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Office 365: More than just email in the cloud

We're breaking down this common misconception; here's what you can achieve with Office 365

If you’re looking at almost any website featuring Office 365, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just about email in the cloud and an up-to-date version of the traditional Office suite. At TSG, we want to help you get more from Office 365. And there is so much more.

Served from UK datacentres, Office 365 is proven to increase productivity and performance, and when used to its full potential delivers 154% ROI.

Productivity

Productivity and improved collaboration are two core elements of Office 365. At its most basic level, Office 365 significantly improves workers’ productivity due to its mobility – by utilising the Microsoft cloud, employees can work from anywhere, anytime.

Office 365 goes far beyond the traditional ‘productivity suite’ of Word, PowerPoint et al. that we all know and love and couldn’t work without. True productivity comes from the tools outside of this core suite.

Workflow automation tool Flow allows you to eliminate manual, time-consuming tasks that get in the way of you adding real value, while PowerApps allows you to build mobile apps without a single line of code; both of these applications connect to a wide range of data sources. In fact, some of the most innovative solutions TSG’s Office 365 experts have deployed have centered around Flow and PowerApps.

Delve can save your employees thousands of hours searching documents and ensures you’ll never lose a file again. StaffHub allows shift workers to view and manage shifts and holidays on the go, while Planner allows you to manage workloads at a business, team or individual level.

Next-level collaboration and communication

When it comes to communication and collaboration, Office 365 blows all of its competitions out of the water. With a number of mediums available depending on your urgency and preferred channel, you can collaborate and communicate with colleagues in the way that works best for you.

Skype for Business allows you to have voice or video calls with one or multiple colleagues. For speedy conversations you can instant message colleagues, and share your screens to collaborate.

Teams is the revolutionary communication tool in Office 365’s varied collaboration suite. It’s so great that our Senior Office 365 Specialist Tony Hughes has tipped it to replace team emails, and Microsoft is bringing into it full Skype functionalities, combining the two apps to create a communication powerhouse.

Currently you can use Teams to ‘chat’ (instant message) and hold video conferences, and use it to collaborate cross-team and even companywide. It cuts down on the email clutter that interrupts our day continually and allows teams to work faster and smarter. Work on the same document at the same time, and embed a huge range of Microsoft and external services including Planner and Twitter.

Compliance

No more worrying about compliance – Office 365 complies with industry-standard regulations, and is designed to help your business meet regulatory requirements. This lowers compliance costs and effort by using built-in industry standards and best practice.

When it comes to GDPR, Microsoft has invested heavily in security protocols that will keep your data safe not only from hackers but from accidental leaks by members of staff. The recently-launched Compliance Manager allows you to manage and monitor your compliance against worldwide-recognised standards including GDPR, ISO and HIPAA. Perform ongoing risk assessments, conduct self-assessments and see your compliance score – based on both your performance and Microsoft’s – in one place.

Mobility and remote working

Now that over 1.5 million employees work from home for at least part of their working week (TUC), remote working capabilities are no longer a nice-to-have; they’re essential. And there’s benefits for both workers and businesses; companies save £6,810 per year per remote employee (Global Workplace Analytics), and workers are 13.5% more productive when working from home (Stanford University). In the latter study, workers were more productive per-minute and felt greater job satisfaction, which we know is essential to a competitive business.

With Microsoft Office 365, employees can access the apps they need anywhere and anytime thanks to the Microsoft cloud. Use your Office 365 apps online or natively on PCs, phones and tablets and access your files from anywhere with OneDrive.

Remote working isn’t just great for home-based colleagues. It also adds an element of business continuity. Small businesses lose, on average, £7,000 in severe weather conditions due to disruption to staff and customers and logistics operations (Federation of Small Businesses). By utilising Office 365, your employees can continue to work even in the most severe conditions by working at home. If a natural disaster like a fire or a flood hits your office infrastructure, you won’t lose any vital files or access to the essential tools you use every day.

Intelligence

Power BI is Office 365’s inbuilt Business Intelligence (BI) solution which offers powerful insights; it’s so comprehensive that businesses are buying standalone licenses in their droves. Described as “a suite of business analytics tools that deliver insights throughout your organization”, Power BI connects to hundreds of data sources and integrates beautifully with apps in the Microsoft suite like Dynamics NAV, Dynamics CRM and of course Office 365.

Power BI’s new built-in analysis now allows you to effectively measure the return on your Office 365 investment, showing high-level and detailed reports of app usage, uptake over time, your business’ most-used apps and the number of returning users. This is particularly effective if you’ve taken one of our specialised training courses that shows you how to get the most out of all of those innovative applications.

Users of all skill levels can create ad-hoc analysis and beautifully-visualised reports at the drop of a hat.

What can I replace with Office 365?

When it comes to replacing legacy infrastructure and applications with Office 365, the world is your oyster. Office 365 will significantly reduce your reliance on on-premise applications, and therefore the backroom servers that run them.

The first step is of course replacing Exchange with Exchange Online, moving your emails to the cloud and reducing the need for on-premise storage – subsequently solving the issue of overfilled mailboxes.

Here are some of the applications and processes you could replace with Office 365 – by replacing each of these, you take another step on your digital transformation journey.

  • File storage

    By moving your files to Office 365’s enterprise-grade-secured cloud storage solution OneDrive, you free up further on-premise resource that you can either get rid of or put to good use

  • Next-level file storage

    If your business requires a full electronic document management system (EDMS) with secure file sharing, SharePoint is the solution for you. Read our EDMS case studies

  • Manual forms

    Does your office have accident books? Timesheets? Site inspections? Jobsheets? They’ll become a thing of the past with our pre-designed PowerApps and Flow solutions

  • Feedback forms and surveys

    Do you collect feedback from customers, prospects or even staff? Forms can replace SurveyMonkey and next to any other solution – it’s the quickest we’ve used too!

  • Intranet newsfeed

    A pain point for so many businesses is a clunky, outdated intranet. Replace it with Yammer and you’ve got an enterprise social network stream your staff will love

  • ELearning and video sharing

    If your business shares training videos regularly, use Office 365 Stream as your straightforward platform to deliver content that matters to your employees

  • Task management

    Use third-party apps like Trello to manage your workload? For a simple to-do list, use Microsoft To-Do. To manage your work and your team’s work, Planner is essential

  • Paper notepads

    Even the humble notepad can be replaced with OneNote. Whether you’re an organised note-taker or not, OneNote works with you. Type out notes or write freestyle and add images

  • Manual or Excel shift management

    Too many businesses still rely on Excel or sheets of paper to manage shifts. Use StaffHub to allocate shifts then put the power in the hands of your workers

This is still just scratching the surface of what you can do with Office 365. If you’ve got a process or an app that just isn’t working for you, talk to TSG to find out how you can take care of it within Office 365.

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