Cloud Solutions & Services: Office 365 Features to Scale Your Business

    [fa icon="clock-o"] 7/22/2016 [fa icon="user"] Garett Chipman [fa icon="folder-open'] Cloud Solutions

    cloud-services-office-365When seeking cloud solutions and services, you have numerous variations providing means to help you get better organized and enhance productivity levels. Once the cloud turned mainstream in the last five years, Microsoft's Office 365 became a leader in providing office software features through the cloud. Known as a Software as a Service (SaaS), Office 365 transformed into a standard for being able to use office applications any time and at any place.

    Combining tools like this with the cloud is why so many businesses continue to succeed when enjoying universal access. Business Insider reported last year that Office 365 now has over 50 million active users every month, which proves its continual growth patterns.

    The question is, how can Office 365 benefit you in helping your business grow? If you're at a place where you have target goals in sight, you'll need applications helping you to better communicate, collaborate, share documents, and feel secure.

    Fortunately, Microsoft takes this seriously in every category, and all for an affordable monthly fee.

    Let's take a look at the features available and how they nurture company growth.

    Improving Your Communications

    In a more competitive business landscape, communication among your employees is going to matter more than it ever has. With your competitors likely doing everything they can to get ahead of you, critical projects you're working on need the utmost in communication power.

    If you're already familiar with many of Microsoft's Office tools like Word or Excel, you'll feel comfortable using Office 365. The newest Office suite that is included with those standard tools also includes OneNote for ease in sharing meeting notes or signed documents and Publisher to create professional materials from business cards to marketing materials. 

    For communication, they add numerous variations from Outlook, including Outlook on the Web, which enhances ability to communicate with business associates online using the same service.

    Along with usual Outlook email, you get Outlook Calendar, People, and Tasks to better organize the way you contact leads or loyal customers. When you need to communicate with an employee or customer, it's a matter of a few clicks to any digital contact means.

    The capabilites for communications go well beyond Outlook, however. All of these tools can be fully installed on multiple devices, including desktop, tablets and mobile phones, so you can access files anywhere at anytime, making communications between employees or clients faster and simpler. 

    So you might be asking, how else can it scale my business? Let's look at the added features that utilize integration with Outlook.

    Skype, Sway and Yammer Away

    Skype is fairly standard in video communication technology. It's a tool you should always have in your corner when you need to hold emergency meetings with your staff or clients, and allow everyone to jump on without travel to a specific location. With Outlook integration, you can set up a Skype HD video conference ahead of time with ease using a simple personalized link so it's easy for anyone to join. With a capacity of up to 250 participants, you won't run into limitations or worry about locking out any invitee.

    An added feature of  the Skype integration is the ability to quickly screen share and for real time note taking, so everyone involved has all they need, and are in sync. The added personalization of each participants picture, you'll not only know who's speaking, but what their role is at all times on the video conference.

    Newer to the roster is Sway, which Office 365 added this last year. This tool allows you to create interactive reports, presentations, and lessons to aid in collaborations or customer contacts. You add the content you want, and Sway will put it together instantly for a beautiful, polished presentation, including the ability for interactive content by adding videos to speak about your ideas or using an interactive chart to allow your audience to dive in and explore all the details. As a professional digital design assistant, you can make any project look more attractive when trying to "sway" a new business partner.

    What about a communication that allows quick communication and collaboration?  You can create your own corporate business network with Yammer, and give your team a much faster and smarter way to communicate. Forget just sending an email and waiting for a response. With Yammer, your team has the ability to discuss ideas, share files, and even crowdsource answers from co-workers no matter where they are in the world. You have full integration with Office and the familiar interface, so file sharing is a breeze, and, yes, all of this can be done from any device that's connected.

    Talk about collaboration! The ability to file share is essential in order to scale your business and leverage everyone's time, and Microsoft 365 for business has built all of these capabilities around file sharing and storage capabilities.

    Sharing and Filing Important Data

    Through Office 365's OneDrive, you have a secure cloud-based storage system safely holding all your business data. The cloud allows universal sharing while offering collaboration on essential time-sensitive business projects.

    With Team Sites, you open the door to not only sharing files both internally and externally, but being able to edit files together, access the files from any device. So no matter what, the latest file is always available to anyone accessing the file. Every user will have 1 TB of storage in the safety of the cloud, so not only will you never worry about running out of storage, you can put the fear of losing files behind you.

    OneDrive creates syncing of documents to make digital teamwork all the easier. Since you may have collaborations going on in locations around the world, this brings real-time sharing to quickly convey ideas and edit important documents together.

    Most importantly, it centralizes all your data so you don't have to refer to other servers to share information.

    Enhanced Collaboration and Security

    Through classic software like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Publisher, collaboration tools are already in place to provide immediate data to those in your company.

    As office environments become more diffuse and even heading towards working from home, these collaboration tools bring your entire office to the cloud. No matter the method of data sharing, it mimics the feel as if everyone is still gathered on-site.

    To ease your mind about security, you'll have multiple security layers and active directory integration to bring a wall of protection. Customer controls within the service such as easy admin and proactive compliance process combined with Microsoft's extensive privacy controls provide peace of mind so you can focus on the business. 

    If you're looking for full network monitoring in addition to the software's built-in security and for all your business IT needs, you can take advantage of managed IT support services with a qualified provider such as TVG Consulting.

    Learn more about cloud computing and solutions beyond Microsoft 365 by downloading our free Guide to Cloud Computing.

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