When starting out in business, or if you’re looking to upgrade, which software package to go for is a big consideration. In recent years there has been a noticeable shift to cloud-based services as technology has progressed, and these systems offer a range of benefits.
One of the main benefits - especially with the shape of the world in recent years - is the fact that everything can be accessed from anywhere. With working from home becoming the norm post-2020, having cloud-based services enables entire organisations to access the same folders and documents from any internet browser.
The two main players in the cloud-based software arena are Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. Both are subscription-based and highly regarded, offering similar features. Which you go for will largely be down to which will best suit your business and also, which you feel more comfortable with.
Microsoft Office - the predecessor of Microsoft 365 - was first launched in 1990 so it’s been around the longest. Those who have been using computers since the 90s are likely to have had some experience of Microsoft in its various forms. The fact that it, and its applications, may be more familiar to you is a valid point.
Microsoft 365 was launched in 2011 as a suite of productivity software. It supersedes Microsoft Office, which is now part of the larger Microsoft 365 suite. Microsoft 365 helps people and businesses achieve more; it makes carrying out day-to-day business activities easier and facilitates improved communication, collaboration and productivity. Its suite of services include Office 365, Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility + Security and Microsoft Teams.
MS 365 highlights
In addition to all the things that Microsoft 365 applications enable us to do - Word for written documents, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentations, Teams for meetings and communication, Project for project management to name a few - there are countless features to each application that you may not even be aware of. Here are some of the key things that Microsoft 365 make possible:
Recording meetings in Teams and sharing with Microsoft Stream
Did you know that you can record meetings in Teams? This is extremely useful for many purposes such as relaying information to colleagues who were unable to attend the meeting and for reviewing points raised. What’s more, recorded meetings can be easily shared via MS Stream, making viewing quick and easy.
Collaboration through Microsoft Loop and Whiteboard
Recent additions to the MS Suite, Loop and Whiteboard make online collaboration between colleagues, and business to client hassle-free. Both applications were launched in 2021, with Loop providing the platform for multiple parties to come together and share information and ideas.
Combining a flexible canvas with portable components, Loop makes conducting complex meetings online not only possible, but extremely valuable as all the tools you need are there to hand. MS Whiteboard complements this by providing a digital interactive whiteboard that enables brainstorming and notetaking that everyone in the meeting can contribute to.
Sharing documents using OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online
Microsoft’s file hosting service OneDrive makes it possible for businesses to share and synchronise their files with ease. SharePoint Online acts as a collaborative platform, allowing organisations to manage their documents in the best way for their needs.
Simple data visualisation in Power BI
Part of the Microsoft Power Platform, Power BI allows you to create dashboards, which are simply visual displays of your data. These will present your company’s metrics - things such as performance, profit levels and trends - in an attractive, easy to understand format, making your data widely accessible. This will result in insights being offered, enabling you to enhance any areas of the business that require improvement.
Simple business automation in Power Automate
Utilising Power Automate will allow you to make light work of recurring tasks that have the potential to take up vast amounts of time if carried out manually. Also part of the Microsoft Power Platform, Automate enables teams and individuals to use it in line with their tasks and requirements to increase their productivity levels.
Benefits of using Microsoft 365:
Improved productivity: Microsoft 365 includes a range of tools and services that allows users to be more productive by enabling tasks to be carried out more quickly.
Enhanced collaboration: Microsoft 365 comprises tools that make it easy for users to collaborate on documents and projects in real-time, such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive, improving communication and output.
Better security: Advanced security features are included to help protect users' data, such as multi-factor authentication and data loss prevention.
Anytime, anywhere access: Users are able to access their documents and applications from any device, anywhere with an internet connection. This has proved essential in recent years with remote working becoming a part of our everyday lives, a trend that is set to continue.
Regular updates: As a subscription-based service, Microsoft 365 users receive regular updates with new features and security enhancements, so you’re always at the forefront of technology.
Microsoft 365 training with PETA…
If you’re considering moving to Microsoft 365 for your business, our Microsoft 365 Fundamentals course will give you a great overview of how the applications work, what the benefits are and a foundational knowledge on adopting cloud services in general.
The two-day course will help you understand:
Core Microsoft 365 services and concepts
Security, compliance, privacy, and trust in Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 pricing and support
We also offer training in the various applications as follows:
We offer a range of bespoke training options if you wish to go down the company-sponsored route. This way, our knowledgeable and experienced trainers and coaches can tailor the training to be exactly what you need, for your people and your business. Options include IT surgeries, Skills Analysis, First Line Support and Spreadsheet integration.
Please get in touch for more information on Microsoft training or to enquire about future course dates.
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