Office Software

Cloud or Offline

There are pros and cons to each.

Perhaps the biggest draw to offline software is that there is no recurring subscription, and the user can update it at their leisure rather than being bound by the push-out of updates.

Obversely, the subscription model can allow for immediate licence changes, such as hiring additional staff, or providing temporary employees/interns with a rolling monthly licence so that the licences can be adjusted upwards or downwards with minimal cost and hassle.

More and more businesses are migrating to the cloud for various reasons such as collaborative working, and the easy licensing arrangements, though there is still the issue of security.

This Telegraph article talks about the benefits for small businesses.

I will mainly address cloud-based packages below.

What is on offer?

There are two main contenders for cloud-based office suites. These are Microsoft and Google with Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite (formerly known as Google Apps).

It should be noted that there is also a similar offering from Apple, which is iWork for iCloud but this does not have the same user base in the business world, though certainly in the design and graphical world there is a much stronger take-up. There is an interesting article about Apple’s office suite here; See this article.


All of these cloud based models follow a subscription model, which means that the purchaser never owns the product, they are effectively leasing it.

In the case of a very small business such as a sole trader, it may be worth using the stand alone Home and Small Business, or Professional editions which start from about £130 as a one-off payment for the software.

There is also a free open-source office suite called Open Office available See the Open Office website here. This can save it’s docuemnts as PDF as well as in Microsof’s DOCX format.

Open Office has 20+ years of development behind it and the backing of the Apache Software Foundation (N.B. About 1/3 of the entire internet is running on Apache software![1]) so Open Office would be entirely feasible for a business without the spare capital to invest in expensive software licencing.

How do I get started on the Cloud?

Start Using G-Suite (Personal or Business) (from £3.30 per month)

Start Using Office 365 (Personal or Business) (from £3.80 per month)

Or Stay with offline for now?

Get Windows 10 Professional (from £45)
Get Microsoft Office Home & Student (from £75)
Get Microsoft Office Home & Business (from £235)