Most organisations have made the move from the traditional Microsoft Office product – that must be purchased, downloaded, managed and upgraded – to a Microsoft 365 software subscription (the name changed from Office 365 in April 2020). Microsoft 365 is always updated, available on any device, and perfect for a mobile workforce. As soon as a new version is released, it can be accessed as part of the service without paying an additional fee.
Microsoft 365 has 258 million active users
There are many reasons the world's most successful organisations choose Microsoft Office 365:
SharePoint is a powerful collection of tools. Straight out of the box, SharePoint provides a perfectly acceptable experience but if you configure it and create a decent user interface, it can deliver serious productivity across your organisation.
You can use SharePoint to create applications with:
- Forms that capture data.
- Document Management to tag, share and control documents.
- Workflows to enable automation, e.g. approving a leave request form.
- Dashboards and reports to present data visually.
- Email integration and notifications.
- Active Directory (AD) integration to assign permissions.
- Websites: intranets, extranets or public-facing websites (public websites on Azure-hosted SharePoint or on-premises SharePoint).
SharePoint offers many unique features plus thousands of third-party add-ons - a far cry from the glorified file server it often becomes. For solutions that require a mix of functionality, SharePoint is perfect.
Teams is Microsoft’s Swiss army knife and is a revolutionary way of working. You can set up a Team and give them access to content, tools, people and conversations all in your Team workspace, PLUS:
- Link to useful content with a tabbed interface.
- Integrate feeds from different applications.
- Get built-in access to SharePoint, OneNote and Planner.
- Work on documents, hold group chats or calls.
Microsoft are strongly backing Teams and have even introduced a free version to get you started.
Put down those Post-it notes! Planner allows you to create a task, allocate it to a person and add a due date, then track progress visually. It serves as a hub where team members can organise tasks and allow other members to view and access them.
As well as using the online version, you can use the Planner app on your phone or add it as a tab within Teams for channel-specific tasks. Users can choose to present only their own tasks, comment and add updates and receive reminders for due dates. Finish a task and tick it off – so satisfying.
Create groups of people with whom to share certain information. For example a project team might want a central location for files and resources relevant to their project. They can share documents, a calendar, an email inbox, a OneNote notebook, a Yammer group and a Planner task board all in one location. New members automatically get the permissions they need without bothering IT.
Use Flow if you need to create a sequence of actions based on certain criteria. Flow allows you to set up all kinds of actions and can integrate with numerous applications. Want to know when a Twitter contact reaches 100+ followers, and then automatically add them to your Dynamics 365 email list? Flow offers limitless opportunities to automate tasks. It’s easy to use; and most people will be able to create Flows to suit their needs – not just the tech experts.
PowerApps enables you to manage data by running apps – either ones that you’ve created yourself, or that someone else created and shared with you. Those apps can run on Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Alternatively, you can run them in a browser within Dynamics 365. You can create a variety of apps without knowing a single line of code.
Forms is a lightweight app that allows you to create surveys, quizzes and polls. You might use it to collect feedback, measure employee satisfaction or a host of other uses.