google for Work is a cloud-based productivity suite that uses popular Google apps such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Sheets and Slides. Apple iWork brings together Apple productivity apps such as Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and enables collaboration through iCloud.
All of these options make choosing a productivity platform a significant decision for any organization. The first step is to assess your existing software, programs and applications. What is working well? What is lacking? What features are used most and least often? For example, modern collaboration tools enable real-time communication, including the exchange and editing of files, and could be used to speed decision-making and customer service.
If your employees are spending more time working remotely, it may be time to switch to a cloud-based solution. Again, you’ll need to evaluate your existing infrastructure to make sure it will support cloud services. You’ll also need to weigh the monthly subscription fee versus the one-time cost of a traditional license.
Productivity apps play an important role in day-to-day operations. As more traditional and cloud-based options become available, with an array of features and price points, it’s important to carefully consider business needs and IT requirements before selecting a productivity platform. Atlantic-IT.net, your outsourced IT department, can help you evaluate the options and implement the right solution for your organization.