Try Office 365


We all know how hard it is to change a habit, and few habits in the business world are more ingrained than using the desktop versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the rest of the suite. When it comes to business productivity software, Microsoft Office has been the de facto standard for decades - something most companies install and use without giving a second thought.

However, Office for desktop isn't the only option for the modern business, nor is it necessarily the best one. With Office 365, you can access the same set of familiar applications - as well as your files - over the internet, and never again be restricted to a particular device and location. And it's priced on a per-user, per-month subscription basis, so you don't need to pay for licences you might not use.

Think your business might benefit from the move, but worried it'll be disruptive? Don't be. It couldn't be simpler to give the free trial a spin and see if the cloud versions of Word and its siblings are right for you. Here's a quick guide to trialling Office 365.

Signing up for an Office 365 trial

You can sign up for an Office 365 trial here. Business users have three different plans available to test-run - if you're struggling to pick one, go for Business Premium, which includes a 50 GB mailbox and HD video conferencing as well as the familiar Microsoft Office applications and cloud storage. Don't worry too much about your choice, though - you can always buy a different plan and keep your data from the trial period.

As for the sign-up process itself, it's fairly self-explanatory - enter your contact details, create an ID and you're in.

What's in an Office 365 trial

The Office 365 trial is essentially a free 30-day subscription, so you'll get unrestricted access to all of the features included in your plan. In the case of Business Premium, this includes the desktop, mobile and the latest Office 2016 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other applications; a 50 GB mailbox; 1 TB of cloud storage per user; Skype for Business for instant messaging and HD video conferencing; and the enterprise social media tool, Yammer.

What happens when the trial ends?

It's easy to get caught out by free trials that automatically turn into billed subscriptions once they expire. This isn't the case with Office 365 - after your 30 days are up, you have the choice of either buying a subscription, extending your trial or simply losing access to your account.

What does Microsoft do with my data post-trial?

If your trial period ends and you decide not to subscribe, Microsoft won't hold onto your files and account data. However, they won't be deleted without giving you notice, either. While you lose access to Office 365's applications and features, you get a 30-day grace period to back-up anything you've stored in the cloud.

The process is similar when you've got a paid subscription with auto-renew turned off - there's a 30-day grace period, then a stretch of 90 days in which your data is only accessible to your admins and finally your account is deprovisioned and deleted from Microsoft data centres.

Purchasing Office 365 during or after the trial

You can buy an Office 365 subscription at any point in the trial period: just click on Office 365 on the start page, followed by the Purchase button. Bear in mind that if you choose a different plan from your trial one, you'll need to reassign your user licences to your new plan to retain your data, accounts and configuration.

You can pay for an Office 365 subscription either by credit card or invoice and you choose to be billed monthly, annually or upfront - whatever's best for your business.

If you'd like to go ahead and start a trial, click here.

Or if you'd like more information, just get in touch with us - we'd be happy to help.