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Key Microsoft Office 365 Features And Benefits


Considering switching your operations over to Office 365? Of course, you first need to know the features and benefits you'll be getting for your money. 59% of businesses worldwide have now switched to cloud-based productivity packages to run their day-to-day work. So, why are so many businesses migrating?


The reason is that the advantages of Office 365 are plenty. It's brimming with tools, apps and features to give businesses better productivity and efficiency. Here are the key Office 365 features and how you'll benefit from each one:


Anywhere, Anytime Access

As 365 is cloud-based, everything is available in your browser wherever you have an internet connection. Your corporate drive, your applications, your software (such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint) are all there on any device. Pretty much anything your employees need to do their jobs is available online, giving 24/7 access from around the world - not just in your office or on one particular computer.

Not just that, but certain Office 365 packages allow you to install the full offline versions of the Office programs. So, even if you don't have any internet access, you can load up a program like Word and carry on working as normal. Once there's connection to the internet, all of the changes are synced.

How You Benefit

Your remote workers are able to work as though they were present in the office. So when employees are at a conference for a few days or need an unexpected WFH day - they'll be able to carry on as normal.

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Real-Time Co-Authoring

Teams can collaborate with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Employees can see real-time edits or additions their colleagues are making to a document. It also saves each version automatically, so you can revert to older versions easily.

Sharing documents with other departments, team members or clients is also simple. There's no need to attach large files to emails. Simply copy and paste the URL and the recipient can access the documents at their end, in real time, at the same time as you.


Office 365 Co-Authoring

Via Microsoft Office Blog

How You Benefit

Quicker and simpler collaboration between employees and departments results in improved productivity. For example, your engineering and marketing department will be able to work together, weaving comments and content together, even though they might be located in different buildings. Employees don't need to go back and forth with each other: asking opinions, implementing changes then sending back for approval again. There's also no risk of two employees working simultaneously on a duplicated document.

Instead, they have instant engagement with each other.

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Team Chat Applications

Yammer is Office 365's integrated communication app. It's like a social media network for your organisation - the modern equivalent of MSN (remember that?) for private communication in your business.

It's a fantastic alternative to emailing as you can set up department specific groups, such as a marketing, sales or HR. This enables employees to chat within their department in their dedicated channel without interrupting colleagues to who it doesn't concern. 

How You Benefit

The main areas which you'll benefit in are team communication, productivity, knowledge sharing, company culture and employee engagement. 83% of Yammer users say that they feel more engaged with their co-workers and their company because of it. It also takes a big weight off your email inbox. Yammer means quick queries, document sharing and fast-paced conversations aren't lost in the mire that is the average worker's email inbox.

Although, that won't ever be a worry considering Office 365 plans come with either 1TB or unlimited storage, depending on the plan.

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Power Maps For Excel

Office 365 comes with a pretty cool, new Excel feature: Power Map. It allows you to turn geographic data from Excel into a map to easily discover and portray insights. It's a simple way to visually show performance across regions.


Office 365 Power Map

Via Microsoft Office Blog

How You Benefit

Speed. There's software out there that does this already (such as ArcGIS and QGIS ) but users found that this software takes hours of tweaking data to create anything this worthwhile. Excel's Power Map does it in under 5 minutes.

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External Users

When sharing your documents and files with those outside of your company, there are no external user limits. They can access them the same way they would as if you'd created the file in a desktop version of Microsoft Office.

In terms of users who are part of your account, Enterprise packages (of which there are three) have no user limit and smaller packages each allow up to 300 accounts to be registered.

How You Benefit

Collaboration with people outside your organisation is easy. You can see what clients are editing or what contributions a freelancer has made and all the revision history can be accessed if needs be. Even if an external user doesn't have an Office 365 subscription and you desperately need them to access a document, they can do this by accessing it through a web browser instead.

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Microsoft Planner With Workflows

This is Office 365 project management feature.

It allows businesses to create workflows for projects and assign the individual tasks in the flow over to people. Once an employee ticks that they have completed their section, it automatically assigns it over to the following employee who needs to work on it next. You can set due dates, so employees know the time frames and it gives them a calendar of to-dos.

It comes with dashboards so you can easily visualise where tasks are up to and analyse times and efficiencies.


Office 365 Planner with Workflows

Via Microsoft Office News

How You Benefit

Projects are organised with precision. Everything will run 10 times smoother. And if it doesn't - you'll know why.

It's a fantastic management tool. You'll easily be able to assess whether you have enough designers or technicians to begin a project or work out how long a project will take. Current users have said that Microsoft Planner has helped simplify their processes, too.

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Built-In Security

One of the most important factors in choosing a cloud-based service is security. Office 365 applications are accessed through 128-bit SSL/TSL encryption. It's one of the most secure encryption methods used in modern encryption algorithms and technologies.

It's considered to be logically unbreakable. It requires 2128 different combinations to break the encryption key which would take even the most powerful of current computers thousands of years to crack.

It also comes with its own built-in version of antivirus which scans your messages, documents and applications for malicious content and malware 24/7.

How You Benefit

Ransomware and other cyber crimes are a threat which is growing by the day. Having this level of encryption is one of the smartest plays a business can make in such a worrying cyber-climate. It's even safer when rolled into a suite of defences to help make sure your business is as safe as can be. To read more on this topic, check out our recent download which shows you how to protect yourself from attack.

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So those are some of the key Office 365 features and benefits. You can get stand-alone software that does most of these things, granted. But Office 365 means you don't need to continue juggling multiple applications.

Add in the fact that it's an interface and system which is trusted over the world, you can see why it's so popular.

Can't You Get This From Google G Suite Or Zoho Workplace?

It's always worth considering all your options. So, how does Office 365 hold up against Google's and Zoho's version? We've compiled a handy feature comparison to help you decide which one is best for you and this will be available shortly.

The truth is, G Suite and Zoho both offer lots of these features themselves. They even keep up with Microsoft on a couple of features. Our comparison sheet will show you where each platform shines.

Until it's ready, why not speak to somebody in our team to discuss which option is right for you. Or, if you prefer, take a look at our guide to ransomware protection.


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