There are major changes taking place in the business world, as companies strive to control costs and increase productivity with new technologies, while also making the most of an increasingly mobile workforce.
Microsoft Office 365 is a very rare tool that helps businesses accomplish all three of these goals. The latest iteration of the popular Microsoft Office productivity suite, Office 365 has been re-designed from the ground up to help businesses take advantage of the latest developments in cloud computing, adopt more collaborative work arrangements, and streamline their IT budgets.
With over 155 million users globally, including 91% of the Fortune 100, Office 365 is now the world’s most popular productivity suite. Despite its widespread popularity, we find that many businesses still don’t understand the many ways it can help them work faster and more effectively.
Microsoft Office 365 Positions Businesses for Optimal Cloud Productivity
Microsoft Office 365 has been built comprehensively to help make the power of the cloud more accessible. What is the cloud? It’s a way of storing applications and data in remote data centers — in this case, Microsoft’s own professionally-maintained data centers — where they’re easily accessible from computers, laptops, and mobile devices.
Whether you’re a small company or a large one with hundreds of employees, Microsoft Office 365 provides a range of concrete advantages over on-premise versions, like Office 2019. This includes easy integration with other cloud services, low maintenance requirements, ease of installation, and more.
Flexibility and Scalability
Office 365 is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, which means that you purchase the software on a subscription basis based on the number of employees in your organization. Eliminating the up-front cost associated with traditional software licenses helps you control capital expenditures, while also helping to ensure that you don’t pay for unnecessary software.
Faster and More Robust Collaboration
Microsoft built Office 365 to facilitate collaboration. Microsoft Teams is an application within Office 365, which includes tools for business messaging, VoIP calling, video meetings, and instant file sharing. But that’s just the start. The ability for several people to work on a Word or Excel document together (called co-authoring) has also received a major boost in Office 365, with a series of new functions for real-time cooperation and version tracking.
Powerful New Versions of Familiar Office Applications
At the core of Microsoft Office 365 are improved versions of already familiar software applications, like Microsoft Word, Excel, Power, and PowerPoint. These new applications provide a familiar interface, allowing employees to start using them right away without additional training. They also include a variety of new features – here are some of the more interesting and impactful new features in each application.
Microsoft Word 365 includes a range of new features for making document editing processes smoother, such as allowing the editing of PDF files by automatically converting them to .docx format, better integration of language translation services, and a powerful text-to-speech engine for finding typos and grammar errors in documents. In addition, there are also features designed for mobile users, like Microsoft Ink, which allows you to use your finger or a pen to intuitively edit a document like you would correct a school paper while on the go.
Excel comes with a range of new tools, many of which are designed to improve business analytics processes. The most important is an improved selection of data visualization options, located in the “Insights” menu. Other notable new features include the addition of funnel charts, which are specialized for demonstrating changes in sales and marketing processes, 2D maps, and the ability to publish from Excel directly into PowerBI, Microsoft’s business intelligence tool.
For many years, Google G-Suite users have bragged about their ability to add new functionality to Gmail using add-ins. Now, Outlook has similar functionality, allowing applications like Trello, DocuSign, and Translator to interwork directly with Outlook 365. Other powerful new features include direct integration with LinkedIn, allowing your staff to gather information about people outside your organization with ease, and a new artificial intelligence (AI) assistant that will help you schedule meetings and quickly find a time that’s free for all parties.
Microsoft has maintained a very aggressive update schedule for each of the Office 365 applications, rolling out new features every month. The ability to enjoy those features immediately, without having to download and update the Office software on each PC and device individually is another huge benefit to Office 365.
Better Tools for Ensuring Robust Security or Compliance
Until recently, businesses were skeptical of cloud computing because of the security risks inherent in sharing critical business data on the Internet. Today, those concerns have largely disappeared. Microsoft has made great progress toward security and eased the compliance burden of its users. Here are some examples.
After several years of disappointing phishing results, Microsoft made a hefty $1 billion investment to increase email security. The results have paid off. According to an analysis of over 400 billion phishing emails, the email filters in Microsoft Office 365 have caught over 5 billion phishing emails, putting them ahead of other leading providers.
Microsoft has gone to great lengths to ensure that its data centers are compliant with ISO 27001, EU Model clauses, HIPAA BAA, and FISMA. Prioritizing compliance has won Office 365 praise from professional groups like the American Bar Association, and respect from financial services firms, who are now a leading adopter of Office 365.
Want to Learn More about Office 365? Talk to Our Experts!
We’re a certified Microsoft partner and have helped hundreds of businesses in NYC get the most out of Office 365 and the entire family of Microsoft Products. If you’d like to speak with our experts about migrating your business to Office 365 or have some questions, we can help you with, we’re always available!
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