MERIT Solutions Blog

You Probably Aren’t Getting the Most Out of Office 365

You Probably Aren’t Getting the Most Out of Office 365

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who works on a computer who hasn’t used at least one of the applications in Microsoft Office. Office has been a staple for professionals, students, and home users for decades. Over the last few years, Microsoft has reinvented how businesses can collaboratively use Office to improve productivity, security, and adhere to compliances.

What is Office 365?

Microsoft Office has been a line of Microsoft applications that have been around for almost 30 years. The most common are Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but Office has always been bundled with plenty of other applications with various tiers and license options for home users, students/educators, businesses, and enterprises. Every few years, your version of Office would become out of date, and you would need to purchase new licenses of the newer version. A single license could cost hundreds of dollars, so upgrading licenses for your whole staff could feel like a very big hit.

Office 365, which was first made available in 2011, has a subscription-based offering, and updates are applied when new versions are available. You no longer have the perpetual license, but you also don’t have to worry about Office becoming outdated, incompatible, or insecure software. On top of that, Office 365 adds massively valuable online services which we feel are underutilized by many Hampton Roads businesses.

OneDrive for Business

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud-storage and collaboration platform. Every user gets 1 TB of online storage. Files and folders can sync between OneDrive and the user’s desktop, so files can be accessed offline as well, but having access to documents from anywhere on any device is a huge advantage, especially in today’s mobile ecosystem.

One feature that is especially nice is Files on Demand which allows the user to see their files and documents from within Windows in the same way they’d view files on their desktop or on network folders. This makes it much easier for users who sometimes struggle to acclimate to new systems.

OneDrive also empowers your users to share documents and larger files with just a few clicks. Want to share a presentation? Right-click the file and select Share, and you can send a document to a contact or create a link to allow others to view/edit the file.

OneDrive can also be accessed from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Speaking of mobile access…

Online and Mobile Versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

If you have staff that sometimes need to work from home, coffee shops, airport lounges, hotels, client sites, or conferences, they can access files AND the applications that open them from virtually any device. Office 365 includes mobile applications, which are available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The apps are free to download, and users simply log in with their Office 365 account to use them and get access to their files.

If you aren’t comfortable with editing documents on your smartphones, you can also log in to OneDrive in any web browser and edit Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations.

Skype and Microsoft Teams

Skype has long been the de facto standard in online meetings. It allows you to hold HD video conferences with team members, partners, and customers. Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s modern instant messaging tool, allowing organizations to set up groups for collaboration and communication.

SharePoint Online

SharePoint has long been Microsoft’s enterprise-driven collaboration tool. It hosts a huge suite of tools and features to allow file sharing, communication, and team management. Where OneDrive is more of a user-centric system, SharePoint is controlled from the top down, and administrators can restrict what gets shared.

Exchange Online

Microsoft’s Exchange has long been a leader in business-class email. Years ago, Exchange required having a server running onsite at your office to manage and dish out email. This has always been a big expense for businesses, both with the upfront cost of the server, the management and maintenance, the licenses for Exchange, and having to upgrade and replace hardware every few years.

With Exchange Online, all of that is bundled under the Office 365 license. Users can access email from Outlook on the desktop, their web browser, or the Outlook app on smartphones. Shared mailboxes and other advanced features can be deployed, and Microsoft includes basic malware and spam filtering.

Want to Learn More?

These are just a few of the key features found in Office 365. If your business is still using older solutions to manage email and documents, it is definitely worth looking into Office 365 to save money and add collaborative features for your staff.

Want to get started, and discuss migrating over to Office 365? Give us a call at (757) 420-5150.

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Saturday, December 07 2019

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