When most people hear Office 365, they think: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
It’s so much more than that...
Office 365 is Microsoft’s subscription-based suite of software and technology solutions; with the key elements for a business being:
- Microsoft Office 365 Applications
- Microsoft Exchange Online
- Microsoft Sharepoint Online
- Microsoft OneDrive for Business
- Microsoft Skype for Business
- Microsoft Office 365 Applications
At Office 365’s core are the standard desktop applications that your business, and every other business are familiar with and probably reliant on (typically Outlook, Word and Excel). Traditionally these applications would be purchased as a physical CD/DVD and downloaded to your computer, leaving you stuck with whatever version of the Office suite you purchased (e.g. Office 2007, Office 2010, etc).
Nowadays you can purchase and download the latest Office 365 suite for your business online, and your license subscription entitles you to the latest version of Office 365 via free upgrades. This eliminates the frustration of not being able to open old-school documents which may hold important information.
As of 2019, the core applications are also available on PC and Mac, plus Android and Apple devices.
Microsoft Exchange Online
Put simply, this is a business email platform that is hosted in “the cloud” - meaning there is no overheads associated with an on-premises server, including storage, management, security, backing-up and keeping the server connected.
When the “cloud” concept first came out 10 years ago, businesses were understandably sceptical – but most IT professionals have now realised the benefits to time, cost and risk associated with a system where storage, antispam, email security, and backups are all taken care of.
But what makes Microsoft Exchange Online the most popular business email platform in the world is its simplicity, being easy to use and easy to manage.
Microsoft Sharepoint Online
Sharepoint is an epic online platform with almost endless possibilities... but for the sake of an overview, we’ll stick to the most basic and valuable use of Sharepoint for most businesses.
Sharepoint Online allows you to create private and secure online platforms, or websites, to assist with sharing information within your business. Like Exchange Online, these websites are hosted in the cloud, so server space and maintenance are not required.
Members of a business can then access, share and edit the files stored in Sharepoint at anytime from anywhere, eliminating the confusion and security risks associated with going back and forth attaching document versions in emails.
As such, SharePoint works best in a business where a central communication platform is required for many users to access and share critical documents - where document management is ensured by storing, tracking and tracing user updates.
This can include acting as a repository for company procedures and policies, a project management platform, a client portal and much, much more.
Microsoft OneDrive for Business
Microsoft OneDrive is a personal storage area that integrates with all your other Office applications and Windows products and syncs your files to a OneDrive account in the cloud.
Because the files are stored in the cloud, it offers the ability to access and save files no matter where you are or what device you are using – which can be very valuable in a modern business.
OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer to Dropbox, where every user gets 1Tb of space as standard.
Microsoft Skype for Business
Formerly known as ‘Microsoft Lync’, Skype for Business is a handy instant messaging tool for colleagues and clients to communicate.
This has been around for a few years now and is popularly used in business to receive instant replies to questions without the formalities and potential time restraints associated with sending an email.
Businesses with strong Skye for Business habits find that their staff reduce the number of internal email communications and increase communications and efficiencies between decentralised teams.
Your Office 365 Subscription has more to offer
With this overview in mind, hopefully next time someone mentions Office 365 you think about more than just Outlook, Word and Excel. If you do have any further questions or enquiries about how your business can get the most out of Office 365 software and applications, contact NetCare.