Millions of companies rely on the suite’s tools to communicate, and create documents. But there’s a lot more to Office than many users think, particularly since the release of Microsoft 365.
If you’re rated migrating to the cloud or just want to know a little more about the inner workings of this digital toolset, read on; we start with the most basic questions about Microsoft 365.
What is Microsoft 365?
Launched in 2001, Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription model for Microsoft Office Productivity Suite. Microsoft 365 contains the same basic applications as traditional versions of Office, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and depending on the purchased plan, it can also include other apps and services such as Publisher, Planner, OneDrive, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype, Yammer, and Microsoft.
A number of different packages are available for Microsoft 365 licensing, including versions for personal use, multi-user homes, students, businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions.
There are also versions of Microsoft 365 online and mobile-only, known as Office Online, through which users can access limited feature versions of Office apps for free.
How is Microsoft 365 different from previous versions of Office?
Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based service, which means that instead of purchasing a license at a single upfront cost, users pay a monthly subscription fee to access the service at a level of their choice.
With the Microsoft 365 subscription-based model, users always have access to the latest version, as the platform is updated by Microsoft, while perpetual local users would need to purchase a new copy of the latest edition in order to use new features.
Microsoft 365 is also built as a cloud application; Although desktop versions of your applications are available with certain plans, it is designed to be used online. All applications, services, and data generated by Microsoft 365 are hosted on Microsoft servers.
Users do not need to install software or maintain any hardware on which to run it. Microsoft 365 also includes email hosting and cloud storage space, so users can host their files online and access them wherever and whenever they need it, from any device that connects to the Internet.
Being cloud-based, Microsoft 365 also comes with a number of features that are not available in previous and perpetual versions.
Who uses Microsoft 365 for business and why?
For businesses, Microsoft 365 offers much more than word processing and spreadsheet editing. Microsoft 365 has become a comprehensive set of smart tools that enable organizations to be more productive and efficient. And with many custom plan options available, businesses of all sizes and circumstances can access these tools instantly.
With Microsoft 365, all apps and services are connected to each other, making teamwork easier, saving employees time, and allowing them to work better together through tools like team chat, online meetings, co-authoring, and file sharing.
The inclusion of cloud storage and mobile apps in the Microsoft 365 suite also allows organizations to work anywhere, anytime, with secure access to content, conversations, tasks, and schedules from any device.
With data security, a hot topic for organizations across industries, they choose Microsoft 365 because of its layered security measures, proactive data monitoring, privacy protection, and 99.9% S&D agreement.
How can you help companies grow?
Excellent productivity tools help everyone in an organization become more productive, and communicating more effectively Microsoft 365 makes performing essential tasks such as finding information, sharing knowledge, communicating with colleagues, processing data, and planning and organizing faster and easier, reducing time spent on administrative tasks, and leaving businesses more time to create , innovate and move the business forward.
Applications that were recently added to Microsoft 365 provide business users with even more essential tools to help them grow, including:
Microsoft Connections, a basic email marketing tool and customer engagement platform
Microsoft Listings, a tool to help organizations manage their business information on platforms such as Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp Microsoft Invoicing, an application to generate and send professional invoices to customers and accept payments on the go
Outlook Customer Manager, a simple and intelligent customer management add-in for businesses that don’t yet need a complete CRM system.
Microsoft Reservations, which allows users to manage customer appointments and schedules.
MileIQ, a mileage registration platform that automatically classifies and sends business travel
Business Center, a central access point for all Microsoft 365 business applications, through which users can track metrics, such as pending invoices, email subscriptions, and reservations.
Using a cloud-hosted productivity package can also have a positive effect on business results. Not only do subscription-based services tend to be more cost-effective and more flexible if business circumstances change, Microsoft 365 doesn’t require any hardware investment. The entire infrastructure is managed at the end of Microsoft, reducing the need for IT expertise to manage the suite and potentially reducing spending on internal IT services.
What applications and services does Microsoft 365 for business include?
Exactly what’s included in Microsoft 365 for Business depends on the subscription level the user chooses, but the core apps and services available through Office 365 include:
Skype for Business
OneDrive for Business
What is Microsoft SharePoint?
SharePoint is a web-based collaboration platform that integrates with Microsoft 365. Launched in 2001, SharePoint is primarily sold as a document storage and management system, but the product is highly configurable and usage varies substantially across organizations.
Many Microsoft 365 plans include SharePoint Online; A cloud-based service, hosted by Microsoft, for businesses of all sizes. Instead of installing and deploying SharePoint Server on-premises, any company can subscribe to a Microsoft 365 plan or the standalone SharePoint Online service. Your employees can create sites to share documents and information with colleagues, partners, and customers.
SharePoint enables users to:
Create, edit, manage, and share documents and information with colleagues through specific business, department, or team subsites
Keep teams up-to-date using document libraries, task lists, and calendars
Share company news, events and business updates on selected sites
Protect data and content with document-level permissions
Download and access documents offline using SharePoint Workspace
Communicate with your colleagues in real time from the SharePoint Online interface
All Microsoft 365 plans, except Microsoft 365 Business or Office 365 ProPlus, include SharePoint Online.
What is OneDrive?
OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud-based file storage service. All types of files, including documents, images, music and videos, can be stored on OneDrive, and these files can be accessed, managed and shared securely from almost any device, as long as you have internet access. OneDrive is where all files are stored for Microsoft 365 users and allows files to sync to desktops, browsers, and mobile devices.
All enterprise users in Microsoft 365 and enterprise-level receive 1 TB of OneDrive storage, with subscribers to Enterprise E3 and E5 plans receiving unlimited cloud storage.
More than 85% of Fortune 500 companies use OneDrive for Business, and if a company is not subscribed to Microsoft 365, you can subscribe to OneDrive for Business as a standalone service. OneDrive for Business can be deployed: in a public cloud, most of the time as part of a Microsoft 365 plan; as a hybrid service in conjunction with SharePoint 2016; or on-premises, as part of SharePoint 2013 or 2016 deployments.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Primarily a chat-based collaboration product, the main function of Teams is to facilitate teamwork and promote productivity, with three key areas of functionality; extensive integration with Microsoft 365.
Teams brings together the chat capabilities of Skype for Business, along with collaboration tools such as document sharing, useful AI-based features such as chatbots, and online project management tools, providing a work center for modern teams.
What is Yammer?
Yammer is a social network for businesses that aims to help employees connect and communicate. Provides a space for interdepartmental messaging and information sharing; Yammer is essentially the “outer circle”, to deliver news, announcements and commitments throughout the organization. Think of Yammer as a digital message board of the company. It differs from Teams in that Teams is designed for fast, intimate and united collaboration between project teams, and introduces a number of project management and document exchange tools.
What plans are available for Microsoft 365 for Business?
There are currently two licensing models for business users who want to deploy Microsoft 365. Businesses with fewer than 300 users can opt for one of three Microsoft 365 for Business plans, and for larger enterprises, there are four Office 365 for Business plans, all of which support unlimited users. License types can be mixed to meet business needs.