Microsoft Office 365 Features and Benefits

Moving to the Office 365 cloud comes with some key features and benefits. Namely, your organization gets to continue to use the software you have been using for years, but you now get to shift the burden onto Microsoft. In addition to shifting the burden to Microsoft, there are some other key benefits.

Generate greater productivity with Office 365

Productivity is a great word that management-consultant types love to use. In the real world though, productivity can be summed up in a simple question: Can you do my job easier or not? Microsoft has invested heavily and spent a tremendous amount of time trying to make the user and administrator experiences of Office 365 as easy and simple as possible.

The idea is that increasing simplicity yields greater productivity. Whether it is an administrator setting up a new employee or a business analyst writing policy and procedure documents in Word. When the technology gets out of the way and you can focus on your job, you become more productive. Try using a typewriter instead of a Word processor. Whoever thought copy and paste would be such a game changer?

Access from anywhere with Office 365

Accessing your enterprise software over the Internet has some big advantages. For one, all you need is your computer — desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone — and an Internet connection or phone coverage. Because the software is running in a Microsoft data center, you simply connect to the Internet to access the software.

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Another benefit of accessing centrally located data is that you always have a single source of the truth. If you make a change to a document from your tablet at home and then your colleague views the file from their phone, she will see the most up-to-date document. Gone are the days of e-mailing Excel documents between machines with long file names.

With SharePoint Online (part of the Office 365 package) a single file, say Forecast_Q1_2011.xlsx, lives out in the cloud (meaning in Microsoft’s globally distributed billion dollar data centers). Because the document lives in the cloud, the security permissions can be set up to allow anyone in the organization, regardless of geographic location, to view the document.

Security can be as strict or as lenient as desired. For example, you may want everyone in the organization to be able to see a company policy document but only want a select group of individuals to edit the document. In addition, SharePoint takes care of all the versioning and even lets you check out a document to edit so that nobody else can edit it at the same time.

Need to collaborate on the document in real time? No problem. You can do that by using nothing more than your web browser.

Work with what you know with Office 365

Microsoft does not always come out with the best software. Remember Windows Vista? Shiver! Instead of running far away and never looking back at Windows again, users simply held their collective breath until Windows 7. And thank you for hurrying Microsoft!

One thing Microsoft did incredibly right is recognize that users don’t want to give up the things that make them comfortable. Office 365 hasn’t changed your favorites one bit. The only difference is that now they are seamlessly connected to the enterprise software living out in the cloud. In other words, your favorite applications are cloudified.

One of the coolest features about SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 is that you can work with SharePoint without ever having to leave the Office applications. For example, you can fire up Word, check out a document stored in SharePoint, make some changes, check it back in, review versions, and even leave some notes for your colleagues.

All without even having to know that SharePoint is handling the content management functionality behind the scenes.

Robust security and reliability comes with Office 365

With Microsoft taking on all the responsibility for security and reliability, your IT team can rest on their laurels. Letting Microsoft do the heavy lifting frees up the IT team to do more important things such as helping users get the most out of enterprise software.

Microsoft understands if you aren’t fully comfortable about letting them do the heavy lifting. To address some of the questions, however, Microsoft has extensive service level agreements to help put your mind at ease.

Office 365 provides IT control and efficiency

IT personnel like to know exactly what everyone is doing with their systems at all times. If something goes wrong, then it is probably due to user error. Your systems do what they are supposed to do. Microsoft has gone out of its way to create an unprecedented level of control for administrators. But that is not all. Not only do administrators have control over the environment, but it is also actually designed to be simple in nature and intuitive.

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