In recent years, Microsoft 365 has expanded to include a large group of products and services, all of which are continually enhanced with new features.
Previously, Office 365 was simply a collection of siloed products, but now those products interact and add even more value to your organization through services, such as MyAnalytics, Office Graph and Microsoft Viva.
We often hear "Microsoft 365 can do everything" or "Microsoft 365 will solve all your business problems". But do you really know what you get when you adopt Microsoft 365 to improve employee experience?Learn what products Microsoft 365 includes, how they interact and how you can improve your teams' collaboration and productivity through additional services.
The most popular Microsoft 365 products
OneDrive for Business
A personal document- / file-storage library that provides an overview of your files as well as files shared by other users. OneDrive is available in a client application, which allows users to synchronize files on their personal hard drive and work offline.
Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks
Before Microsoft 365, these products were only available as one unit: Exchange Server with the Outlook client. Now they're split in to 4 different applications, per their functionality: Mail manages the mailbox, sending and receiving emails. Calendar manages the user’s schedule with meetings and appointments, as well as showing shared calendars of colleagues. The contacts list is accessed through People. Tasks is a personal, simple and easy task management system, with planning abilities and due dates.
Microsoft SharePoint is an Enterprise Content Management platform that allows team members to manage content with centralized workflows, metadata and flexible security controls. SharePoint can be the technology behind your intranet portal, but it also contains handy tools like Microsoft Lists, often used to build collaboration dashboards.
The foundational Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher applications that now include “Cloud Productivity”, which enables multiple users to collaborate within the same document and leverage document history stored in SharePoint.
An application that enables notes to be shared with an individual or a group of people and allows users to collaborate within the same notebook.
Based on the Office Graph service (discussed further below), Delve is an application that combines aspects of social networking, machine learning and a powerful search functionality. Users have a personalized profile page containing their contact details, colleague profiles, recently accessed documents and suggestions for content based on the user’s behavior within Office 365.
An Enterprise Social Network purchased by Microsoft and integrated into Office 365 to support company-wide conversations, collaboration and networking.
Video: Supported by Azure Media Services, the Video application allows the sharing of company videos and categorizes videos with similar content into channels (e.g., creates a standalone channel for all training videos). Azure’s technology ensures all videos are displayed correctly to a user based on their device and speed of connectivity.
Stream: The Stream application is currently in beta and is similar to the Video application; however, it can be used independently of Office 365.
Users can create an interactive presentation with content pulled from Office 365 or other third-party services, such as Facebook and Twitter.
PowerApps & Flow
Power Platform, or PowerApps: A no-code based solution for building business applications. This solution is sometimes referred to as the InfoPath replacement for custom forms in SharePoint. PowerApps allow users to connect to data from different sources and provide an easy to use interface to facilitate tedious tasks.
Flow: An application that automates repetitive tasks. It does not replace SharePoint workflows, but streamlines with SharePoint and provides alternatives to those workflows.
An application for business intelligence which combines different data sources into interactive dashboards.
A task manager with a cards-based layout. Users create a board (called a 'bucket') with different columns (To-do, In Progress and Done) and move tasks to different columns at the appropriate stage. You can use it to create kanban boards to manage your projects, for example.
Created by the developers of Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams forms working groups that can use real-time chat communication and many other collaboration tools like whiteboards, video-conferencing, polls and workflows to easily store and share information.
Visio, Dynamics 365, Project Online
These are not included in the most common subscriptions, but are available at an additional cost.
Visio: application for creating diagrams, vector graphics and flow charts adhering to global standards. It was always available as an extra application in the Office suite for a onetime cost, and now it can also be bought on a monthly subscription basis.
Dynamics 365: a brand-new application which combines ERP and CRM into one to work seamlessly together across sales, customer service, field engineers and other teams with the goals of better engaging customers and empowering employees.
Project Online: Also known as Microsoft Project Server, it's an advanced project management system with resource planning, timed entries and project workspaces.
The Microsoft 365 services you didn't know you needed
This service tracks user activities, learns from them and provides the data necessary for Delve to predict and suggest content in which a user may be interested. It also informs Delve of a user’s reporting structure and of the colleagues with whom he or she have recently collaborated. Office Graph can also be queried to create a personalized dashboard and make business applications more intelligent.
Using Mail and Calendar, MyAnalytics aims to create better work habits by showing users how much time they spend in meetings, how they multitask best and with whom they communicate most/least.
There are many products and services to choose from and learn about Microsoft 365. The right partner should help your organization to leverage the best of the available Microsoft platforms and leverage the best product for your business use cases.
If you're looking at these collaboration tools for the first time, or even if you're looking to optimize how your teams use them, consider also looking at a change management and user adoption program to ensure you maximize the value of your Microsoft 365 investments. Want to discuss this further? Connect with our experts!
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