How to make the most of Microsoft 365 

Published: 26 September 2022

Efficiency is at the heart of most businesses. It is the key to staying within budget and remaining productive. Using tools like Microsoft 365 can be a key element in gaining efficiency. That’s why it’s used by over a million companies worldwide and has a 40% share of the global market.

Over one million users worldwide is a notable customer base, however, it’s not everyone. Many may be considering upgrading expired software, or implementing Microsoft for the first time. However, before doing so there are many things to consider.  

  • How much does Microsoft 365 cost?

Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that offers all the Office desktop products such as Excel, Word, and many other renowned programmes. It comes with a licence for Windows 11 along with online storage and cloud-connected services the latest features, security updates and support are included with no extra cost. (What features you get will depend on the package you decide on. Upgrades are also included in the cost of licences and are automatic without the need to install software. The cost will really depend on what package you get

  • What kind of integration challenges will you face? 

It’s not always easy to integrate a new system, it comes with several challenges and must be carefully planned. These challenges may include a lack of skills; you need someone who knows your system back to front and knows what is needed from a new system. Lack of resources can be an issue for some businesses. You need to have IT involved, but we all know how busy the IT department is. Users need to be involved but usually have other commitments. Poor communication can be a problem. Roles should be clearly defined and communicated. Everyone involved in the plan needs to be on the same page and people should only be involved when they’re actually needed. There are of course other obstacles that you may face but with careful planning these can be avoided.  

  • Will it boost your productivity? 

The key benefit of Microsoft 365 is really the centralised collaboration: Office 365 lets you share calendars, Mailboxes, and contacts. SharePoint means that you can save documents to the Cloud, share via a link, and allow anyone to work on them. In addition, you can see who is simultaneously working on the document at the same time as you via coloured flags with initials/pictures of people also in the document appearing. Teams allows you to quickly communicate online with anyone in the business. You can send IM’s and video call colleagues and now that remote working is on the increase you can have Team meetings and Webinars online as well. You have the benefit of business continuity. All files and data are safely and securely stored in the Cloud. Meaning if you have a disaster, data can be recovered. Microsoft Exchange has a recovery feature that means individual emails or entire inboxes can be restored. 

Key Features of Microsoft 365  

  • Teams 

Microsoft Teams is an in-app programme in Microsoft 365. You can use it on your desktop, mobile or tablet. It has video and chat functions as well as the ability to store files and record video and transcripts of meetings. It allows you to share screens to present to colleagues. You can set up groups within Teams for specific projects or teams. This allows people to share their work or ask questions quickly especially when working remotely. You are also able to set meetings or reminders in the calendar.  

  • Microsoft planner 

Planner is another means by which you can collaborate with and organise your team. Within planner you can assign tasks to team members or create new plans. You can also set due dates for work to be completed and receive notifications of this. It allows you to see what your colleagues are working on and the progression of any projects. You can also sync tasks from Planner (and Outlook, Teams and more) on To Do. 

  • Microsoft forms 

Forms allows you to create questionnaires, surveys, registrations and even quizzes simply and quickly. When the form is complete a link can be shared with the appropriate people. It’s a quick and effortless way of collecting data. When all the data has been collected you can use the in-built analytics tool for reporting. This also allows you to export to excel for further analysis. 

  • Intune 

Intune is a mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) service. It allows you to control how mobile devices are used and store your data in one place. You can even configure specific polices e.g., not allowing access to social media. It can be used on both personal and business devices. MDM is normally used for company owned devices where users have full access to company resources. In personal devices MAM tends to be used to manage apps like Outlook or Teams. For more information on Intune, read here.

  • The Cloud 

For all the above to work you need to have your programme on the Cloud. Microsoft 365 allows you to store files on the Cloud allowing access from anywhere if you have an internet connection. It also has strong security features like Multi-Factor Authentication (something that is increasingly important that you can read about here).
 

Getting the most from Microsoft 

This is just a small example of the features and functionality of the Microsoft 365 suite. Depending on your plan you’ll have access to more or less features. Key to getting the most from any programme is communication and training. 

People can be resistant to change; therefore, it is important that they are aware of what is going to happen. Have a plan in advance and communicate this to your staff. Let them know when the new programme will be rolled out with both face-to-face meetings and email blasts.  

Training is key. No one would expect staff to get a new programme and immediately be proficient. Even if you’re already a Microsoft user, an updated version is going to have new features you’re not aware of. Training should take place over several stages. Each stage should focus on different features and how they integrate with each other. This gives employees time to fully embrace new features and learn how to harness the full potential of Microsoft 365. 

Summary 

The full range of features and tools available in Microsoft 365 is too vast and excelled to demonstrate fully in this blog. Using it to its full potential allows your employees to increase productivity by collaborating more effectively together. The automatic updates mean you never have to worry about your software being out of date.  

If you are looking for a ground-breaking, time saving, efficient way to manage your business, team, and IT- Microsoft is the global leader for a reason.  

Any further questions or for a more in depth understanding of Microsoft 365 and its offerings, why not contact Xperience today. As a gold level partner, we can give you visibility and guidance as to whether Microsoft 365 could support your business needs.  

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