The concept behind Office 365 is a relatively simple one to grasp. It’s all in the name, as a matter of fact. This is a subscription plan you can signup for that basically brings together all your office productivity tools together in one place, on the Cloud. This means that wherever you are in the world, whatever time or day it is, you will have instant access to your information, documents, and data in a centralized place.
Should you be working on something in the office then head home for the day, you will only need to log in to your Office account to find everything just as you left off, open applications already running and everything. Microsoft has servers everywhere, and your data is backed-up fully on their platform, ensuring the security and integrity of your data. For the entire 365 days of the year, no matter where you are, as long you have a working internet-ready device, you can be in your virtual office – that’s why it’s called 365.
Microsoft initially launched this service in the year 2011, and it continues to find widespread acceptance and adoption all over the world. As a matter of fact, the sales of this product overtook the conventional Microsoft Office software numbers for the first time last year, giving further evidence of the growing trend in favor of centralized, synchronized, cloud-based solutions. Today’s reality of the digital office and mobile workforce demands it. To get a better understanding of what exactly Office 365 is all about, let’s go ahead and take a look at the major features it has on offer.
1. Outlook On The Web
This is a built-in application that comes with all Microsoft Office software packages that includes task management, email services, contacts manager and a calendar app. Users that choose to subscribe to the enterprise of business package of Office 365 will gain access to a feature known as Outlook on the web. This is a slight variation on the regular desktop package you might be used to as it has a strong online orientation, as reflected in the additional goodies you will have access to including Outlook People and Outlook Tasks.
With 365, they introduced a useful email upgrade known as Clutter. What Clutter does is help you keep your emails in more sensible order because, let’s face it, they can get to be a mess as they pile up in your inbox. It will remember your preferences with regard to which emails you consider important or relevant, and sort them accordingly by tracking how you behave with particular email topics. If, for example, you keep ignoring emails from a particular sender or regarding a certain topic, Clutter will relocate those emails to their own dedicated folder, essentially freeing up your inbox of the clutter of inconsequential messages.
2. Access to Hosted Services
For those who opt to sign up for the enterprise and business packages of Office 365, access to cloud-hosted versions of some of MS Office’s server platforms will be provided. This will include such software tools and apps as Skype for Business, SharePoint, Exchange, as well as the Office Web Apps suite which is browser-based. These are basically supercharged versions of their original counterparts optimized for heavy users and buffed up with extra security measures and more streamlined synchronicity. As a part of the SharePoint functionality, they will also receive 15 GB of online storage capacity through the SharePoint OneDrive for Business feature.
Customers on the Home plan aren’t left behind here, though, as they all receive premium-level upgrades on the regular consumer-level products on Microsoft’s shelf, inclusive of such enticements as 1 terabyte of OneDrive storage space for each and every user as well as 60 minutes per month of phone calls carried out over their proprietary Skype service.
3. Collaborative Functionality
One of the biggest draws of Office 365 is the plethora of collaborative tools it has on offer. Businesses require a great deal of teamwork, consultation, and co-ordination to carry out their operations successfully and efficiently, ad 365 gives them plenty of ways to link up and get tings done.
The options are numerous, with the idea being to give users the freedom to choose from among the selection according to the nature of their project, the size of their teams, the mode of communication they prefer, as well as their own personal preferences. They can take their pick form applications such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, Yammer, Outlook Online, Skype for Business, or Delve. It might seem like over-kill to some, but each one of these programs might be considered suited to a particular type of collaborative effort or type of team structure.
These tools are all inter-connected to maximize co-ordination. For instance, a group created on Yammer will automatically see its members receive a shared Outlook inbox, team calendar, SharePoint team site, OneNote notebook, SharePoint library, as well as a planner to get everybody on the same page as they carry out their planned projects. It goes a long way towards streamlining the job-flow processes in companies that can so often be bogged down by poor co-ordination and inefficient communication lines.
4. Office 365 Education
Aside from the business setting, educational institutions, especially those of higher learning, also have a lot of use for shared platforms. Microsoft offers up this feature as a solution aimed at this market segment. It comprises a collection of collaborative platforms, communication avenues, data storage capabilities, as well as desktop, mobile, and web-based applications. These include such powerful tools as Windows Live SkyDrive, Office Live Workspace, Microsoft Shareview, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Alerts, and numerous others.
This suite is offered up free of charge to colleges, Universities, and schools. All these institutions are required to do is go through the free registration process and they will be all set to commence operations. For students of these institutions, the only requirement will be to sign up for their free Microsoft Live ID, with which they will be able to log in and join up with their colleagues.