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Microsoft Office 365 Productivity Tools Made Simple: A Quick Overview

Office 365 (now renamed Microsoft 365) is the catch-all term for the Microsoft subscription plans that offer users a bundle of productivity software and services. In exchange for a monthly fee, subscribers gain access to all of the standard Microsoft applications — including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook — as well as cloud storage and other services intended to improve workplace productivity.
There are many useful and powerful tools in the Microsoft Office 365 suite that can help businesses, small and large, be more productive and collaborative. However, it’s often hard for businesses to make sense of all the offerings available under Microsoft Office 365. Here’s a quick guide to the Microsoft Office 365 productivity tools that you have at your disposal.

The Benefits of Microsoft Office 365

One of the greatest advantages of Microsoft Office 365 for businesses is its cloud-based nature. This means that the applications and storage that you use are hosted by Microsoft so you save in IT costs and overhead while leveraging Microsoft’s enterprise-grade platform and security – benefits that allow businesses of all sizes to scale and reduce costs and IT complexity.
The cloud-based nature of Microsoft Office 365 has a number of beneficial implications for your business. For one, you no longer have to worry about crashes or disasters, as you would if you ran an in-house solution. Because all of your data is within the cloud, Microsoft takes total responsibility for support, maintenance and backups. In addition, your data remains safe and secure under Microsoft lock and key, yet you can still access it from anywhere at any time using only an internet connection.
Microsoft Office 365 is especially helpful for small and mid-sized businesses because it offers all the productivity tools for a predictable monthly cost that can be canceled at any time, rather than requiring you to make a risky investment in a solution up front. What’s more, your subscription plan can scale alongside you as your business grows and you need more user licenses and storage.
In short, with Microsoft Office 365 you can save time and money, as well as increase productivity and profitability – all with an investment that you can afford.

If you want to get more out of your Microsoft Office 365 with one comprehensive tool, this webinar is for you. Watch full webinar here: Make Your Intranet Awesome on Microsoft Office 365.

Microsoft Office 365 Productivity Tools

Once you subscribe to Microsoft Office 365, your business gains access to a number of helpful productivity tools, from familiar software like Word and Excel to more advanced applications. Here’s a summary of some of the tools you may not be familiar with.
Microsoft Office 365 Productivity Tools

Source: Microsoft

  1. OneDrive
    What it is: Microsoft’s solution for secure file hosting in the cloud.
    What it’s used for: synchronizing files across all of your devices and sharing them with colleagues, such as your latest presentation.
  2. SharePoint
    What it is: is a key tool for businesses because its all-in-one capabilities help companies become organized by getting a better handle on their documents, data and projects. By basing your intranet on SharePoint, you can improve usability, take advantage of powerful pre-built modules and enjoy an easy-to-use interface.
    What it’s used for: building intranet portals to manage and search through your internal communication and data. SharePoint-based intranets can integrate and unify SharePoint and other Microsoft Office 365 tools, as well as other business applications. This means that SharePoint enables you to bring your business together in all aspects in a single place.
  3. Delve
    What it is: a smart tool that displays recent and relevant content, documents, people, etc. to you in a personalized dashboard view.
    What it’s used for: quickly accessing new and relevant information and people based on the intelligence of who you work with and the content you work on.
  4. Yammer
    What it is: an enterprise social networking tool, like “Facebook for your business.”
    What it’s used for: sending ideas and communications that don’t necessarily require an instant response, like brainstorming or sharing news.
  5. Power BI
    What it is: a suite of Microsoft business intelligence and analytics tools.
    What it’s used for: analyzing and visualizing business data sourced from Excel files, databases and third-party sources such as Salesforce, QuickBooks Online, and Marketo.
  6. Skype for Business
    What it is: a solution for video and audio calling and instant messaging.
    What it’s used for: communicating with colleagues and business partners via calls, meetings, and screen sharing.
  7. Planner Groups
    What it is: an application for creating, assigning, and completing tasks.
    What it’s used for: collaborating among small groups of coworkers in order to break down a larger project into discrete tasks.
  8. PowerApps
    What it is: a solution to easily create business applications and share them with team members.
    What it’s used for: letting users at any technical level build and publish mobile apps to assist with business processes.
  9. Microsoft Teams
    What it is: a chat-based workspace to support team collaboration via voice and video calls and integration with other Microsoft Office 365 services.
    What it’s used for: communicating in real time with colleagues for messages that require an instant response.
  10. Publisher
    What it is: an app that provides users with the tools they need to publish professional-looking newsletters, brochures, and booklets.
    What it’s used for: communicating information to a wider audience with attractive, formal, more permanent material.
  11. OneNote
    What it is: a basic productivity app for capturing information by typing notes.
    What it’s used for: allowing the workforce to take notes on their mobile devices when they are on-the-go, which can then be retrieved from any other device.
  12. Microsoft Office 365 Intranet
    Although Microsoft Office 365 Intranet is not an official Microsoft Office 365 tools (though it sits on top of SharePoint and Microsoft Office 365), it is truly a powerful and versatile tool particularly for businesses looking to improve the way they work and be more productive. Many vendors are in the business of providing these ready-to-go Microsoft Office 365 solutions which are easy to use, don’t require any special skills or IT resources to setup and maintain, are quick to setup (within days), and are cost effective
    Microsoft Office 365 intranet delivers added functionality by way of built-in modules and features for common processes like Project Management, Forms Management, and HR and Employee Management; thus extending the basic intranet features and eliminating the need to invest in separate solutions that offer these capabilities.
    You can think of Microsoft Office 365 intranet as a separate tool which when installed, connects to your Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint environment, to give you added functions and features discussed above.
    So in sum, Microsoft Office 365 Intranet can be your go-to, comprehensive workplace solution that brings your business and Microsoft Office 365 together in one place and in one unified experience.

How to Get Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is easy to get. You can visit the Microsoft site and pick a subscription plan that is suitable for you.
Small business plans range from a very nominal $5/user/month to $12.50/user/month and depends on the Office applications and business services included.
microsoft 365 tools
Source: Microsoft
Monthly Enterprise plans range from a basic plan – Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E1 for $8/user/month, which only offer business services including email, file storage and sharing, Office Online, meetings and IM, etc., to a premium plan – Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E5 for $35/user/month, which offers all the Microsoft Office 365 tools plus some advance features like security, analytics, and voice capabilities.
Microsoft Office 365 tools overviewSource: Microsoft
Microsoft Office 365 offers special pricing for Government, Educational and Non-profit institutions.

If you want more information about Microsoft Office 365 tools or you want to learn about Microsoft Office 365 Intranet and see how it can transform your SharePoint and Microsoft Office 365 environment into a business hub, here are a few more resources for you:

General FAQs

FAQ 1: What are the MS Microsoft Office 365 tools?

Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription service that provides necessary business tools to improve communication and collaboration at workplace. The productivity tools include word, excel, PowerPoint presentation, Outlook (an email client), OneNote, Calendar, Publisher, OneDrive (cloud-based storage), Teams (chat-based workspace), Power BI (Business analytics service), Skype for Business and SharePoint (used to host company intranet).

In addition, it provides collaboration tools like Delve, Yammer, Sway & business support applications for bookings, invoicing, managing projects. The suite of productivity applications is hosted by Microsoft that provides enterprise-grade security, support and maintenance. Beyond always having the latest version of these applications, the cloud-based nature of Microsoft Office 365 has various beneficial implications for your business.

FAQ 2: What are the benefits of using Microsoft Office 365?

Microsoft Office 365 tools offer many business benefits like saving money, assisting growth and improving productivity. It boosts unified collaboration among employees with the web-enabled access to email, contacts, documents, and calendars.

The users can collaborate, edit the resources in real-time, save versions for reference. This ensures clear communication across the employees and departments, resulting in improved productivity and ultimately, better business outcomes. You can access the data from any device any time and location constraints.

Running the applications and storing the data in the cloud ensures that important business applications will always be available. Moreover, you have the business-class support and services including robust security, geo-redundant data centers, application standards, privacy controls and disaster recovery.

FAQ 3: How to get the most out of Microsoft Office 365?

Microsoft is continuously expanding Microsoft Office 365 tools and capabilities and diversifying the suite of products offered to commercial users. If you are only using Outlook to manage your communications and using core programs like Word and Excel, you might not be getting the most out of Microsoft Office 365 subscription.

To make the most out of it, explore features such as, make new connections within the organization, discover and share information between users, take advantage of anywhere/anytime access, make creative presentations and interactive reports using Sway, use DocuSign for signing the documents online, sync with OneDrive and SharePoint and share effortlessly with online shareable links.

FAQ 4: How to get Microsoft Office 365?

Moving to Microsoft Office 365 is quick and easy for businesses. It provides collaboration services, data storage capabilities, communication tools over mobile, desktop and web-based applications. Microsoft Office 365 is available in different subscription plans to cater to different business needs and market segments, providing different features for different prices.

The plans include Personal, Home, Business, Business Essentials, Business Premium, Mid-Size Business, Proplus, Enterprise, You can buy Microsoft Office 365 subscription plan according to your business requirements and install it across multiple devices.

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