When Office 365 made its debut in June of 2011, it was with scepticism that the market timidly embraced this new technology. Mainly the business community had yet to build trust in the Cloud, but another contributing factor was a general lack of understanding regarding Office 365 and widespread connectivity challenges, which either allowed for piecemeal adoption of Office 365 or simply rendered it ineffective from a performance perspective.
Fast-forward to 2018 and we see a very different set of circumstances. The business community no longer views cloud as an option but rather an inevitable strategic direction. Downward pressure on the cost associated with public Cloud options, with an increasing diversity, have also played a significant part in greasing the wheels of cloud adoption.
Office 365 has become the default option for Cloud for the majority of organisations where it is feasible. Recognising how vital it is to maintain a competitive edge and meet customers growing complex needs, Microsoft have consistently invested in the Office 365 suite. Today Office 365 provides an outstanding platform to ease the Cloud transition.
A not-too-insignificant bonus has been the increased attention given to SharePoint Online, which is without a doubt one of the most significant members of the Office 365 stable of products. SharePoint Online has resulted in organisations taking a serious look at their data, how it is being organised, accessed, and shared. The characteristic sighs of despair associated with convoluted file shares with version control problems and loss of meaningful usefulness are quickly replaced with sighs of relief when organisations begin to see how SharePoint online can effect a digital transformation and provide greater control mechanisms, reporting options and high accessibility. For many, it’s a dream come true!
Along with SharePoint Online, Office 365 includes the productivity suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher), Exchange Online, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer; all of which smoothly integrates with your network domain with robust security and protections. Storage allowances are very generous as well and each user has the freedom to use their respective Office 365 license to install the Office suite on up to five devices!
Microsoft uses a rolling release model, which means the updates on a quarterly basis are released to the service subscribers. This is not only limited to updates. Version upgrades are also applied, so you can always, should you choose to, be in the latest version of Microsoft Office for example.
In the latest round of releases, Microsoft introduced some impressive improvements. For those of you already using Office 365 in its various forms will welcome the new features.
- New feature: SharePoint news - aggregation into Microsoft Teams chat. It is now possible to post SharePoint news articles from within Teams sites from the channel for the group.
- New feature: OneDrive for Business Files Restore. You can now undo everything done in OneDrive for business within the last 30 days, deletion, and corruption of even Cryptolocker infections! However when version history is turned off, Files Restore will not be able to restore files to a previous version. This is a particularly significant feature.
- Updated feature: Microsoft Forms is now in General Availability. Microsoft Forms is a simple, lightweight app that lets you easily create surveys, quizzes, and polls.
- Updated feature: Improved search experience in SharePoint. This now has some smarts associated with basic Analytics based on Microsoft Graph and results will include people, list items and news.
Microsoft recently generously allowed me to test drive Office 365 personally (for a small fee) and I can attest to its intuitiveness and ease of use, further solidifying my confidence in its relevance in the market.
In summary, Office 365 is most certainly a very important solution. It is certainly fit for business in the vast majority of cases. In the very least, it provides a compliant software environment. If you would like to explore how the Cloud and Office 365 can take your business to the next level, give me a call for an obligation free assessment. Cloud is indeed for everyone, it is simply a case of when and who will help cement your transition to the Cloud.