Over the past decade, Office 365 has been bringing together many of Microsoft’s best productivity tools into one powerful package. Many business users, however, have failed to understand the difference between Microsoft’s old suite of Office products and its newer 365 offering. In this article, we’ll give a quick overview of Microsoft 365’s features and explain the additional benefits Office 365 can provide for your business.
What is Office 365?
Microsoft 365 is a subscription service featuring a rich collection of apps designed to help businesses stay productive and collaborate more easily. It has both business and enterprise plans and includes web versions of all Microsoft Office desktop apps, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. But of course, it also provides a whole lot more. On top of the standard Microsoft products, it includes several apps such as Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and Microsoft Lists, which are specifically geared towards collaborative work and communication; this is as well as cloud applications like OneDrive and SharePoint for online storage that enable growing businesses to shift all their business data online.
Why does Office 365 matter to businesses?
The strength of Office 365 is its cloud-connected services. It works at scale on a vast number of devices, with data kept securely on the OneDrive cloud storage service to ensure your files can be accessed anywhere regardless of the size of your business. Additionally, the software includes cloud-sharing and real-time collaboration features, which keep your team connected with files that are updated automatically across devices. Of course, the one downside of online cloud services can be the reliance on a quality internet connection to keep operations running smoothly, but with FTTP becoming more widely available this is much less of a concern than it once was.
What are the business benefits of Office 365?
Office 365 can help your business stay more organised and, in turn, lets you be more productive. It enables your employees to get access to familiar software and tools on a wider number of devices while keeping all business data such as files, emails, and contacts automatically synchronised across the whole team. Furthermore, the fact that all of Microsoft’s apps are available on a single platform means you can easily shift information from one application to another and contain your workflow inside a single microcosm rather than relying on a multitude of third-party applications.
With a fixed monthly cost, Office 365 may initially seem expensive. However, this fee can actually reduce business costs since there is no need to worry about maintaining individual licenses for each business device and all of the individual costs of each application are rolled together into a single subscription.
Microsoft’s 365 Business plans are billed per user and provide a lot of flexibility when synchronising business data across multiple machines. This is extremely helpful for growing businesses as it makes managing data at a large scale much more cost-effective.
Finally, since Microsoft 365 is a subscription service it benefits from the latest features, bug fixes and security updates, ensuring you can keep your communications and business data protected.
Extra Office 365 features useful for businesses
With more people working remotely than ever before, Microsoft Teams has become one of the more important features of the Office 365 range. It allows you to host group chats, meetings, and conference calls with your team, as well as offering seamless collaboration with meeting notes and integrated apps like Word and Excel.
Microsoft VoIP is also included with Microsoft Teams. This cloud-based phone system has advanced features such as group calls, call transfers, cloud voicemail, and call queues which, if used correctly, can completely replace the need for landline phone systems.
Other features included in Office 365 are Microsoft Lists, which offers built-in issue tracking, asset management and checklists to keep information organised and Microsoft Exchange, which lets you manage all business emails via Outlook, one of the most secure business-class mail servers on the market.
Though we have tried to list the most important features of Office 365 in this article, there are many more that make it a worthwhile investment. While it may not be as glamorous as other software options, Office 365 should still be considered essential for any growing business.
About the author: Nathan Hill-Haimes is an Investor & Co-Founder at Amvia, a serial telecoms entrepreneur and inbound marketing expert. From his home in coastal North Devon, Hill-Haimes works with a portfolio of technology, property & sports investments through his fund, Croyde Bay Ventures.