Organisations usually move to Office 365 for two main reasons; to standardise their Microsoft Office licensing and to access a cloud-based email system. Some businesses manage their data using OneDrive and SharePoint. But if you’re using Office 365 like you used the desktop Office applications, you’re missing out on the true power of Office 365.
Update: The Microsoft Office applications listed in this article are now included in Microsoft 365 – a platform designed to help you achieve more with innovative Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security.
Office 365 is much more than accessing Office applications via the cloud. Understanding the newer components within the Office 365 suite, and how they enhance the traditional applications, can substantially improve how your team works together.
For organisations looking to get more value, collaboration and compliance, below are 5 recommendations you should consider implementing.
File servers have typically been where most data was stored. Documents were saved in folders and it was difficult for staff and external partners to collaborate on projects or files. Microsoft Teams provides a collaborative workspace to create, save and provide feedback on documents in real-time. Documents can be worked on by multiple staff simultaneously, preventing numerous versions being created and saving confusion over which version is the latest. Online meetings can also be held and using Teams, with the sessions recorded for future viewing.
Microsoft Planner is a great tool for tracking and planning tasks and activities among your team. Planner provides a digital workspace which allows teams to create a plan, including ‘buckets’ of activities. Activities can be scheduled and tracked to different team members, allowing your business to keep track of project tasks or plans you are working on.
Yammer is included in most Office 365 plans. It is similar to a social platform and provides a digital bulletin board for an organisation. With Yammer you can create different channels, add team members and communicate with each other across departments, locations or with third parties also using the Yammer system.
Within each channel, staff can post comments, news, upload documents, files and react posts. Yammer helps employees keep up to date with company news and can also be useful for new staff to see what is happening throughout the organisation.
Some basic security features are enabled by default ‘out of the box’ when Office 365 is first deployed. To ensure the correct policies and settings are best practice, all organisations should review their security settings with their IT team.
Combining Office 365 with Azure Active Directory Premium plans provides extra security features, such as multi-factor authentication, conditional access including by geo-location and self-service password reset.
Firms who subscribe to the Enterprise level plans can access advanced security and compliance features which can protect the organisation against data theft and loss. Features such as legal hold, data loss prevention, and digital rights management all need to be configured to meet the needs of the organisation.
OneDrive typically stores a user’s personal documents in the cloud. OneDrive can also be configured to store a user’s desktop, their favorites, downloads and more. This allows staff to download their files when they need a new computer. In Windows 10, OneDrive can also provide ‘on-demand’ file access, which makes it easier to access pre-selected documents when offline.
Moving old network files shares to OneDrive, Teams or SharePoint libraries can free the organisation from having a file server and old VPN technology.
Save your staff time by automating common tasks with Microsoft Flow. Flow includes a growing library of task templates, which make adding automation processes easy. For example, a company would like to save all of the attachments sent to their sales inbox. Flow provides a template to automatically save attachments from incoming emails to a OneDrive or SharePoint library.
Whether you’ve already moved to Office 365 or are considering if the time is right, an Office 365 implementation should not be considered a one-off project. Regular enhancement updates require on-going reviews to make the most of your subscription.