Microsoft Office has been the leading productivity software since shortly after its initial release on October 1st 1990. In the last 33 years, the Microsoft Office suite has evolved, from the initial trio of applications, consisting of Word, PowerPoint and Excel. The evolution has seen the suite transformed, with new design languages, functionality and new applications entirely. The Microsoft Office suite now includes many additional applications, such as OneNote, Publisher, Outlook, OneDrive, Access, Teams and more.

Adopting a cloud-first model

Currently, software is beginning to take a cloud-first model approach. A cloud-first model is making the main centre of the software powered by the cloud, allowing seamless connection from multiple devices, via an online application. This has been done in the form of Microsoft 365 (previously Office 365).

Microsoft 365 is accessed via the browser and at its core ties all the services of Microsoft Office together, allowing them all to be accessed from the browser. This creates an ability to access the same Microsoft 365 system from any computer, anywhere with an internet connection.

The cloud-first model has not resulted in the retirement of the Microsoft Office desktop applications. These applications are well developed and have more customisation options via plugins and additional functionality compared to their web-based counterparts. They work in conjunction with the cloud services of Microsoft 365, bringing the full functionality of the Microsoft 365 suite to the traditional desktop experience.

Harnessing functionality from Microsoft 365 for business efficiency

There are a wide range of tools in Microsoft 365 here’s some of the best top tips to leverage additional efficiency benefits for your business:

  • Use SharePoint to collaborate with Team Members. When configured correctly, SharePoint can become the central hub for your business. Allowing customisable pages, for key documents and news points for your team to see in one place. It also has document management features allowing for cloud storage, real-time collaboration and sharing of documents across your whole team and externally.
  • Automation and workflows, the Microsoft Power Automate suite can automate repetitive tasks, whilst integrating with all applications within the Microsoft 365 suite. This includes things such as data entry and approvals. This can be done easily, without the need for extensive coding.
  • Mobile productivity, the ability to access the Microsoft suite from anywhere on multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets, allows your team to be as productive and efficient whether they are in the Office or on the go.
  • Security and compliance, which is included as a fundamental part of the Microsoft 365 suite. Security for your important data is made simple, allowing security procedures to be effective whilst also being quick and easy to authenticate when configured correctly. This includes features like multi factor authentication and data encryption.
  • Regular updates and maintenance, are often performed in the background, bringing performance improvements, new features and security patches to the Microsoft 365 suite. These are installed automatically upon loading the web-based platform and via regular application updates for the desktop and mobile applications.

Using Microsoft 365 to communicate with your team and your clients

The Microsoft 365 suite includes Outlook functionality, which many businesses choose to use for email handling. The Outlook client makes accessing, sending and receiving emails simple. It can work on any device and handle multiple email addresses, allowing individuals to view and manage multiple addresses, such as their individual work address and a department wide shared mailbox.

The other main communication tool included within the Microsoft 365 suite is Microsoft Teams.
Specifically designed for businesses, Microsoft Teams combines video conferencing, instant messaging, and file sharing into one app. It also integrates with the other applications in the Microsoft 365 suite, making adoption seamless and fast for businesses. Using Microsoft Teams comes with many advantages such as:

  • Teamwork – the ability to make ‘Teams’ with specific co-workers and external users allows a simple single place for file sharing and communication both via messages and video/audio calls.
  • Customisation, businesses can integrate applications within Teams, such as external applications they require or build custom apps to complete a specific task. This can make Teams a central place for many of an employee’s necessary services.
  • Productivity, using Teams effectively can reduce email clutter and make finding files and information significantly simpler and faster.
  • Remote work, Teams has the same functionality once connected to the internet regardless of a devices location, making it easier to collaborate, even when physically separated from the office.
  • Security, services such as data encryption of files and messages is included, making Teams more secure than email.

Microsoft has recently released a new version of Microsoft Teams for its desktop client. This has brought a variety of new features, including:

  • The ability to create more channels within a Team, allowing further segregation of information to make it easier to find.
  • Switch between multiple business accounts, without a need to sign out.
  • Reply to specific messages and edit replies if required.
  • Join webinars from up to three devices using the same unique link
  • Additional functionality for Teams phone users, such as call delegation enhancements, faster navigation through redesigned menus and keypads and protected voicemail notifications.
  • Zoom in and out of a screenshare, to allow focus on specific areas of the shared content.

This improved desktop application elevates the Microsoft Teams experience further, making it even more difficult for a business to ignore.

How can CTRL-S Help?

CTRL-S are experts with the Microsoft 365 suite, with vast experience with both new configurations for a business and optimising a current environment. We can help you and your team leverage all the functionality that will benefit your business workflow, which will make the environment work for you in simpler and more effective ways.

Get in touch today to see how we can optimise Microsoft 365 to allow your business to harness its full potential.

 

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