Using Microsoft Office 365 for Business
More and more organisations are recognising that the key to efficiency and success is providing staff with the tools that can maximise the benefits of a growing flexible workforce. Whether using a traditional office-based staff, remote working or hybrid, Microsoft Office 365 can provide an agile solution for businesses.
Office 365 from Microsoft is a productivity suite with tools like Word, Outlook / Exchange, Excel, SharePoint, Teams, Whiteboard and more. Being completely cloud-based means the full suite of Office 365 tools can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, while they’re online. What’s more, the tools in Office 365 complement each other and work together seamlessly, providing an integrated and real-time platform for teams.
Key Benefits of Using Microsoft Office 365 for Business
While Outlook has been the long-adopted email platform for businesses, The Office 365 suite has additional tools which work together to cover all methods and styles of communication.
Teams is Microsoft’s collaboration hub. Teams works like a virtual office, complete with instant messaging, team conversations, file storage, call and meeting capabilities, and integration with many third-party apps.
While Yammer, is Microsoft’s answer to internal social media, an excellent way to connect with people in your company you might not interact with much. You can post to your company ‘news feed’ to instantly message the entire workforce, and staff receive an email notification when there is a new post so messages aren’t missed. Anyone can comment on a post, and you can create different ‘channels’ in Yammer for different purposes, so you can create specific message streams for different projects.
Updates & Upgrades Automatically
There is no need to buy a new version of any of the software as the apps are all updated centrally and automatically so you can be sure you are always working on the latest version. The hosting of the apps such as Outlook, Word & Excel etc. in the cloud eradicates the need for constant updates and installations.
Business Continuity – Access, Storage & Security
Through Office 365 all your files and apps are stored in the cloud, so they can be accessed on any device from any location via an internet connection. Ideal for remote and mobile working but also reduces the need for on-device large storage drives. With all data protected by Microsoft’s robust security features such as two-step authentication, unauthorised people would not be able to access your files even through your own devices. Security threats are detected and stopped immediately, and anti-malware practices ensure peace of mind when dealing with confidential information.
The use of cloud storage also gives you the advantage of business continuity should there be an unforeseen incident in the office. In the case of a disaster, your organisation can operate as usual with all files safely stored and backed-up in the cloud. So should your physical devices be lost, stolen or destroyed through accidents, your files, email, and data will remain safe. There are also recovery features built into Exchange, so should the need arise individual emails or even entire inboxes can be restored.
As mentioned previously the automatic and scheduled updates means there is no need for costly upgrades, and the subscription model allows you to accurately budget your IT spend for the year ahead. Microsoft Office 365 is paid for on a per-user, per month basis. The cost of your licences depends on the level of functionality you choose for your business. Different enterprise levels include different applications and products, which dictate the cost of each licence.
Teamwork & Collaboration With Microsoft Office 365
While all the benefits outlined above provide efficiencies to day-to-day business the most powerful benefit lies in Microsoft Office 365’s ability to facilitate collaboration and creativity essential to building teams and moving projects forward. Office 365 lets you share mailboxes, contacts, calendars, and edit documents in real-time through collaborative tools.
Sharing calendars through Exchange means you can see at a glance who in your organisation is available and when, so you save time when scheduling meetings convenient for everyone without having to canvas lots of potential dates beforehand.
Shared mailboxes mean multiple people can access the same mailbox, so messages can be filtered to land in the shared mailbox and won’t be missed. A broad range of labelling and flagging options will ensure that messages are dealt with efficiency and avoids duplication.
There are several ways that files can be shared and accessed by multiple staff enhancing collaboration. Documents can be stored in SharePoint and accessed and worked on by any member of staff and shared as a link through email. This makes co-authoring easier and you can see who is in the document and where they are working at any time. Microsoft Teams is another exceptionally powerful collaboration tool. The use of channels means that files, messages, and even transcripts or recordings of meetings can be stored in separate project files. This can mean the organisation and follow-up of virtual meetings is very efficient with all attendees having access to agenda’s, supporting documents and post-meeting feedback all in a central location.
Microsoft Office 365 is undoubtedly one of the most integrated sets of tools for business efficiency, and we have touched on just a small number of its benefits and functionality. The subscription method offers flexibility making it easier for companies to buy a plan that is suitable for their size and number of users, which can be adapted as their business grows.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of Microsoft Office 365 for your business please do get in touch.