Microsoft 365 – The amazing tool you probably only partly use
I remember when Microsoft decided to change their Office licencing from perpetual licences to a subscription-based service. It came as a shock to many business owners who saw this change as only increasing their monthly IT bills. However, the reality is that Microsoft combined many services and bundled them very cleverly to provide extraordinary value to small and medium-sized businesses.
From most businesses’ perspectives, the perceived value was negligible due to very poor implementations by many service providers. As a result, it was common to swap out the perpetual licences for the subscription ones without adequately implementing any additional features. To this day, we still come across clients who have Microsoft 365 licences and only use it for their exchange emails and to license their Office desktop apps, while none of the other services and features is used.
The features you are missing out on
So, what are these additional features and more importantly, how do they benefit small businesses?
Microsoft’s cloud-hosted business-class email service is one of the essential services included. It has changed email for small businesses and offers an exchange email service previously only possible for companies hosting their exchange mail server. Exchange Online syncs all mail to all devices and keeps the mail on a cloud server. This is not possible on other protocols like POP or IMAP. Calendars and contact lists are all saved to Exchange Online and shared across devices. Outlook also incorporates robust task management services that sync with Exchange Online and is incorporated in other services, like Teams and Microsoft ToDo. Exchange Online also features proper spam filtering, an essential feature in today’s “spammy” world.
SharePoint is another excellent tool initially intended by Microsoft to be for internal communication and collaboration. However, SharePoint has evolved since its inception and now provides the backbone for OneDrive for Business. SharePoint allows most businesses to let go of their old file servers and offers them a cloud-based file sharing and syncing service while keeping the security of a traditional file server. The security and central administration possibilities SharePoint provides set it apart from other services like Dropbox. It also comes with very powerful document versioning and file recovery, both of which have saved some of our client’s tremendous headaches in the past.
Teams are probably the most underused service. Most people know this as an online meeting platform and an alternative to Zoom and Skype, but many are unaware of its potential collaboration tool. Teams provides a platform for departments or teams to collaborate on their work. It integrates with SharePoint directly to provide direct access to the relevant files these teams would need on a day to day basis. It also includes powerful chat functionality and planning and calendaring services all through a single pane of glass.
IT in a Box provides Microsoft 365 migration and support services, and we pride ourselves on implementing Microsoft 365 with the maximum benefit to our clients. We do this by also providing training to upskill our clients in the efficient usage of these services.
Should you either be using Microsoft 365 but clearly not properly or are considering moving across, do reach out to us.