Do users need Microsoft 365 applications installed on their computers? (Part 5 of 11)

Do users need Microsoft 365 applications installed on their computers? (Part 5 of 11)

Welcome to our Microsoft 365 Migration Series! In this post, we’ll analyze what version of Microsoft Office will be best for you: desktop or web-based. As you continue on your Microsoft 365 migration, we’re here to help answer some of the most important questions to consider as you make this step toward business success!

Do users need Microsoft 365 applications installed on their computers? If your end users work on a Windows or Macintosh computer, we recommend downloading and installing the traditional desktop versions of the Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) to meet their productivity needs. Occasionally using the web versions of the Office products is necessary, but for day-to-day productivity, having Microsoft Office on the local computer helps with speed and flexibility.

There are many features which are not available in the web versions of the Microsoft products, which makes the desktop edition the first choice for most. However, if cost is a concern or your team doesn’t need the full versions of the Office suite to be productive, the web-based versions can often meet your needs. Additionally, if your end users are running Android or Apple phones/tablets and need office productivity on the go, there are app versions of the entire Microsoft Office suite available. To access files from mobile devices, files need to be stored on OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, or in Microsoft Teams. There is no way to access files on a local network or a local PC from a mobile device.

The web version of Microsoft 365 can enhance productivity for those who work from home or don’t have access to a company computer. Using a personal computer, they can log into their work Microsoft 365 account and use the online version of the Office applications. If they are in a hybrid work environment, they can use the web version at home to start a project and then download it and complete the final edits in the desktop version when they are back in the office. The web version can also promote collaboration among teams as it allows for multi-author mode in a single document.

The other area where you could leverage the web-based versions of these applications is factory-floor workers or walk-up terminals in production facilities. Having the web-based versions of these applications reduces the complexity of the equipment required to be installed on the factory floor and also reduces the maintenance costs of supporting that more complex equipment. Any of the Office 365 or Microsoft 365 kiosk plans address these types of end users. Their lower cost and smaller storage limits usually meet the needs for this classification of worker within your business environment.

Still have questions about Office 365 or Microsoft 365 versions? Contact our Microsoft experts and we’ll answer your questions. In the next part of this series, what size storage you may need for your Microsoft 365 mail solution.


Last Updated: 3-18-2022


This week’s post is by Tim Malzahn, Principal Consultant at Malzahn Strategic