- All-in-one digital workspace
- Synchronization across various devices
- Free upgrades
- Wide range of useful apps
- 24/7 customer support
- Safe and reliable
- Subscription-based only
- No free version
With a solid reputation on the market since before remote work was so popular, Microsoft 365 remains a reliable reference for workplace productivity software. The entirely cloud-based platform offers businesses a comprehensive digital workspace with various collaboration and communication tools in one place. All files created with Microsoft 365’s apps, such as its three major components Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, are instantly saved on the cloud and synced across all devices. This means that the documents are always backed up and accessible from any device by any team member, not to mention that file links are available for sharing too. Microsoft 365 Business annual subscription plans start from $6 per user each month. What’s more, the platform is subscription-based, meaning there are no additional payments for updates or new versions of the software and its apps. But the best part is that there’s a 30-day free trial for users to thoroughly test the platform before committing.
Microsoft 365 reunites several different applications in one place. Once the software is set up, the apps can be installed all at once by clicking the handy ‘Install apps’ button on the top right corner of the dashboard. The apps help businesses increase productivity with outstanding collaboration, sharing, and communication tools.
For instance, Microsoft OneDrive allows users to safely store up to 1TB of data on the cloud. It automatically backs up and synchronizes saved documents to the cloud, so users can access any file from any device. This allows team members to work on documents collaboratively, as they can view and edit documents simultaneously. In addition, any changes made to the documents are instantly applied, so the files are always up-to-date. OneDrive also makes file sharing effortless, as sharing document links is possible instead of attaching files.
The communication app, Microsoft Teams, streamlines collaboration within an organization. It works almost like a company’s private social network, where team members can message each other, exchange files, make video calls, and even send occasional memes. It’s possible to record a call and save it on Microsoft Stream, where users are able to create channels to share videos or rewatch a recorded meeting. Additionally, a meeting invite is automatically sent to a user’s Outlook mailbox when a call is set up on Teams.
Speaking of mailboxes, the platform’s business-class email offers 50GB of space per user and the possibility to schedule appointments and set tasks. Moreover, it’s worth highlighting that any new version, upgrades, or security patches are always available with no additional costs.
In addition to improving productivity, Microsoft 365 offers superb features to help manage business workflow, from organizing finances to scheduling appointments. With the popular spreadsheet creator, Excel, teams can organize data, make quick calculations using formulas, and draw charts and graphs. Data can be presented in a slideshow using Microsoft PowerPoint or in an interactive report via Microsoft Sway. To help keep everything neat, Microsoft Planner is great for organizing and assigning tasks, as well as tracking project progress in real time.
There’s also Microsoft Bookings, a valuable tool to manage appointments inside and outside your organization. It allows users to create a custom booking page, schedule appointments between team members or customers, as well as send meeting reminders. Finally, the possibility to automate workflow with Power Automate is an excellent aspect of Microsoft 365. It lets users automate repetitive tasks between apps and services, such as instantly sending message follow-ups or creating a task in Planner based on an Outlook event. These apps undoubtedly help teams to work more efficiently, as everything they need in their workflow can be easily created, organized, accessed, and shared.
One of the best ways for managers and leaders to have an overview of their teams’ projects with Microsoft 365 is through the Delve app. It shows insights and relevant information about the documents your team is working on, like how many times the document was viewed, who opened it recently, and how long ago
To ask for feedback and improvement suggestions, team leaders can use the intuitive and easy-to-access Microsoft Forms to create surveys and questionnaires. The generated form can be shared with anyone, and the results are available as soon as people respond. Another useful Microsoft 365 feature is Power Apps, a development tool used to build web and mobile device apps without coding.
But companies can also benefit from using the digital note-taking app, Microsoft OneNote, and the daily activities tracker, Microsoft To Do, to remember key information and stay organized at work.
An excellent and handy aspect of Microsoft 365 is that it’s available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, instantly syncing and seamlessly working across all of them. Although it doesn’t provide dedicated software for Linux, these users can still use the program through its online version. This means that users can, for example, start working on a file using their computer and finish it using their smartphone or tablet. It’s all just a matter of connecting their Microsoft 365 to their preferred device.
The apps are compatible with mobile devices, so the user experience on mobile apps is quite similar to that on a computer. However, it’s worth noting that there are a few apps that can only be accessed using a PC, such as Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Access. Still, the great thing about Microsoft 365 for Business is that users can install the apps on up to five computers, five tablets, and five smartphones.
Ease of Use
Microsoft 365’s tools provide a consistent experience to users, making it possible to organize content and share files intuitively. The dashboard’s layout is well-designed and easy to navigate, neatly displaying the files users are working on and dividing them into recently opened, shared, or favorites.
It’s also possible to add a filter according to type or location of a file as well as people who owns or has shared it, so users can use this categorization to suit their needs. There’s a handy tab to instantly create documents, presentations, quizzes, lists, and more, not to mention that users can choose from plenty of templates.
All apps are also displayed in the dashboard and divided into logical categories. Moreover, the dashboard can be personalized with several options of pre-set themes, allowing users to customize their digital workspace with the color or design they like.
The company takes security seriously and adopts reliable safety measures, such as anti-phishing, antispam, and antimalware protection to protect everyone’s data. Multi-factor authentication is also available, which is essential to prevent hackers from accessing your account if they have your password. The Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan even offers advanced tools for defense against cyber threats, such as Microsoft Defender for Office 365, providing sophisticated phishing and ransomware protection.
Although not cheap, the costs for Microsoft 365 Business plans are fair considering everything it offers. The plans are subscription-based only, with prices for annual commitment payments representing a 15% discount compared to the monthly ones. For $6 per user each month, the Basic plan grants users access to web and mobile versions of the apps with 1TB cloud storage and standard security included. The software can also be tested for free for 30 days, which helps users decide between a monthly or an annual subscription before fully committing.
The Standard plan offers the desktop versions of all the apps, including additional tools like Access & Publisher. It’s the perfect choice for small businesses that are fine with having just standard security. But if your company needs more, the Premium plan offers everything in Business plus advanced security with Azure Information Protection and advanced cyberthreat protection.
If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, there’s the possibility to subscribe to Microsoft 365 Apps For Business for just $8.5 per user each month. However, keep in mind that it’s limited to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, Access, and Publisher. Still, Microsoft 365 Apps For Business comes with 1TB of cloud storage per user and standard security.
Microsoft 365 offers excellent customer support, as online and phone support is available 24/7 for account administrators. For online support, users can ask for help through the admin center, where solutions to various types of issues are at their disposal.
It’s also possible to request to be contacted by phone or email, which saves customers from waiting to speak with an agent. Phone support is available from Monday to Friday during working hours for billing matters and 24 hours every day for technical support.
Additionally, many tutorials, videos, and documentation are available on the company’s website to help users with everyday technical or usage issues. If that isn’t enough, support plans starting from $5 per user each month are available for purchase, which offer training for Microsoft 365 cloud services, fast and easy ticketless assistance, and more.
With a consistent track record, it’s safe to say that Microsoft 365 is a trustworthy software. Its reliability, security, and constant upgrades are indispensable to the technological corporative world. The all-in-one platform helps businesses increase productivity with collaboration and communication apps that work seamlessly across all devices.
Users don’t have to worry about losing their files, as everything is always backed up to the cloud in real time and can be easily accessed and shared. Although the software may seem pricey, the wide range of features and tools offered are worth every penny.
In addition, the 30-day free trial can help you decide if it’s the right productivity software for your business. With up-to-date and easy-to-use apps, significant security measures, and superb customer support, Microsoft 365 can transform any company into an amazing and collaborative digital workspace.
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