How can Office 365 help my business?

A lot has changed in the world of computing since 2001; the industry is no longer struggling to make profits, websites are no longer navigated via blue hyperlinks, and Office XP is considered a technological relic. Microsoft Office has come a long way in fifteen years, and its various applications have become much more user-friendly and customisable as a result.

But with Office undergoing all of these changes, it can be hard to keep up. Presenting: Redsquid’s beginner’s guide to Microsoft Office 365. Here I’ll introduce you to 365, and more importantly, explain how it can help you run your business more efficiently.

First and foremost, Office 365 is a package designed to provide the software necessary to keep you and your workforce organised and capable. 365 contains all the applications you’re familiar with: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. These are the tools of your trade, the software that enables you to create the documents and files that your business needs to communicate its message. Microsoft provides multiple different packages to suit your business’s needs and bank account, but regardless of which you choose, you will always have access to the most up-to date software.

Working perfectly in tandem with these applications is Microsoft OneDrive. Previously known as Microsoft ‘SkyDrive’, ‘Windows Live SkyDrive’ and ‘Windows Live Folders’, OneDrive is a cloud storage system designed to help you access your files outside of your office. If you’re unsure of what the cloud actually is, feel free to get suitably educated here, otherwise, let me introduce you to the concept of the ‘mobile office’. What this essentially means is that, with the installation of Office 365, users are no longer restricted by the limitations of local storage.

By owning one copy of 365, you’re now entitled to install that software on up to five different devices; including PCs, Macs, tablets and mobiles. With this option available, users can now fully harness the potential of cloud computing. OneDrive allows you to save your files onto a separate server, as well as your local hard-drive storage. What this means is that; not only do you now have two copies of your files at any given time, but you can also access them on your other devices. The possibilities that OneDrive presents are seemingly endless; not having to rely on hard-drives or USBs for resources liberates your mobile workforce.

With OneDrive, you can create a presentation on PowerPoint at your desktop PC, save it, and the next day arrive at a client’s premises ready with the presentation on your tablet. As long as you’re signed onto your account, you’ll have access to your files, regardless of where you are. Additionally, as you’re saving your files to the cloud, they’re now successfully backed-up; thus eliminating the threat of potentially losing crucial documents. This, along with Microsoft’s built in security, means that your files can remain safe and secure.

Also working alongside OneDrive is Outlook: Microsoft’s premier email system. Just as it is with your files: if you’re signed into your 365 account you can receive and send emails through Outlook on any of your devices. With an Office 365 account, you can create your own email address, which means no more Hotmails or Gmails, and instead a professional looking address properly representing your company. You can also create a personal signature to end your emails with, which only continues to improve your professional image. With Outlook, it’s also possible to schedule meetings over email, which then automatically appear in your calendar along with reminders. All in all, Outlook essentially becomes your own personal organiser.

Finally, the majority of Office 365 packages also come with Skype for business. Skype, the video conferencing service now owned by Microsoft, is available to download and use for free, but Skype’s corporate equivalent allows for more ambitious opportunities. With Skype for business it’s possible to include up to 250 people on just one call, which is frankly incredible. This makes for meetings with massive potential, without the fuss of getting everyone in the same room. Also, with the screen-share feature, it’s possible to share what you’re doing with your Skype recipient, including your Office files and documents. Once again, Office 365 is removing boundaries that restrict our working environments, and presenting new ways to approach business.

So there you have it, Office 365 for beginners, or, how 365 can help you run your business better. I could go on and on for far too many pages about the various other features of Office 365, but perhaps I’ll save that for another article. Needless to say, if you haven’t already thought about subscribing to Office 365, you should be now.