~~Microsoft recently rebranded and re-launched its online version of Microsoft Office, Office Online. Since 2010, the online version of Office was called Microsoft Office Web Apps, but this name created quite a lot of confusion for users who wondered whether this was a downloadable program or an app from an app store. Actually, it is neither one of those things. Instead, Office Online, as Office Web Apps is now called uses cloud computing and cloud storage to power the online version of its Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The online versions of these programs do have fewer features and options when compared with the complete Microsoft Office software package that you install onto your computer. But these lighter versions offered by Office Online offer some capabilities and perks not available through the full Microsoft Office program.
While many businesses may find it the most worthwhile to stick with the full and complete version of Microsoft Office for their workers’ computer stations, many small and medium-sized businesses, like the ones served by TRA Consulting, Inc. in Long Beach, might benefit from offering Office Online to their employees instead of the full Office version. One reason is that workers can access their documents from any computer anywhere, making documents easier to complete and access, especially when a deadline is looming. Another reason businesses might find this computing solution attractive for their offices is the cost. Microsoft has been touting a subscription-based method of payment in the last couple of years, citing that this mode is much cheaper than buying the full, downloadable versions of Microsoft Office. By paying for the online subscription, businesses can reduce software costs and save workers time and productivity by making documents and spread sheets available online and accessible twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Another attractive feature of the newly updated Office Online is real-time co-editing. Microsoft added this feature last November. This would allow workers to collaborate on documents from any computer in any location. In addition to real time co-editing, they also added other enhancements, including the ability to switch more easily between different apps such as from Word to Excel and back, and they also added a library of ready-to-use templates. These apps are linked to SharePoint which is Microsoft’s collaboration platform where there is a central hub for accessing, storing and sharing documents created in Office Online.
Microsoft has been trying to up its game in the cloud computing arena to compete with Google’s suite of online products for individuals as well as its subscription service for business users. Part of the reason for the rebranding was to alleviate confusion and to make Office Online easier to find and access.
 Whether you want to buy the traditional desktop-installed version of Microsoft Office, subscribe to Office Online, or use another program entirely, let TRA Consulting, Inc. help you find a cost-effective and convenient word processing and document-creation software or cloud-supported solution for your small or medium-sized business.