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Microsoft Office 365: 5 Ways to Transform your Business

The majority of you will have heard of this cloud-based Microsoft product. Many of you will be using it whether you’re aware of it or not, but how many of you are using it to it’s full potential?

It’s easy to think that Office 365 is just the latest email in the cloud and the latest versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. However, Office 365 and its innovative applications can restructure business processes and provide the ultimate business flexibility and mobility, making your business as effective as it can be. In the age of digital transformation, now is the time to adopt this technology.

Many business leaders don’t see digital transformation as achievable or even essential, but eventually companies will be forced to change to remain competitive within the markets. Achieving a more productive workforce will require efficient technologies to be implemented. Over the next couple of years, I think it’s going to be a race to the top in most industries, rather than a delay in the digital transformation process. We'll be covering this in our popular Futuretech event - sign up to Futuretech North 2017 now.

Here are some of Office 365’s most innovative features.

#1: SharePoint

Yes! SharePoint is part of Office 365. SharePoint has been a key part of Microsoft’s advancing cloud platform. Although previously used as an isolated entity, SharePoint integrates with other Office 365 tools; in fact, it’s at the heart of apps including Planner and Teams.

Used widely as a document management tool and collaboration tool, SharePoint allows colleagues, partners and customers to access documents whether you’re at work, on the train or in a meeting –  literally anywhere at any time. So now there are no excuses, the cloud will provide you with all the information you need! Hurrah!

#2: OneDrive

We’ve all been in the situation where you’re at home or out of the office, and need to access files or applications that are on your work computer, whether it be Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or an important document. Frustratingly the only way around it is to take your work laptop everywhere with you, right? Wrong.

OneDrive is an advanced cloud storage facility, with robust security for your protected work files. Using Office 365, OneDrive synchronises your work files, making them available from a mobile device or browser, anywhere in the world. It’s best to think of it as an infinitely accessible cloud hard drive – an innovation that will drive productivity and accessibility for businesses.

 ‘60% of employees could be working remotely within a decade’ – thenextweb.com

#3: Planner

Alongside OneDrive and SharePoint, Planner is a feature of Office 365 that can and should be utilised by businesses that want to continue to be organised. Working from a detailed dashboard known as the ‘planner hub’, Planner allows Office 365 users to divide tasks into sections, or ‘plans’, and display completed and remaining tasks in a visual way that offers a better overview of individual and team workload. Within these ‘plans’, you can upload files and add work members into the group, so everybody in that particular group can work together on the uploaded content.

#4: Teams

Although a beta version has been distributed, Microsoft Teams has not been fully released just yet. It will become available for commercial Microsoft customers soon.

Microsoft Teams, like Office 365 as a whole, is all about working effectively and efficiently. Teams is a lot more specific to – you’ve guessed it – Teams within a business.

Essential Office 365 apps Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all integrated into Microsoft Teams. Think of it like an intranet, providing a platform for Teams and groups to share information with the wider company. You can then create Teams (sub-groups), and link them to the relevant Office 365 group.

You can read more about Teams in my recent blog post.

#5: PowerApps and Flow

Finally, the day has come where we say goodbye to monotonous and dull reporting. Many businesses are dependent on old-school process, a lot of them paper-based. Again, when I think of paper-based documentation, it just reminds me of the old TV series Columbo, with a two metre high stack of paper that has no hope of ever being organised.

Microsoft PowerApps and Flow refine these processes into simple digital workflows, and best of all, they synchronise with over 90 systems and applications that go beyond Microsoft's products. For example, you can create automated reports based on social media clicks, which will automatically be transferred into Dynamics 365. You can also securely connect to on premise or cloud-based services, which will enhance your use of the data you already have. Farewell time wasting tasks, it’s been fun trip.

The evolution of business processes is certainly underway, so rather than get left behind with lengthy procedures, fewer integrated features and less collaboration, it's time to make your move to Office 365.

Digital transformation is happening right now, so start your journey to the cloud before your competitors do.

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