Microsoft 365 (formerly Office), for most of us, has been a part of our lives for quite some time in fact, some don’t remember a time before it. Since the 1990’s its wide range of tools have helped us complete so many vital work functions. Those tools were – and still are – designed with the sole intention of improving our lives, both when working and at home. As you already know, Microsoft is one of the most recognised company names in the world, due to the sheer quality of its suite of tools. Everyone has used at least one of Microsoft’s core suite of tools at some point in their lives – by which we mean the exceedingly popular Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, and Outlook.
Throughout the following two articles we will explore 365 in detail and explain why it is a good idea to start using the tools it offers (if you aren’t already), and how – by using Cloud computing – you can drive your business forward to success with technology by your side.
Why Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 – as we have already explained – has proven itself for decades, its tools are unrivalled in functionality and ease of use, and businesses large and small swear by their tools just to keep the business running (as without them a lot of businesses would cease to exist). Most recently, Microsoft showed that their range of tools has been the key ingredient to enabling businesses to work throughout the pandemic, which would otherwise have been impossible for many. Their tools are catered perfectly to both on-premise working and the new and upcoming remote working teams that businesses are choosing to adopt all over the globe.
We will now take a brief look at some of the tools in the Microsoft suite for those of you that are unsure (or need reminding) of their abilities.
Microsoft Word, for a lot of us, has been a part of our lives since school and many of us remember drafting many essays on it. It is a word-processing tool that allows users to type up documents and complete written work. It is by quite some way the most popular programme of its type worldwide.
Another one that for many brings back memories of youth, PowerPoint presentations were a daily occurrence if you went to school in the early 2000’s. It is a presentation programme that allows you to design, create, and present your work to an audience. What it had in popularity back then has only improved as the years have gone by, and it remains an immensely popular programme -especially in large corporations that hold meetings with many team members at the same time.
Excel is a spreadsheet programme and – like the others – is a vastly popular tool. It is designed to organise data and predominantly perform financial analysis, although it has many uses depending on the size of your organisation.
Arguably the most popular of Microsoft’s tools is Outlook. We are sure you already know but for the few that don’t, it is an application that is mainly used to send and receive emails – but it has other uses too. It can also be used as a useful management tool for various types of personal data, including calendar appointments, tasks, and contacts.
These are just some of the most popular tools in the Microsoft suite that jettisoned Microsoft to the position it enjoys today.
Now that we have highlighted the incredible capabilities of Microsoft and the tools in its suite, let’s explore ways of getting even more value from them by using them within the Cloud.
What are the differences between traditional Office and Office in the Cloud?
We have explored the traditional Office above; now let’s delve deeper into Office in the Cloud.
Having only been established and released in 2017, Teams is relatively new to 365’s range of tools. However, since its conception it has rapidly been building momentum and increasing in popularity. Teams is a big part of daily functions for businesses all over the globe, and was a key driver in many organisations’ attempts at survival at the peak of the pandemic. Due to its ‘one size fits all’ style, Teams has amassed an astonishing daily user count of over 250 million people in over 181 countries around the globe! Teams is truly revolutionary, with features which are designed to promote collaboration, communication, and connectivity, and it does this perfectly.
SharePoint is a document management and storage system that integrates with 365. It is used as a secure place to store, organise, share, and access information from any device with a web browser. SharePoint can be used for many different things depending on the needs of your organisation – the product is highly configurable.
To-Do is a Cloud-based task management application; it gives you the opportunity to sort and manage your tasks from anywhere on any device.
Planner can be used within Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. It allows you and your team to create plans, assign tasks, and see charts on your team’s progress. You can even use it to chat with your team but it is recommended that you utilise Teams for online chats.
Why utilise the Cloud?
It is not enough for business owners to hear “Cloud computing is the future!” without explanation. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the Cloud is now the way forward.
The first – and most prominent – concern is cost. Many worry that an initial payment could potentially be very expensive. But, once having weighed it up, it becomes apparent that just by working on the Cloud you can save enormous amounts in expenses!
When undertaking project start-ups, for example, easy access to your company’s data will save time and money when it is hosted on the Cloud. Most cloud-computing services are pay as you go, fully managed IT services so there is no need to worry that you’ll end up paying for features that you neither need nor want. This is a major feature of Cloud computing. Of course we recommend you use it to its full potential – otherwise what was the point in getting it in the first place? But if that isn’t possible for whatever reason at least you won’t have to be wasting money on those aspects of it that you’re not using.
In today’s world of increased cyber criminality it is no surprise that most have security concerns when making the transition to Cloud computing. It can be a very nerve-racking situation, having all of your files, programmes, and other data not being kept onsite. For those that aren’t technically able or familiar with technology, the question they ask is a simple one “If it’s possible for me to remotely access it, what’s stopping a cyber criminal from doing the same?”
It is a fair question, because, on the surface, that is what it looks like, but a Cloud host’s job is to monitor security carefully at all times. This is carried out night and day in comparison to on-premise IT management where the time of the IT specialist is spread out and merely includes security as just one of the many different jobs they have to undertake. Also, when in the Cloud your data is encrypted automatically – this makes your information less accessible to hackers or to anyone that hasn’t been authorised to see the data.
The Cloud offers flexibility in more ways than one. An example of this is scaling; the Cloud allows you to do this freely, and will adapt with you by allowing you to scale the number of users, how much hardware you need, storage, or indeed anything else. This is revolutionary in comparison to traditional methods that require you to make a judgment call when choosing what is included in your plan. Traditionally, you would sign an expensive contract for IT support for your business at its current size, but that doesn’t help you in the modern world – businesses change overnight! You may be paying for a service you no longer use or a service that doesn’t meet your requirements.
In the next and final article we will explore how to drive your business forward using the Cloud to its full potential.
365 and the Cloud
4TC take time to understand the daily challenges that your business faces. We then provide cost-effective tech solutions to these issues that will help you save time, protect vital data, and enable you and your staff to be more effective with your time management. Alongside our proactive IT support, we will ensure that your staff are using the technology at their disposal in a way that works for them, whilst making sure that they are educated on how to use it as productively as possible. The right Cloud solution has the power to revolutionise your business forever – utilising your IT to its full potential is essential to guaranteeing that you and your business can thrive and grow into the future. If you would like to find out more on how 4TC Services can provide affordable tech management for your business, drop us an email or call us now for a full demonstration.
We’re 4tc Managed IT Services
4TC can support you with all your IT needs! We are trained professionals with years of experience and can guarantee you a service like no other.
We will give you and your business consistent attention – assuring that we do not only provide you with the best now but also continue to provide you with the best going into the future. We can act as either your IT department or to supplement an existing IT arrangement.
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