Office 365 Review

Good for processing data in small volumes, but undocumented functionality leads to unexpected behavior


What is our primary use case?

I am a business consultant and have worked in business continuity for about eight years. I work for factories, banks, government, and other organizations. I use different methodologies that depend on the customer's requirements.

I have found that Office 365 is one of the best tools for business continuity, for small companies.

What is most valuable?

Many of the features in Office 365 are good, but I think Excel is a very good tool. Excel is good at processing data in small volumes. 

What needs improvement?

Using Visual Basic, I have had a lot of trouble with relative paths when programming for Excel, and sometimes it is very difficult to debug programs. For example, if the user has their focus on a different sheet, one that you do not expect, then the program begins to behave unexpectedly. This means that you cannot use relative paths, and you have to use absolute paths. Microsoft could issue warnings if you are programming in a way that might have side effects.

There is a problem with the Microsoft Office documentation in terms of undocumented features. When you are programming and there is an undocumented and unexpected behavior in the background, it can be very painful to find the bugs.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than fifteen years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability depends on what you expect from the solution. For example, I have had some bad experiences with macros in the cloud version, and I am in the process of figuring out why. Simple macros seem to work well when it comes to storing data in the cloud.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We use Excel to do business continuity for small companies, with perhaps one hundred employees. There are usually four or five people who need to use the tools.

For larger companies, with use other tools because it is easier to manage.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not dealt with technical support because there are no issues that we could not solve using the knowledge base.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is simple. Once you enter your license key it is done. An unskilled person with no IT background can install it.

What other advice do I have?

Microsoft Office is a basic tool in consulting. I have implemented macros, specialized Office tools, and applications for it using Visual Basic. I usually need to design tools for our clients, because I want to give them a really good product. It needs to be more than Excel, alone, because it has to be easy to enter data. There are also calculations that happen in the background, and we do not want the client to be harassed by things that they do not need to know.

The mission of the Office is to do small computations. It is a tool for small documents and spreadsheets, and I think it's perfect for what it's meant to be. On the other hand, there is always something that can be improved.

I would rate this solution a four out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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