What is our primary use case?
From an Office 365 perspective, I would say that Teams and SharePoint and Planner are the most used. What Office 365 offers as a package is what is being at this moment used in the organization for us to work. At this moment, we are not so physically in the office. The majority of us are working remotely and across countries, across regions. The way for us to collaborate together and work together was by using more and more of Office 365 components.
What is most valuable?
Previously, you had the inconvenience that if you sent an Excel file to someone, you could not work together on the same file, and now you can. With the components that we have available, several people can be working on the same document, at the same time, doing the changes, doing the updates that they need to do. It makes the collaboration and the work more efficient.
We can touch base with our clients and we can touch base internally with our solutions without impacting the work or suffering from a lower speed. The performance and the efficiency of our planning and roadmap are extremely good.
The solution can scale up or down easily to meet the needs of any organization.
The solution is stable.
The initial setup is pretty straightforward.
Technical support is quite helpful and responsive.
What needs improvement?
It would help, if, in the beginning, there was an onboarding process to show how to set it up properly or how to set up the things properly, or how to have the support they need or the guidance on how they should deploy it. In some cases, there are things that are not so crystal clear. The platform is evolving all the time. It's not that you have, let's say, a quarterly release or a yearly release. Every month there's always something new. That's the reason why it's sometimes difficult to follow up as, in different components, in different areas, the features are evolving also.
They need to give more guidance or some video training or try to understand more what the organization is trying to build or accomplish and assist them on their journey. That sometimes is difficult. The companies, for example, sometimes don't know where they want to go. Only after a few years do they have some certainty. IF a big package is being offered to a company, they should be able to sit the decision-makers down and say "Okay, this is what we have. This is what the tools can do, what the tools can offer you." It would give them really important insights. If they have those insights, then they can make a more, let's say, clear decision.
They should show more examples or POCs. They should be able to say "Okay. I can show you, for example, how this solution was beneficial for our Coca-Cola client." I know Microsoft has several clients with various solutions. It's just a question for them to show the portfolio of each solution, and how the solution was going to develop, and how the solution was deployed to those organizations. Then, potential clients can say "Oh, great. I can reuse this solution for my organization." They don't need to think about how they would use the features from scratch when they can have already something that was, let's say, POC developed.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using the solution for years at least at this point. It's been a while.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution is very stable. Even when multiple people are working on the same document, you don't get any sow downs. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The solution is very scalable and the company is evolving to meet the demands. Microsoft is constantly providing packages and creating packages the allow for more efficient collaboration. They have options for small, medium, and large companies. It suits businesses of all sizes and makes everyone's life much easier.
We do plan to continue to use the solution.
How are customer service and technical support?
We've dealt with technical support in the past, and they've always been very good. They are knowledgeable and responsive. We're satisfied with the level of support they provide.
How was the initial setup?
It's my understanding that the initial setup is straightforward. It's an IT process. Since it's a cloud solution, every machine has it. You just need an organization email account which allows you to create an account. All the products are automatically assigned to you. The product is based on a subscription model which allows companies to level up or level down depending on the profile of the user. You can offer the user a certain package, or you can offer him an enterprise-level option with basically everything. That way he can have more components and more functionalities that allow him to do his work.
We had found members of the technical team that handled deployment.
Deployments depend on the company. You may need some security, some administrative individuals, or some IT or ServiceNow team members to keep up with the requests or changes or updates that are required to be done in the tool. Depending on the package that we're talking about or depending on the options that you have, not all the users have admin privileges. Random users therefore may need to make a request from an admin user, and that has to go through a ServiceNow process. Everything depends on how the organization wants to set up that structure.
You need someone with an Office 365 background or an administration background, to be able to install what is required or to know what is required. You need someone from a security perspective to make sure that there is no breaches. You might need someone for the network also.
You may need some SharePoint administrator if it's, let's say, topics related to SharePoint. You may need a Teams administrator if it's related to Teams. You may need someone with, let's say, Power Automate or Power Flow expertise and knowledge to also answer those inquiries. It's a deck of people that may be required. If they are going to, let's say, govern the full Office 365 package, you may need the different people with different expertise or different knowledge across the different components and of each product.
What about the implementation team?
Our IT team handles the implementation and deployment. When they give the laptop to us to work, they already have installed all the components there. Of course, there are certain components that you can install separately. For example, Power BI. You need to install it separately. However, the Power platform, Power Flow, Power Automate, Microsoft Teams, are already incorporated into the Office 365 account. Since it's a cloud solution, it is installed by default based on the user profile that the user has.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I use this solution in a larger organization. They have an enterprise-level package.
The cost depends on the package. If you're working on an E3 license, it depends also on the contract that you have with Microsoft. There is the standard package if you don't have your own business and you are an independent user so that you pay the cost of markets. However, if you are a large enterprise, usually there's an agreement between vendor management and Microsoft to say, "Okay, we have this amount of people. We want this cost more or less to be applied." The cost usually is less than what is in the higher in the market. It differs from contract to contract.
At this moment, we have a great contract with them. The cost that we're paying for it is affordable. The only thing is, some companies may need some additional support, and for Microsoft to follow up with the evolution on the platforms that they have. Sometimes the companies lack some knowledge or some experience.
What other advice do I have?
At this moment, due to the COVID situation, the majority of the things that are being used in the organization are related to Office 365 products. There was a big expansion of Microsoft Teams, for example, and it's one of the most used components inside the organization. We use it not only for meetings but for other tasks such as importing Power BI reports inside of Microsoft Teams.
We have the solution deployed both on-premises and on the cloud. Right now it's more cloud-driven. In the past, there were some things that were on-premise components. At the moment, due to COVID, almost everything is cloud-based. That allows the collaboration to be more efficient. That means you can have several people working on the same document or the same space at the same time.
We're using the latest version of the solution.
I would recommend this solution to other companies.
I would rate it nine out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?