Microsoft Outlook Inbox
If your company is like most, you probably aren’t getting maximum usage (or benefit) from your Office 365 investment. Whether it’s because you and your team haven’t had time to work on end-user adoption, or there is a lack of understanding about the extensive capabilities you have access to, it’s very common. Your team’s productivity, not to mention your ROI, will increase the more your users access and use the features.
Office 365 Is More Than Email
Yes, Office 365 is great for email. Its reliable, secure and just plain works. Email (and Outlook) are the important foundation for the rest of your Office 365 features.
But if your team is just using email, you’re barely scratching the surface of your investment. The fact that your users are power Outlook users is a great start, but here’s what you are missing:
- Skype for Business: Most Office 365 plans include Skype for Business. If you are paying to use other tools like GoToMeeting or WebEx, this is a very good time to reassess that decision. Skype for Business has improved significantly and can do everything those resources do and more. This will not only save you money, but also help your team be more productive. Some of the key features included in Skype of business are:
- Meetings and calls with anyone: Meet with up to 250 people—even if they’re not on Skype for Business. All they need is a phone or internet connection.
- Seamless: See your contacts’ online statuses, schedule meetings in Outlook, and start conversations from apps like Word and PowerPoint.
- Security and control: Conversations are protected by strong authentication and encryption, and you manage employee accounts and features.
- Discoverable: Conversations are saved in your email box and are fully discoverable, which is critical in security conscious industries
- One Drive: Since you and your team expect to be able to work wherever, whenever, everyone has a realistic expectation to be able to access the files they need no matter where they are.
OneDrive for Business
OneDrive for Business makes this possible:
- Never worry about losing documents:OneDrive automatically saves and backs up your files.
- Back up available for all devices:It will work with Android, iPhone, Windows phones, iPads, tablets, and more.
- Easy access to your files:Users can access their files from anywhere, so long as they have an Internet connection and log into their account.
- Synchronization with local computers:Users can synchronize with a local computer, and the app for synchronization is available with Office 2013 or Office 365. You never have to worry that you forgot to update a file to the latest version. It updates automatically. Versioning is easy as well, if you want to keep a copy of an old version, you can save it using another name.
- Administrative Control: The more control you have over your content, the less risk you have for loss, theft, or data breach.
- SharePoint: Your organization’s intranets are invaluable if deployed correctly. SharePoint portals provide effective way to improve internal communication and create a focal point for internal and external resources.Ready-built, packed with features, and easily customizable, your company’s SharePoint can facilitate communication, foster collaboration, streamline processes, and organize your knowledge-base for quick, lasting productivity gains.
- Groups/Teams: Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace in Office 365. Teams’ intent is to bring together people, conversations and content—along with the tools that teams need—so they can easily collaborate to achieve more. It’s naturally integrated with the familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on the Office 365 global, secure cloud.
Groups and Teams come pre-configured with the following:
- Shared mailbox
- Document library
- Shared calendar
- Sharepoint Team Site
- Persistent chat (Teams only)
How Do I Get Started?
If you are less than 500 users, you will need a Microsoft partner to guide you through the process. Partners work hard to keep up with the ever-changing landscape and can bring best practices from their experience with similar clients.
Your Microsoft partner should provide guidance, insight and expertise that maximizes your team’s usage of the productivity tools in Office 365, and the ROI on your Office 365 suite. Some things to consider when you choose your partner:
- Certifications: Your partner needs to have deep expertise, and the fastest way to determine that is by confirming they have relevant Microsoft certifications. For Office 365 and Azure services, look for Silver or Gold competencies in Windows/Devices, Cloud Productivity, Cloud Platform, and Small and Midmarket Solutions.
- Industry expertise: Before you sign on the dotted line, ask your partner to share information on other successful implementations they have completed, and pay close attention to the detail they provide. Are they able to recommend and deliver different solutions for different types of business needs?
- References: Ask for references from your potential partners. If they are exceptionally good at what they do, they will have them and gladly provide them to you.
- Managed services: As your business gets more sophisticated, you will need a partner who can help you anticipate needs and grow with you, while minimizing risk. Managed services can range from full outsourced IT to a true partnering relationship that augments the internal IT team. Look for a partner willing to evolve as your needs change.
Office 365 literally has the power to transform your business. Fully implemented, the solution will delivery efficiency and productivity gains that can be a differentiator for your organization. So, what are you waiting for?
Bill Wootton is the Founder and President of C3 Integrated Solutions, a full-service IT provider based in Arlington, VA that specializes in securing our nation’s Defense Industrial Base through cloud-based solutions and industry leading partners. Bill is passionate about bringing cyber-awareness, and cyber-maturity to the nation’s Defense Industrial Base, working with clients to help them achieve CMMC and NIST 800-171 compliance by providing MSP, security and Office 365 integration services.