Is your business evaluating if it should move to the Cloud and migrate to Office 365? Then you came to the right place! This post series will show you some of the top reasons to move to the Cloud and Office 365.
This two part blog post is the first part of a blog post series that will try to give you an idea of the advantages of moving to the Cloud and the benefits of adopting Office 365 as a collaboration platform.
We leave in a world that is rapidly moving towards Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions in several areas from collaboration, E-Commerce and many other areas, are moving from a reality where systems and respective data where deployed within the companies infrastructure (On-Premises) to the Cloud.
This goal of this two part blog posts is to give you an overview of the main features included in Office 365 and how your organization can take advantage of them.
These are the topics I will discuss in the first part of this two part blog post:
- Microsoft 365
- Collaboration with SharePoint and OneDrive
- Use Microsoft Teams as your Work Hub
- Easy and Secure External Sharing
To read the second part of this post, click here.
First things first! What is Microsoft 365?
One of the main concerns of companies in choosing a Cloud collaboration platform, in which the Office 365 is an example and leading platform, is the security of their information. One of the biggest challenges in Office 365 is related to the demystification that having the information in the Cloud is less secure than if it resides on the premises of the organizations themselves.
Microsoft has launched a licensing model that includes an impressive security feature set called Microsoft 365. This is a bundle that includes:
- Windows 10
- Office 365
- Enterprise Mobility + Security
This bundle comes in three different flavors:
The way I see it, Microsoft 365, in which Office 365 is a big part has two main branches that are closely linked:
The main purpose of Microsoft 365, is to empower business to collaborate in a secure way.
If you want to know more about all the security features included Microsoft 365, click here.
Below, is a summary of the top reasons why you should move to the cloud and start using Microsoft 365. The summary is mainly focused on Office 365 features.
- SharePoint Online: the heart of collaboration in Office 365 and where shared information in your organization should reside
- OneDrive: based on the same technology as SharePoint, it is a private space that allows each employee in the organization to store their personal documents. Each employee gets from 1 TB to 5 TB depending on the your licensing model
With Office 365, each Office application has a corresponding web app that allows you to collaborate on documents directly from the browser without the need of their corresponding Office client applications. These are the available Office Web Apps in Office 365:
- Word Online
- Excel Online
- PowerPoint Online
- Visio Online
- OneNote Online
Each of this web apps allows you to open and edit documents directly from the browser. The experience is similar to the Office client applications and there are just a few restrictions in edit experience (ex: you can open but not edit macro-enabled Excel files).
Are you tired of reviewing documents sending successive copies of the same document back and forth by email and not knowing what the latest version of the document is? Mee too and this is where co-authoring is a huge help!
When documents are stored in SharePoint or OneDrive, co-authoring allows you to share a document with users inside or outside your organization and have them collaborate on the document in real time without the need to save multiple versions of the same document and loose track of the changes that were made by each contributor. All contributions are merged into the same document and you can see who else is editing the document and see what changes each contributor has made on the document.
This allows you to have full real time collaboration over the same document instead of having multiple copies going back and forth by email, having the added advantages to significantly reduce the size of your mailbox and making you much more productive.
SharePoint and OneDrive take advantages of secure sharing, allowing you to choose who can access and edit the document.
To learn more about real time collaboration and co-authoring, click here.
Another advantage of using SharePoint and OneDrive for collaboration is that instead of attaching a copy of your document in the email, you can simply share a link to the document that is stored in SharePoint or OneDrive.
For users, the attachment looks exactly the same as a normal attachment with the difference of a having a small “cloud” symbol near the document icon.
This way, we also significantly reduce the size of user’s mailboxes since what we are sharing is the link do the document in SharePoint or OneDrive and not a copy of the file. Sharing documents this way also enables users to use real time collaboration by allowing them to co-edit the “attached” document. The document can be edited either in the browser or using the appropriate Office client application.
To learn more on Cloud Attachments, click here.
Documents in SharePoint and OneDrive are stored in document libraries. You can sync any SharePoint or OneDrive files to a folder on your computer where you can work directly in the files using File Explorer and you can even access and work on the files when you’re offline.
Once you get back online, any changes that you or other users make will be synced automatically.
To learn more on how to sync a SharePoint or OneDrive document library, click here.
Office 365 groups are the preferred method for team collaboration in Office 365. When created, an Office 365 group provides the following for its members:
- A Security Group (Azure AD)
- A Shared Group Mailbox (Exchange)
- A Shared Team Site (SharePoint)
- A Shared Notebook (OneNote)
- A Team in Microsoft Teams (if created through Teams or if later a Team in Microsoft Teams is associated to an existing Office 365 group)
- A Teamwork Planning Space (Microsoft Planner)
Office 365 Groups can be created from a variety of ways in Office 365 (among others: SharePoint, Outlook and Microsoft Teams) and its main purpose is to facilitate teams inside the organizations to collaborate. For instance, the Shared Group Mailbox that is created is not a distribution list but a shared mailbox in Exchange Online and it allows for a new member in the group to have instant access to all emails sent to the shared mailbox prior to his addition to the group!
To learn more about Office 365 Groups, click here.
One of the strongest advantages of Office 365 is mobility. You will be able to access your documents, emails, business processes from any device and from any location.
Below, are a few examples of what you can do directly from your mobile phone or tablet:
- Access your email and contacts using Exchange Online and Outlook Mobile App
- Open and collaborate on shared documents in SharePoint Team Sites using Office mobile apps (there is a mobile version for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc)
- Share and access important news with your team using SharePoint Communication Sites
- Access your organizations dashboards using Power BI
- Access important business processes (example: approve your team’s expenses) using PowerApps
- Join a meeting directly from your phone using Microsoft Teams mobile app
- Access relevant corporate information using the mobile SharePoint app
All of this can be achieved in a secure way. I will talk a little bit more on security later in the second part of the blog post.
If you want to read the entire article, click here.