It was reported recently that Microsoft Office subscriptions have continued to rise in 2013, with an increasing number of businesses and organisations looking to take advantage of online productivity tools. The previous quarter saw a fivefold increase in the number of users, suggesting business leaders are recognising the value of working online and on the move.
But what is so great about Office 365? Here are five great features which may persuade companies to adopt the solution.
Office desktop applications
Employees tend to work better with solutions and programs they are familiar with and know their way around. With an understanding of how IT tools work, staff members are much more empowered to use them effectively to improve performance and add value to their organisation's bottom line.
With Office 365, employees can access a range of commonly-used Microsoft desktop applications across a range of devices. This means that wherever an individual is working, they can access the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access on their mobile device.
This ensures employees can work productively on the move, without significant disruption or the need for extensive training with new applications. Workers can simply pick up where they left off in the office at an earlier point.
The advent of cloud solutions has given employees an increased range of tools for working together. Indeed, many businesses are actively trying to promote online collaboration, which is seen as an efficient way of working towards shared project goals. The inclusion of Microsoft SharePoint Online in Office 365 is a major advantage in this regard.
SharePoint Online allows employees to work with others, organise projects and teams, and discover people and information over the web. They can publish content to SharePoint from any Office application and share information with people inside and outside their organisation with just a few simple clicks.
Despite the rise of social media, email remains a vital function in business, with some individuals fielding hundreds of messages per day. Microsoft Exchange 2013 allows employees to manage increasing volumes of communications across multiple devices, ensuring they can be as organised as possible with incoming and outgoing correspondence.
Businesses are able to control a rich, hosted Exchange environment with 25GB mailboxes for every user - and they can do so without even having to manage a server. This is because data is hosted in geographically-distributed data centres, with continuous data backup and premiere disaster recovery capabilities. Businesses also benefit from a high level of security support - Microsoft updates anti-virus and spam filters to address new threats as soon as they appear.
In the fast-paced, 24/7 world of modern business, it is not always easy for colleagues based in different locations to come together for physical meetings. Nor is it always necessary to take a flight or lengthy train journey to meet with long-time customers and partners - a video conference may be the most cost-effective alternative.
Lync Online allows businesses to conduct multi-party video conferences, and take advantage of real-time note taking and document sharing online. Employees can also use instant messaging and present technology across firewalls, helping to support more effective collaboration.
Small business in particular may be interested in an Office 365 feature which allows them to create a public-facing website, which can be used to boost their online profile. Firms can use their own company domain name, with hosting fees included in their service subscription.
Part of SharePoint Online, the Public Website service includes a rich range of features and is easily customisable - meaning business owners can take advantage, even with limited IT expertise. Users can add and edit web pages, images, videos, custom applications, whilst using their web browser more simply.
Posted by Alex Boardman