The rise of Office 365 has been unprecedented, with 120 million business users by the end of 2017!
So what is driving the uptake of Microsoft’s cloud-based suite of office applications? A powerful blend of solving common IT problems and the introduction of new capabilities that simplify business processes and cut costs. The overall result? Dramatically improved business productivity.
This isn’t an unfounded IT trend either. As long ago as 2014, a survey revealed that when companies moved email and data to the cloud, 61% saw increased employee performance.
So, here are 7 ways that Office 365 improves business productivity:
Office 365 provides complete file-sharing capabilities to employees wherever they are and on almost any device, all they need is internet access. More businesses are now building flexible working and job-sharing into their workplace, employing remote workers around the world and offering employees more scope to plan their own hours and workloads. At any time, staff can sit down at a computer and get to work with all of their files ready to go.
Tools like Delve also cut through administrative layers enabling flexibility, allowing users to search documents across entire organisations, making it easy to see and contribute to what colleagues are working on. Plus, with Skype enabling virtual one-to-one and group meetings, collaboration between teams is no longer shackled by geography.
2. Streamlined Email
Office 365 gives your staff access to synchronised emails, folders, calendars and notes on-the-go and on any device. Not to mention much larger storage.
Popular free add-ons for Office 365 enable you to easily extend the functionality of suites email capabilities even further. The Boomerang App, the 1st place winner in the 2017 Office App Awards from Baydin, lets you clean up your Inbox without losing track of important messages and helps you manage messages that you can’t deal with today, but that need attention or a response later.
With Boomerang, you can:
- Write an email to send at a later time
- Set a reminder to follow up on emails if you don’t respond within a time-frame you’ve set
- Sorts your low priority emails using rules that allow you to see high priority messages first.
With the time wasted on email within every organisation, this one is a no-brainer for productivity.
3. Lower Costs
Travel time, IT support costs and software upgrades are all obvious savings when you invest in a suite of applications that updates automatically, builds on a universal skills base, and allows people to have effective virtual meetings.
Freeing up this extra cash flow allows companies to invest in their staff and the more profit-making aspects of their business. Corners that may have been previously cut because of prohibitive costs can be addressed with the extra cash meaning no more old and out of date machines slowing down processes and no more lengthy delays for updates and reboots.
4. Data Security
Office 365 has inbuilt data encryption meaning time no longer has to be wasted putting together ad-hoc data security solutions in-house. Data is stored on physically secure servers guarded by Microsoft’s ‘continuous threat management’ systems.
Now what does this mean for a business? Two very important things:
- Your data storage meets the standards of EU data protection legislation – considered to be the strongest requirement globally. This ensures businesses are compliant with the most stringent data rules.
- Your sensitive sensitive data is well protected. A recent survey found that 58% of all business-critical data in the USA is stored in Microsoft Office documents. Working with Office 365 keeps that data safe, with continually updated security protecting you from new threats.
So, now you know your business data is secure, you can spend more time on tasks that produce results!
5. Eliminated Procrastination
The “Tell Me” feature of Office 365 is perhaps the Office Manager’s new best friend. As we well know, searches like ‘how do I print in A6’ or ‘where is this symbol on my keyboard’ can lead to long periods of ‘internet research’ which leads to procrastination, time wasting and general lack of productivity.
“Tell Me” is a search box that sits on the ribbon bar in all but three of the Office 365 apps (Publisher, OneNote and Skype don’t have it). Users can just type in their query to find answers that are actually actions they can instantly take.
Having an effective inbuilt, natural language search facility for the whole of Office 365 keeps employees on track for longer periods, and makes tricky and undesirable tasks easier to tackle!
6. Project Management At Your Fingertips
The aptly named Office 365 Planner enables teams to collaborate effectively and keep projects on track, wherever they are working. With Planner they can work together on:
- Creating project plans
- Organising and assigning tasks
- Sharing files
- Providing status updates.
The tool also issues email alerts and reminders to let team members stay in touch with progress without having to log into the system.
7. Flawless Offline to Online Working
With alternative business application suites, working on documents offline can be problematic because they require a wi-fi connection for users to make changes.
Office 365 permits team members to make changes to documents even when they’re offline, save the changes locally and upload them once they’re back online. The updates are automatically applied across the cloud and information about the latest version is sent to all users on all connected devices.
So, even when the worst happens and your internet connection goes down, the show goes on.
Just The Tip Of The Iceberg
There are any number of other ways that Office 365 helps drive business productivity but these 7 alone give a good indicator of what tomorrow’s businesses will look like, and how your business could benefit from Office 365.