In years past, businesses purchased software, installed it on computers, and then at some point they had to upgrade it. That’s how everything worked, and Microsoft Office suite was no exception.

Financially, you had to invest hundreds of dollars up-front, then a few years went by and you had to invest hundreds of dollars again.

With Office 365, all of that changed. Now, it’s all cloud based and has a monthly or yearly investment.

What Office 365 is

At a very high level, Office 365 is a cloud-based suite of programs and services. It includes software and services you can access online, as well as software you can download and install on your computer, depending on the plan you select.

The financial difference

Financially, you end up investing about the same amount, assuming you look at it over a three year period. People would typically refresh their Office installations every three years, upgrading to the latest and greatest. So your monthly fee over three years ends up being a wash with what you would have paid in years past.

But it’s certainly much more cash flow friendly!

The software difference

From a software standpoint, the Microsoft Office suite has always been an umbrella for a group of software packages. But it used to be very static. We would install the software on your computer and there would be no cloud resources behind the scenes. And usually you were looking at about six applications.

Now with Office 365, you have access to an entire array of software and services. When you look at everything that’s included, you end up with about 100 applications and services that are included as one bundled suite.

Even the most basic, entry-level solutions Microsoft offers includes a big chunk of the Office 365 suite. So you get a lot more for your money than you did back in the days of static applications installed on your computer.