Office 365: Outlook is bright (but other Apps are brighter)
Office 365 is more than just Outlook in the Cloud. Office 365 is the first step in leading your company’s Digital Transformation. But if you are like most companies, you move to Office 365 and stick your toe in the water (or Cloud as it were) by starting only with Outlook. Unfortunately, many companies start and stop with Outlook. Why do they stop? That’s a good question. Many companies just don’t know or understand all the capabilities of Office 365 while others haven’t found a clear path or guidance to implementing what Office 365 has to offer them.
Primary applications included in Office 365:
Office 365 (O365) includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, OneDrive, SharePoint, Groups, Teams, Skype for Business, Planner, Flow, Sway, Forms, Stream, Power BI, Yammer and more.
Below is a short description of some of the most common apps utilized in Office 365. It’s not a complete list of all apps in O365, but it will get you started:
Office 365 apps explained:
Traditional Office Suite
(no description needed)
Even if you are using Outlook in Office 365, you may not be taking full advantage of it. Your Inbox, calendar, contacts and tasks will be the same across all your computer and mobile devices with Exchange. You only need to handle things once, no matter where you are. No more deleting emails on your work PC and still having them on your mobile or home PC. Exchange also lets you share your email, calendar and contacts with other members of your team. New functionalities like Conversations, Filter and Focused are just a few of the options that can change the way you manage email.
OneNote is a digital notebook that enables you to share, create, read, or edit notes from any browser or any device even when you are offline. OneNote can be organized into sections and pages but don’t worry if you forget where you put that note because it is all searchable.
OneDrive is your personal storage in the cloud. It can and will replace your personal drive on your company network. It is seamlessly integrated with Office and using the sync feature allows you to work offline. OneDrive is your space and using the share feature will allow you to have complete control over who you share and collaborate with both inside and outside your company.
While OneDrive is your personal storage, SharePoint is the company’s internal storage platform. It’s a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. SharePoint can also be used as a traditional file share but offers many more features like permissions, version control, and co-authoring which are not available in the traditional storage. SharePoint can also provide a place to automate business processes plus be customized as your company’s Intranet.
Groups allows you to collaborate with certain team members for specific projects. While it does serve as a group email distribution list, it is much, much more. Groups functionality enables options such as group conversations, file sharing (including versioning), a dedicated shared calendar, team notebook (OneNote), SharePoint Site, and Planner.
Microsoft Teams can be either strictly internal or setup to allow external users to allow the “Team” to communicate using “chat based” features that rival a similar application called Slack. Channels help to organize the “Team’s” conversations, files, and other collaboration. You can join multiple Teams across your company and enjoy chatting, co-authoring and collaborating on files, and even schedule and join meetings with or without Video features.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business allows an Office 365 user the ability to chat individually or as a group within your company. The users can also schedule and meet with other users internally and externally, while using video features. Skype’s features are also integrated with Microsoft Teams. Skype for Business allows an Office 365 user the ability to video conference with other users, in and outside of Office 365. You can use it for webinars, team meetings and conferences. It will soon be integrated into the Teams apps as well.
Planner is a quick, light project management type of tool. It helps teams organize their work, with the ability to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, set due dates and update the status. It can replace or integrate with Trello. Planner’s visual dashboards and email notifications help keep managers informed on the overall progress your team is making, or not making, with their assigned work.
Microsoft created Flow as a user-based productivity tool. Users and developers alike can automate daily tasks or combine multiple Office 365 apps into a seamless user experience.
Sway is a digital canvas or presentation app that allows you to create and share interactive reports, presentations, newsletters, and more – both inside and outside of your organization. It enables you to easily embed pictures and even videos and post on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Forms allows users to create quizzes, surveys, questionnaires, registrations and more. You can invite others to complete forms via a link and Forms are embeddable in your website. You can view results in real-time and data can be easily exported to Excel. Teachers can create quizzes, including defining the right answers so students get real-time feedback.
Stream hosts video content and operates as if it is your own internal YouTube. Like Teams, it enables you to create groups (people) and channels (topics).
Power BI is a business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights. It is the easiest way to graph and visualize data. It enables you to monitor your business and get answers quickly with rich dashboards available on every device.
Yammer is a private social network that serves as a collaboration tool that helps you connect and engage across your company. You can start conversations, share knowledge, and build communities.
Implementing Office 365
Obviously, the list of Office 365 apps is somewhat overwhelming. And, few, if any, companies attempt to implement them all at once. Companies must first strategically determine which apps fit the company’s business model (generally on a department by department basis for larger companies) and then institute a structured program to train the end users on the apps. To develop a path or plan for designing and implementing O365, Centriq has a comprehensive program to help you and your team understand exactly what it takes to start your Digital Transformation.
- Centriq offers workshops to guide your business unit managers in deciding which apps best fit their departments. (A great starting place is understanding the relationships between SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive. Here is a chart that helps you understand);
- Centriq can train your IT team to install and manage Office 365. (See all M365 training classes at Centriq);
- Centriq provides initial end-user training on all O365 apps taking that burden off your IT team (See all O365 Apps classes at Centriq); and
- Centriq offers a video subscription to provide “just in time” follow up support for end users as they explore new functionalities on the new apps – which also frees up your IT department.
If your company already has Office 365 (but is not maximizing it) or is on the road to implementing it, Centriq can help. Just fill out the form below.