With more and more organizations switching from on-premises environments to cloud, subscription-based productivity and collaboration tools are becoming more popular. Companies of all sizes are taking advantage of reduced capital expenses and flexibility provided by such platforms as Microsoft 365.
At the same time, the trend of users utilizing standard Microsoft products (Word, Excel, Power Point) remains mostly unchanged even after migrating to cloud-based suites with various apps.
Sometimes, companies find them unnecessary — but more often, it is because they are just not familiar with additional features offered by productivity platforms. However, as the workforce becomes more mobile, the productivity toolset should adapt and evolve to match new requirements and accelerate seamless collaboration.
To test the trend, we conducted an anonymous survey among our clients (various industries and sizes) who use Microsoft 365 suite to find out how many tools they are aware of and which apps they use routinely.
The results of this survey from 2020 were quite interesting: 83% of respondents were aware of six products on average and used five apps to do work. This means that the majority of organizations do not use Microsoft 365 suite to its full potential.
Based on the survey results, we have prepared a list of 4 Microsoft 365 products you should try along with standard apps.
Microsoft 365 Storage: OneDrive for Business
Believe it or not, many organizations tend to oversee this seemingly essential part of any business or enterprise offering from Microsoft.
OneDrive for Business is free storage included with each Microsoft 365 plan and is similar to Google Drive or Dropbox. Each user with an active business subscription gets 1 TB of cloud storage (5 TB for enterprise-level licensing with at least 5 users).
The benefit of this service is not only its extended accessibility (files stored on OneDrive for Business can be accessed at any time on any device anywhere) – OneDrive for Business is also a part of Microsoft 365 ecosystem. This means that your cloud storage is integrated with all other Microsoft apps for a seamless experience.
Give it a try!
Microsoft 365 Collaboration: SharePoint
Similar to OneDrive for Business, SharePoint is a cloud storage service. Unlike OneDrive, SharePoint can be used at an organizational level rather than at an individual one.
SharePoint is a collaboration platform which can be used by companies of all sizes for various purposes. It is primarily used as an intranet to manage information and content as well as to enhance teamwork.
One of the most common use cases is to utilize SharePoint as a file server alternative. This provides more flexibility and cost optimization (no need to invest into hardware and upgrades) as well as more information accessibility and availability to internal staff. Other benefits include document versioning, integration with Microsoft 365 ecosystem, and external sharing capabilities.
Setting up SharePoint may seem like a complex endeavor, but it definitely provides a number of advantages in the long run.
Microsoft 365 Automation: Forms & Bookings
In the last few years, there has been a strong push towards automation of business processes and simplifying day-to-day activities. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft is one of the leading tools and services providers in this field.
Although there is a number of separate licenses available outside of the standard Microsoft 365 offerings (Power Automate, PowerApps, Power BI etc.), some default apps useful for automating processes are included in each business subscription and often overseen.
These are Microsoft Forms and Microsoft Bookings. Let’s have a closer look at each one.
Microsoft 365 Automation: Forms
Microsoft Forms is a basic yet useful tool that allows users to design polls, quizzes, and surveys to gather employee and client feedback and organize events. Sounds pretty simple, so why would we highlight this service?
The truth is that Forms has much more to offer when it comes to business process automation.
For example, some of the use cases may include using Microsoft Forms in combination with other Microsoft 365 products. Let’s take MS Forms + MS Power Automate which are both free apps (with some limitations for Power Automate) and can be used for automating information intake from within Microsoft Teams.
In this case, users would populate the specified fields in Forms within Microsoft Teams (Forms can be used as an app in Teams). The request will then be sent to a specified mailbox using Power Automate for further processing.
Sounds simple yet can save lots of time for departments or organizations with routine tasks involving data entry and exchange.
Microsoft 365 Automation: Bookings
Bookings is one of the relatively new apps which comes with a Microsoft 365 subscription. It allows organizations to set up booking platforms where clients and partners could book time slots for meetings and/or sessions with just one click.
Businesses from many industries that use Microsoft 365 may benefit from this app. For example, home services companies, personal care services companies, IT services companies and other types of organizations can use Microsoft Bookings for managing customer appointments. This will help to save time which can be spent on providing value to clientele.
Microsoft Bookings synchronizes with Outlook and Teams calendar to show only available time slots to prevent double-booking.
This list of 4 Microsoft 365 products you should try is only a sample of apps included in Business and Enterprise plans. One of the advantages of Microsoft ecosphere is that all applications can be integrated with each other.
For example, most Microsoft 365 products can be added in MS Teams providing a seamless experience for users working in one centralized spot and eliminating the need to switch between apps and windows.
Start your journey and experiment with these products to find which ones work best for you.
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