Jul 19 2016
Office 365 – An overview

Office 365 – An overview

Has your organization recently embraced Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud platform? Or, perhaps, you are considering it in the near future? If you are hanging in the balance, you might be missing key information on the value it can bring to your business. When you think of Office 365, does cloud storage come to mind? How about instant messaging, social networking, collaboration, voice and video calling, or online meetings and webinars?  Does powerful business intelligence come to mind?  If not, it should.

While Office 365 is a cloud-based service that includes the traditional Microsoft Office applications we all know and use on a daily basis such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access, it is a lot more: it includes a set of services that enables communications (including email, voice and video), collaboration, data access, device management, enterprise reporting and storage across all of your devices.  Among the many features, there are three that you should be really excited about and that your organization can benefit from if you are already using 365.

Skype for Business

Skype for Business is the perfect solution for connecting with people. Skype for Business is far and away the most productivity-enhancing tool available for Office 365 subscribers.  Employees can connect with other Skype for Business users, either within your organization, or with external partners, collaborators and customers that also use Skype for Business.

Example: You are in SalesForce and you notice that you are missing some personal info on a client, information that is crucial to your current opportunity. Lisa, who was originally on this account, looks to be online and available to chat, so you send her an instant message via Skype directly out of SalesForce. She responds immediately and with minimal disruption to what she was doing. You then Skype voice call Betty in Accounts Receivables to get details on the bill they were last issued. Now, you are ready to have a mini meeting with your client. As your client can only spare 30 minutes, you Skype video call them using the screen share option to have them follow your presentation through slides that you are controlling. Towards the end of your meeting, your client asks you to present your last slide to their business partner, so you conference in the partner and fill them in accordingly.

SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online is bundled with many of the Office 365 plans available from Microsoft and facilitates secure information and document sharing online between colleagues, partners and customers. SharePoint Online provides many of the same features and benefits as an on-premise installation of SharePoint Server without all the additional costs and complexity often associated with the installation.

Example: It is your responsibility to organize and assign tasks pertaining to your customers, but also to keep your folks connected. You can use SharePoint to create team or project sites where you organize, share and access information with those specific parts of your team. This information is then accessed from almost any device by those individuals on your team. You can also restrict access and tweak permissions for better control of versioning to only those who require it on any given file no matter its type.

OneDrive for Business

OneDrive is essentially access into files associated with a 365 account from anywhere and using any outlet: PC, laptop, tablet, phone. OneDrive for Business provides each user with 1 TB of personal cloud storage that can be accessed from almost anywhere and synchronizes with all of your devices in real time.  Furthermore, you can share files with others both inside and outside your organization, and control whether they can edit those files.

Example: You are on vacation in Canmore when Accounting calls to let you know that they are missing one of your receipts for that business trip you had last month in Fort McMurray. It is not crucial that you send it right away, however, as you store all of your paperwork online in your OneDrive – the receipt is one click away.

The list of features doesn’t stop there, and Microsoft is adding new ones all the time.  Power BI, Yammer, Delve, RMS, Trust Center, Mobile Enterprise Management, and so many others are available via your Office 365 subscription.

If you’re interested in learning how your organization can leverage the full potential of Office 365, or if you are considering moving to Office 365 in the near future and want to learn more about the value and benefit of embracing the cloud, let us know. Click here to get in touch with us!

For further research, consider looking at a few Office 365 plans: Business Essentials, Business Premium, E1, E3, E5.

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