Should We Be Using Office 365?

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We believe that any size or type of business in Central Illinois can benefit from using Microsoft Office 365. The best reason we can tell you is for its cloud capabilities. Being able to work from anywhere without lost productivity is HUGE for the on-the-go executive. And it’s great if you want to increase your remote workforce.

What Is Office 365?

Microsoft Office 365 is a comprehensive, complete business solution that includes everything your business needs for email, instant messaging, online meetings, file sharing and the latest office products.

It’s a cloud-based online suite that provides access to a wealth of services and software including online versions of Microsoft Office such as Word, PowerPoint, Skype/Teams, and Excel. But it also provides much more.

Why Else Should We Use Office 365?

You can seamlessly transition from working on your computer to your tablet and your smartphone. You’ll no longer need to standardize your office products to the latest versions or require an onsite email exchange.

And one of the best benefits of all is the ability to collaborate with your team from anywhere in real time…. This will give a HUGE boost to your productivity!

Is Microsoft Office 365 Easy To Use?

Microsoft makes it easy to manage all of your Office 365 solutions from just one place. Your staff will save time with a single login for all of Microsoft Office 365’s services. It’s also simple to learn and straightforward to use.

Your staff won’t have to learn new software or language. And Microsoft’s online portal provides step-by-step instructions on how to add users and training so your team can quickly start using Office 365.

How Will Our Staff Benefit From Using Office 365?

In addition to having the ability to work on the same documents in real time, they’ll have online and offline access with automatic syncing, so everyone stays on the same page.

Applications like Planner, Flow, Groups, Delve and Sway all have great potential to help them save time, frustration and increase their efficiency.

  • Microsoft Planner lets your staff create different stages in a project and insert tasks. They can easily assign tasks for team members, attach documents, communicate and track the progress of their projects.
  • Microsoft Flow is another productivity booster. It provides a way for your staff to connect Office 365 applications to other Office 365 apps so they can transfer information or create an action based on a trigger. Flow comes with templates to help. For example, they can choose a template to copy emails to OneNote. They can also use Flow to connect Office 365 applications to popular social media sites, Google apps, Basecamp, Buffer, Asana and many other productivity solutions.
  • Microsoft Groups lets them use collaboration portals they can set with just a few clicks. Simply go to “People” and create a “Group.” They can even create Group portals for teams both inside and outside of your company – and then set permissions for their Group to share a OneNote notebook, a shared calendar, a shared Planner, access a SharePoint site, and much more.
  • Microsoft Connectors extends Groups’ functionality. It’s like Flow but just for your staff’s Groups. Once they set up a Group, they can click Connectors and add content from other project management tools, social media sites, and more. Whenever any of their Connectors are updated, the Group will be notified. They can even build their own Connectors with the Connectors Developer Dashboard. This is a HUGE timesaver!

Is Microsoft Office 365 Secure?

With Office 365, your data will be protected. It can actually help to boost your overall security posture. With its online document storage option, you can be assured that your confidential data will be stored securely.

Because Microsoft Office 365 is cloud-based, you’ll get automatic updates that keep your applications and devices current with the latest security features, even on your employees’ personal devices.

Your email will also be secure. When you move your email server to the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 environment, you’ll be securely migrating your mailboxes and archives to a protected environment. Plus, for most plans, you’ll have unlimited email storage.

Office 365 comes with built-in privacy settings so you can set the sensitivity of emails to “private.” Even those people with access to your inbox won’t be able to see these emails unless you want them to. It also comes with native encryption, end-to-end security, and multi-factor authentication options for enhanced data security.

Which Office 365 Plan Should We Use?

Microsoft offers a lot of different service plans that vary in cost and included services, and even the type of included services. They even have tiers of Microsoft Office 365 that are designed for specific industries (such as Microsoft Office 365 Nonprofit).

Let’s clear things up – below are some of the most common plan types for Microsoft Office 365, how they differ, and what they include:

Business Essentials
Office 365 Business Essential is entirely cloud-based. You won’t be able to install it on your PC but use it online instead. It does provide an email service.

As a business-focused plan, this offering includes:

  • Mobile installation of Office apps (up to 5 devices per user)
  • Outlook email (50 GB of inbox storage per user and sent messages up to 150MB)
  • OneDrive for Business (1 TB of cloud storage per user)
  • Microsoft Teams
  • HD video conferencing
  • Yammer collaboration software
  • Office online (browser-based suite of Office apps)
  • Planner (project management platform that allows staff to plan projects, assign tasks, share files and communicate)
  • Microsoft Flow (workflow automation app that allows users to automatically configure notifications, sync files, collect data without having to code the process)
  • PowerApps (app development platform that allows users to build business-specific web and mobile apps)

Business Premium
Office 365 Business Premium provides all the features of Business Essentials but also includes the full Office suite across all devices. Users have access to the services of Business Essentials but also the ability to install Office applications on 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and 5 phones.

In addition to the complete desktop and online Office 365 suite of applications (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, OneNote, Access [PC only], Publisher [PC only], SharePoint, and OneDrive), this plan includes:

  • Business management and CRM tools – Outlook Customer Manager, Bookings, Invoicing and MileIQ
  • The range of online services offered in lower-tier plans like ProPlus and Business Essentials

Business
Office 365 Business lets you use your favorite programs like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel on your computer. However, it doesn’t come with an email address. It’s the only plan that doesn’t include SharePoint, Skype for Business, Yammer or Teams.

As the most commonly recommended plan for businesses, Microsoft Office 365 Business includes everything Business Premium has to offer, plus:

  • Enhanced security features such as attachment scanning and link checking for email, Information Protection Policies that add controls over how info is accessed, and data backup features that keep your information accessible
  • Device management features, fully integrated with iOS, Android and Windows, that allow for simple deployment and management of Windows on your mobile platforms.


ProPlus
ProPlus is available for an unlimited number of users. In addition to Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (PC only), Publisher (PC only) and OneDrive (1TB storage), this plan includes:

  • Web-based and desktop versions of the above Microsoft applications.
  • Skype for Business client (service not included).
  • Licenses for an unlimited number of users.

How Much Does Microsoft Office 365 Cost?

For each plan, these prices refer to a per-user basis, per month, with an annual commitment.

To figure out what it would cost you, simply count the number of users you need to add from your business, and you’ve got your monthly cost – that’s easy to compare against your IT budget.

How Do We Decide Which Plan Is Right For Us?

Because Microsoft offers a lot of different Office 365 plans, it’s best to contact your IT services company for assistance. They can sit down with you and make sure you choose the Office 365 plan that best meets your need.

Plus, using Office 365 is easy; however, it can be difficult to migrate your data into the program correctly. This is another reason why you should contact your IT support company. Their migration experts can make sure all of your data is transferred without any problems.

Can We Really Work Together From Anywhere With Office 365? If So, This Is HUGE!

Do some of your employees work from home or in locations away from your office? Microsoft 365 is built with mobility in mind. All of your Office 365 documents will be accessible from anywhere and kept up to date.

With your files saved to the Office 365 Cloud, your desk is no longer a barrier. Use mobile apps like OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Skype, SharePoint, and OneDrive so everyone can stay connected via email, instant messaging, and online meetings.

Yes, you’re right… Microsoft Office 365 is HUGE!

Want more information? Check out these links:

How Can Law Firms Use Microsoft Office 365’s E-Discovery Capabilities?

How to Share Screens with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Office 365 For Central Illinois Law Firms (Questions/Answers)

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