Office 365 is unanimously - through perhaps unofficially - recognised as the de-facto office software for businesses worldwide. The breadth of its software, not to mention its cross-compatibility, make it an easy sell for the busy, tech - dependent workplace.
The beauty of O365 is that it's tailored for collaborative solutions; not only between its disparate applications, which all communicate with one another seamlessly, but also for its users, offering them multiple ways to cooperate on workplace projects.
Here, we've compiled a few if the software and solutions that'll help you use O365 as a collaborative powerhouse, giving you and your colleagues that extra productive push.
Software as a Service
Operating under the Software as a Service model, Microsoft's Office 365 is now available in the form of downloadable software of in-browser. Any active user, from anywhere with an internet connection, can now access their Office 365 environment and continue to work as if from their typical desktop computer.
The ability to access work and save it to the cloud is integral to the Office365 strategy, which is to allow access from anywhere, and to have multiple users working on projects over its range of software offerings.
Unlike most other applications in this list, SharePoint can't be summarised as a programme; it's a platform comprised of multiple technologies, and as such might be the hardest of the Office365 solutions to warp your head around. It's not installed on your systems, for a start - it's instead designed for servers, and works silently on the back end.
What does it do, exactly? Again, that's not an easy answer. SharePoint does multiple things and is almost as much a full software suite as Office 365 itself. It can create websites without the use of programming skills or software. It can catalogue shared, edited and uploaded documents from across all Office 365 software, and be used as a way to store those documents. There are also options to collate that data into insights, such as graphs or service diagrams, or customise SharePoint's functions so you can extend its capabilities - again, without the need for coding knowledge.
You might use just one of SharePoint's functions, you might use many - but the staggering breadth of the software means you might never use them all.
Let's begin with our most obvious application, Microsoft Teams. Teams works as a hub for you, your immediate workmates and those in distant departments or locations. Set to replace Skype for Business as the team comms app as choice, it allows for conversations, meetings, video conferences, host webinars, and the exchange of important files. It also offers connectivity to other external apps, such as Mailchimp, Adobe Creative Cloud and GitHub, making it a near-vital component of your collaborative O365 environment.
We've a number of Webinars on Microsoft Teams over on our webinars page - they're the perfect place to get started with the basics of Microsoft Teams.
For those spur-of-the-moment meetings, where ideas fly around at a mile a minute, it helps to have something besides a pen and paper to furiously scribble those ideas onto.
OneNote is the more elegant approach to note-taking and scrapbook-making. It's a shared, virtual jotter where media can be shared, posted, cut and pasted. It's a much less regimented system than teams, owing to its more freeform nature, but it allows users to control and restrict who can access what - before it all gets too messy.
Functionality between OneNote and other Microsoft applications is handled elegantly. One user, for example, can drop a real-time version of an Excel spreadsheet into any of their created pages, and as users on the network edit the original document, those changes are reflected in real-time on the OneNote. It also supports a host of other file formats too - including images, audio and video files.
One of the simplest additions to the list, Microsoft Forms is a utility for creating quizzes, questionnaires or surveys. The results from these can be used to collate statistics or provide information amongst teams and staff, in a manner that's clear and concise. In terms of function and accessibility, it's one of O365's most user-friendly offerings; whether making a form or answering to one, there's barely any technical skill required.
That's not to say Forms is lacking in flexibility, however. Results can be instantly translated into Excel spreadsheets, making Forms an excellent tool for presentation purposes, while there are options for more elaborate, branching styles of survey too. A remarkably basic app the, but an efficient and accessible one too.
Outlook's task list is one way of sharing tasks within a team, but it's a little rudimentary and not quite fit for people tackling larger projects - especially those in marketing or design roles.
Microsoft's approach to a Kanban-style workflow scheduler, Planner does exactly as the name implies. By developing business goals, creating tasks and assigning users to each of them, planner tracks every step of a project form the time it's assigned to the time it's completed.
Project leaders can create tasks over a single shared interface, and assign tasks to any team members in the group; an ergonomic drag and drop interface makes administering these tasks simple. Team members can be notified via Outlook the moment they're added to a project group, as well as when new tasks are assigned, so everyone is kept informed of any changes or progress on a task. Similarly, those undertaking a task can link files they've created, update the status of a task in progress, and begin conversations with other group members on the task in question.
This covers just a few of Office 365's collaborative options (and in some cases, its lesser-used ones), but demonstrates how this software creates a seamless cooperative environment for all employees in an organisation.
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For all things Office, including implementing, training and ongoing support, get in touch with Mirus. We'll provide a full Office 365 solution to keep your company collaborative and cooperative.