I remember reading somewhere that a successful gym must have like fifty times the number of members than they could actually accommodate. This is because so many members who sign up and pay every month, either never go to the gym at all, or barely use it. Their entire business model is predicated on the minimal use of their facility by paying members. Imagine what would happen if everybody showed up one day. Microsoft’s cloud services, Office 365 in particular, contributes a lot to Microsoft’s bottom line in a similar manner.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not think for a moment that Microsoft has some plan to sell you stuff and make huge profits from your lack of using it. But that is exactly what is happening. But this is not happening with Google. Why is that, and how can you “get one over” on Microsoft? Well, I’m gonna tell ya… eventually. But not until after I make you read a bunch of stuff in between.
Let’s imagine for a minute that Google’s G-Mail and Google Docs was a car; one of those sporty red Fiat 500’s. You sit behind the wheel and it is dead simple to understand how to drive it, and you drive the hell out of it. Taking it to its limits, you have no doubt that you got your value out of this little car. Google offers a very simple to use bit of software at a very low monthly cost. But wait, here comes Microsoft over the hill, is that… yes it’s also a Fiat 500, a blue one. Microsoft offers simple to use software at a very low cost also. Looking these two Fiats over initially, you are hard pressed to see much of a difference… wait a minute, what’s that little button under the dash on the blue one? Bravely you press it, and cachunck, clang, zfft, the Fiat transforms into a Mustang GT 500. You go back and look at the red Fiat and there is no such button to be found. Smiling broadly you settle into the Mustang seat, confident that you made the right decision. But wait, is that another button you see under the dash? This is in my mind the difference between Google and Microsoft in the cloud space. One reason that Google’s tools are so easy to use, is that they simply don’t do very much. Microsoft Office 365 can be dumbed down to be as simple as Google at a similar cost, but Office 365 has layers that Google can only dream of. But wait Steve you say, how am I getting one over on Microsoft?
All too often I see Office 365 deployments, where customers are using a fraction of the capability provided. Just like you may justify that gym membership because you go by once a week and walk on the treadmill for an hour. So why aren’t more customers using this added functionality? I think a primary reason is that they feel they are getting enough value as it is. I mean the value is probably realized by using Exchange Email alone. So there is a lack of necessity to get more out of a product that is already providing enough value for its cost. Where Microsoft is making out is all these services they offer and have to support that you are not using, and may possibly not even be aware of. So how can you beat Microsoft out of some free profits? USE IT ALL!
Ride that Office 365 account like you stole it.
Office 365 is like an elevator; you get on in the lobby and go up to the first floor and say “Wow, this is awesome”. Maybe you missed those buttons for the other floors. You poke your head back in and see a button to a second floor. “What the hell” you take a ride up. The door opens and across the hall you see four more elevators: Lync, SharePoint, Exchange and Office. You peek in the SharePoint elevator and notice that it has 57 floors! Your additional Microsoft cost to ride all the way to the top? Zilch, Nothing, Nada. So what is keeping you from taking the ride? Several things. The most common reason is that you did not look into the elevator and see that all the floors even existed. If you deployed Office 365 internally on your own, you probably did not even know where to look. If you worked with a consultant who does not specialize in Office 365, they may not have known where to look either, or worse, not wanted you to find it. I mean, the value is already there, they threw some files up on SharePoint, everybody is happy, why rock the boat? I’ll tell you why, because even though you may be satisfied with the value received, you are entitled to at least understand all that is available to you. You were perfectly happy driving around in that blue Fiat, until you discovered that blue button. What if I had sold you that blue Fiat, but put a piece of tape over the button. I mean, you’re happy right, isn’t that enough? Don’t worry, if I sold it to you, I would be grabbing you finger and pushing those buttons.
SharePoint online has over 625 features and capabilities out-of-the-box, most SMB users feel satisfied with using 5. Many of those are under the impression that 5 is all there are. Here is my suggestion, call in your IT Manager or Consultant and ask them to give you a high-level overview of everything SharePoint can do for your business. If it is clear that they have no idea, or believe themselves that you are “using everything”, reach out to us, or another Microsoft Partner who specializes in Office 365 and ask them. And while you’re at it, ask them about those other three elevators too.