Stephen Riddick, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at CSP, recently hosted a webinar focused on everything you need to know about Microsoft Office 365. Several of CSP’s existing clients joined him as well as some prospective new clients. If you missed the talk, here’s a recap of what happened.


Who Is Stephen Riddick and What Is CSP?

CSP is a IT support and solutions provider. The company has been serving clients for over 21 years, working on everything, from implementing wireless networks, to setting up servers, to troubleshooting phone networks and everything in between. Stephen acts as the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. He has a background in the liberal arts but went on to earn a Master’s of Business Administration and ultimately got involved with IT. This allows him to bring a multi-faceted approach to every problem.

What Is Microsoft Office 365?

As the predominant player in the business-level software industry, Microsoft eventually had to embrace the cloud, and Microsoft Office 365 is the company’s foray in that direction.

Based on numbers from Microsoft Corporation’s earnings report from the second quarter of 2016, this new endeavor has been successful, and over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies use the program. It has over 70 million commercial and 22 million consumer subscribers, and the company boasts over 100 million units sold as well as a 63-percent year-over-year revenue growth in MS Office 365 business unit.

Stephen Riddick admits that while some of the success can be attributed to the fact that Microsoft markets well, “there is also a lot of meat behind it.”

What’s the Kool-Aid?

To describe why businesses are so excited about this product, Riddick started by looking at what modern businesses need, and he honed in on the following items:

  • Zero downtime
  • No more spending on obsolete technology
  • Solutions that evolve
  • Anywhere and anytime access to files
  • Business tools to serve customers and stay competitive
  • Modern solutions that increase collaboration and get work done quickly
  • Secure data
  • Ability to support a team working from multiple locations
  • Tools to stay connected with clients around the country

He continued to explain that Microsoft Office 365 is Microsoft’s attempt to meet these demands. The product is a subscription-based service, which sets it apart from Microsoft’s earlier suites of office software. Instead of receiving software to download, buyers get a subscription that can be fully installed on five devices, accessed from smartphones and tablets, or used online.

To meet the changing needs of customers, 365 is constantly updated. Customers always have access to the latest and the greatest, and they don’t have to wait every three years for new software to be developed, which is the cycle currently with Office.

What Are the Plans?

Microsoft offers a few different plans, and Riddick focuses on the business level plans. Designed for companies with under 300 users, the business plans have three distinct categories, and all of them include 24/7 phone support for critical issues as well as 1TB of cloud-based storage through OneDrive.

The standard business plan includes downloads of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote and Publisher, along with apps to use with iPads, Windows RTs and smartphones. The business essentials plan does not include downloads but instead focuses on online services including Exchange email, Lync online meetings, SharePoint team sites and Yammer enterprise social. Finally, business premium combines both of those plans.

Should Businesses Use Microsoft Office 365?

Riddick explains, “Microsoft 365 a great way for you to dip your toe into Microsoft 365 and also, a great way for you to dip your toe into the cloud.”

If you are one of the 90 percent of businesses that uses an exchange server to house your emails, using Microsoft Office 365 improves your business continuity and helps you avoid disasters. Riddick also touts the programs automatic upgrades, large capacity and scalability as benefits for businesses.

Is It Worth It?

A standard license for Microsoft Office costs $375, while a subscription to Office 365 costs $8.25 per month. That is equivalent to $99 per year, meaning companies break even about every 3 and a half years. However, in addition to looking at those numbers, organizations should also consider hardware or software costs — for example, if you are currently using Outlook 2007, it isn’t compatible with Microsoft Office 365, and upgrading is an additional cost factor to consider. It’s also important to weigh factors like reduced downtime that can be hard to measure quantitatively.

Which Organizations Should Use Microsoft Office 365?

The companies who can benefit from Microsoft Office 365 vary, but not every company is ready for it. If you are always online and have a staff that is ready to embrace a cloud-based format, similar to Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365 may be ideal for you, but if you have internet connectivity issues or don’t want to use a novel interface, you may want to explore other options.

Ready to learn more about leveraging Microsoft Office 365 to improve your operations? Then, contact us at (919) 424-2000 or send us an email at for more information. CSP, Inc. is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, tricks, and news.

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