In an age that praises disruption and change, it is especially interesting that the most innovative workplace product on the market is made by the most established developer of individual and organizational productivity solutions. With Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft continues its legacy of providing the modern workforce with the ability to get daily tasks done efficiently, but also to extend data, collaboration, and connectivity across devices and platforms so people have easy-to-use technology available to them to solve important business issues.
Microsoft Office hit the market in 1988; it consisted of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, all applications still currently critical for most modern workers. There have been attempts to compete and displace Office in its various iterations, but no one has been able to deliver to the market anything as comprehensive and capable.
With the onset of the cloud, Microsoft delivered Office 365 seven years ago as a services-based version of Office. Collaboration and communications elements like Skype, Teams, SharePoint, and other applications, have been added over time, and today Office 365 is a complete solution that gives people in organizations of any size the ability create, analyze, share, store, and transact data.
Microsoft provides a variety of different packages and corresponding pricing that map to a customer’s specific needs. The core applications within the solution, however, include these:
- Word: the full-featured word processing application used almost ubiquitously among modern workers.
- Excel: the spreadsheet application that can be used to store, analyze, and represent data, and import into other applications.
- PowerPoint: Microsoft’s powerful presentation application.
- OneNote: a note-taking program to capture information and tasks.
- Outlook: this is Microsoft’s well-known and widely used email application.
- Publisher: desktop publishing and creative tool.
- Access: a database management solution.
- Skype for Business: an instant messaging/chat tool for 1:1 and group usage.
- Teams: a comprehensive team collaboration and communication tool.
These are just some of the elements of Office 365; others address more specific aspects of how individuals and teams access and use data. What’s particularly interesting about it, however, is not just the strength of these individual applications, but the power they provide as a cohesive solution, one that is highly integrated and that operates seamlessly.
1) Offers a seamless experience for doing, sharing, and storing data
The experience Microsoft delivers with Office 365 is beyond just the power of the individual apps; it is now about providing workers with a complete engine for daily tasks, personal organization, group communication, and problem solving. Ultimately, the power lies in unleashing intellectual and productivity firepower within organizations
As a cloud-based service, users simply log in and have access across the entire range of applications available to them. The experience can be personalized to user preferences, and Microsoft delivers regular updates to the code so users get the benefit of continuous innovation and the knowledge they are working on the most up-to-date functionality available.
With Office 365, organizations encounter less friction in the handling of group tasks and individuals are able to be closer to decision-making, all of which enable them to focus on customers, innovation, and generating revenue. GE, the global manufacturing and services conglomerate, is using Office 365 to increase productivity and unlock roadblocks to achieving organizational goals. The company had previously relied on a variety of different digital productivity tools that were managed separately by different groups, but it was expensive and resource-intensive. They made a decision to standardize on Office 365 because it provided an ecosystem of interoperable, secure, and user-friendly functionality which made IT’s job easier and users more able to get work done.
2) Delivers the most usable technology foundation
The value to organizations is considerable. From a technology standpoint alone, IT teams can take advantage of a fully integrated platform for employee communications, collaboration, and productivity through native, API-driven strategies. That platform can easily connect to other applications to share data and present it to users in real-time, when needed, and in context of the work they’re doing. Microsoft delivers all of this through market-leading uptime and availability and provides embedded security and compliance frameworks to detect and remediate potential risks.
The importance of security and compliance will not be lost on organizations who rely on user data to engage with customers and partners. Because of the immediate need for for management of data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it’s especially notable that Office 365 provides a solution to ensure users are operating in a GDPR-compliant manner. Built into the various components of the solution are policies and controls to create an environment that protects user data and how it’s transacted. Real-time assessments and deep insights to where data is being used across all Office 365 instances help users simplify their compliance posture and avoid the penalties that can result from lax oversight.
3) Creates a friction-less productivity environment
A private school in Brazil, Escola Bosque, offers an interesting example of how Office 365 functions as a technology platform to promote broad organizational goals. With accounts used by all students and professionals, Office 365 is the foundation on which all academic and organizational activity is based. Teachers and administrators appreciate that the IT burden has been dramatically reduced. Students are better equipped to capture important information that is relevant to their work, and then share and store their work, and collaborate with other students on projects. Escola Bosque’s IT manager said, “…“everything is easier and certainly more efficient. I can rapidly set new configurations, make hardware setups, and manage all teachers’ and coordinators’ demands and needs…I have more time to focus on innovation instead of basic tasks. I have more time to create new solutions, improve processes, and train our staff.”
Work is increasing in complexity, and more connections are required to operate for today’s businesses. Office 365 gives people a way to apply creative thinking and problem solving to being successful at their jobs. In fact, 73% of workers believe their job-related success depends on their ability to be creative. Organizations that want to empower users and inspire great work, something more than digital transformation is needed. People need tools that actually support the work they want to do. They need to be able to dedicate their time to solving problems rather than constantly switching among applications and trying to find the information they need.
As it has done for 30 years, Microsoft continues to provide a solution that improves how people work, while supporting their individual and organizational goals. Without going through a major disruption or migration, Office 365 is helping all different types of organizations use smart, cloud-based technology to encourage a better, more productive working environment for users at all levels.
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