As public sector organizations continue turning to technology to improve efficiency, cut costs, and deliver better citizen services, technologies that boost government worker productivity will play an important role in meeting these objectives. Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and many other familiar applications has been synonymous with productivity since its launch in 1990. Today, I’m excited to share why the next generation of Office 365, which launched worldwide on February 27, 2013, is important for government, as well as new features that will greatly contribute to enabling governments—and their employees—to operate more productively. Here’s a look at my three favorite features in store for government:
Working for the government does not always mean working at a desk; many employees spend much of their time in the field, while others work from home or on the road. Regardless, when you need access to shared documents and files, employees can no longer be tethered to a single piece of hardware like a PC.
One of the greatest advantages of Office 365 is that it creates a single set of credentials for each employee, which they can use to access their files and settings from any device, anywhere in the world. Say that you’re an employee doing case work in the field using a mobile device. Using your phone, you’ve collected notes, data, and photos with Microsoft OneNote, but want to continue editing your files using a PC once you get back into the office. Instead of having to email notes to yourself or save your documents into PDF format to make it compatible with other devices, you will now be able to automatically access your information—in the same format—by simply logging into a new session from your PC. There is no transfer required between devices, saving you time and money.
In today’s fast-paced work environment, employees need the ability to collaborate with others both within and outside their organization in real time. The Office 365 facilitates information-sharing in a hosted, secure manner through Skydrive Pro so that users can easily work together on documents and files. With the groups feature, teams can control who has access to information and when, and can easily invite and remove members as a project evolves. Governments can also reduce travel costs by hosting meetings virtually with Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Exchange. In addition, users can see when others are online, share screens, edit documents, and more.
Government organizations have some of the most sensitive data in the world and need the most advanced security protocols in place to keep it safe. Office 365 lets administrators develop policies to control who has access to information, when, and how they can share it. For example, if an employee is preparing to send an email from Outlook that has sensitive information that isn’t approved for sharing, Policy Tips in Outlook can identify a potential policy conflict by analyzing keywords and issuing a warning to the user before the email is sent. This security feature can help organizations with Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and help comply with regulations ranging from Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to Payment Card Industry (PCI) and protection of Personal Identifiable Information (PII).
Government organizations are continually striving to cut costs while improving efficiency, and we believe the new Office is a great step toward helping them accomplish their missions. If you’d like to learn more about the new Office365, I encourage you to check out the home page.