Microsoft Office 365 was recently rebranded to just Microsoft 365 to reflect its broader scope than what was originally envisaged by the world’s favorite desktop productivity suite. Although the core applications remain largely the same, this broader software ecosystem encompasses a range of cloud computing tools, such as internal team websites on SharePoint and OneDrive online storage.
How to use Microsoft Office 365 effectively
Although Microsoft 365 prides itself on being a familiar industry standard with minimal learning curve, there is a great deal of advanced functionality under the hood. The number of features, apps, and functions alone can be overwhelming at times. As such, many businesses are still not using Microsoft 365 to its full potential and getting the best possible return on investment.
Here are our top Office 365 tips and tricks to give you an idea of the software’s potential:
#1. Improve business efficiency and productivity
At its heart, Microsoft 365 is a desktop productivity suite, just as it always has been. That said, it has come a long way in recent years to better accommodate the demands of remote work and agile scalability. Moreover, all the products that make up the suite are highly integrated to better automate the flow of information and standardize a raft of routine business operations.
For example, being a subscription service, Microsoft 365 is proactively maintained, so there is a greatly reduced burden on management. Employees can also access their documents in a web browser, so it doesn’t matter which device they’re using – even if the operating system doesn’t support the desktop versions of the applications.
#2. Build custom line-of-business apps on the go
Microsoft 365 is also a highly extensible platform allowing you to build custom business apps. These include web apps, service agents and bots, workflow automation solutions, and more. It is possible to build apps for any platform, including mobile devices, desktop, and web. You can use any programming language and run them off any infrastructure too.
You can also connect other business applications, including ones developed by vendors other than Microsoft, or even proprietary apps developed exclusively for your business. The solution for making this possible is Microsoft Graph, and there are software development kits available for multiple platforms.
#3. Collaborate and communicate remotely in real time
With the era of remote work now well and truly entrenched in corporate culture, it has never been more important to have a scalable and readily accessible computing infrastructure. This includes the ability to co-author documents from any device or location and hold meetings with remote workers via communication and collaboration platforms.
All Microsoft 365 apps are fully cloud-enabled. For example, you can access and co-author all documents online via the web-based apps and cloud storage. You can also hold meeting over Microsoft Teams, create internal websites with SharePoint, and manage your emails efficiently with Outlook.
#4. Transform data into rich insights, visuals, and graphs
More than ever, business success depends on turning huge amounts of data into actionable and irrefutable insights. However, that’s a lot easier said than done given the size of today’s data sets. Fortunately, Microsoft 365 also includes analytics solutions to help you get more from the data you collect every day during routine operations.
Microsoft’s answer to business intelligence is Power BI, a solution that lends clarity to Big Data by turning it into easily understandable visuals like graphs and pie charts. With Power BI, you can plug in virtually any data source – not only those that are part of the Microsoft 365 product suite – and enable comprehensive reporting and self-service data analytics.
What can a managed services provider do to help?
Partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) who is knowledgeable in the space gives you the opportunity to get more out of the software than you probably ever thought possible. After all, few smaller organizations have the in-house expertise needed to develop custom apps or integrate existing ones with Microsoft 365. Furthermore, ensuring your solutions fully meet the demands of information security and compliance is vital, hence the need to share the responsibility with a dependable third party. To that end, working with the right MSP can greatly reduce risk while helping you maximize your return on investment.
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