Tech Talk - Using Office 365 to manage your business
By David Shinn
I have migrated many of my small business clients over to the Microsoft Office 365 environment. Office 365 is a family of products that help small business owners manage their business by providing Office software tools, business email management, file storage and workgroup communication. Working a simple migration plan will get all your current Outlook data into the Office 365 environment… and limit losing any email in the transition. You can order and setup your account online at www.Office365.com.
Over the years, I have seen many companies offer different pieces of the business puzzle to help a business owner manage their organization and staff. I feel that Microsoft is the first company to successfully put all of those business puzzle pieces together to provide a total management/communication system under one roof.
There are many Office 365 programs, but I will focus on the Office 365 Business Premium offering in this article. The Office 365 Business Premium program is $12.50 per month (with an annual commitment), per user. Using your Office 365 Dashboard, you can easily add/remove users and program licenses.
This is what is included:
1) Desktop versions of Office applications
Fully-installed and always up-to-date versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote for Windows or Mac (plus Access and Publisher for PC’s). Each user can install the Office apps on up to 5 PCs or Macs.
2) Mobile versions of Office applications
Each user can install the Office apps on up to 5 phones and 5 tablets.
3) Web versions of Office applications
Web versions of Microsoft Office are also included with real-time co-authoring so multiple users can work in the same document, simultaneously.
4) Email & calendaring
Use business-class email through a rich and familiar Outlook experience you can access from your desktop, mobile phone or a web browser. You get a 50 GB mailbox per user and can send attachments up to 150 MB. You can link your domain name to your Office 365 account to continue your brand recognition
The nice thing about working in the Exchange environment over a standard POP3 email account is that all your data (email, contacts, calendar, tasks) are in the Microsoft Cloud. Each device you connect to your account views a consistent display of data. If you update a calendar event on one device, it will automatically be updated on all other devices.
Each user has a personal calendar. But, you can also create a separate business calendar that all users can view, but only an Admin user can update. This helps better manage meetings, corporate events and projects.
5) File storage & sharing
OneDrive for Business gives each user 1 TB of OneDrive storage that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. Easily share documents with others inside and outside your organization and control who can see and edit each file.
6) Teamwork & communication
Communicate using messaging, voice calls, and video calls, and let people know your availability with your online status. Share presence, messaging, and audio calling with Skype users.
7) Tools to build & manage your business
Manage schedules and daily staff work tasks with Microsoft StaffHub. Create email marketing campaigns to build customer loyalty and get new customers with Microsoft Connections. Have real-time, accurate mileage tracking and reporting in the palm of your hand with MileIQ.
8) Security & compliance
Protect your email against spam, malware, and known threats with Exchange Online Protection. EOP meets key international, regional, and industry-specific standards and terms, with more than 1,000 security and privacy controls. Control who and when someone has access to your business information with security groups and custom permissions.
Microsoft also has programs for non-profit organizations. The same Office 365 Business Premium for non-profit organizations is just $3.00 per month, per user. TechSoup manages all the non-profit products for Microsoft. They can be reached at 800-659-3579 or visit www.TechSoup.org. Please note they have limited phone support hours of 7am-Noon PST.
The setup process through TechSoup is a bit convoluted… call us for a quick setup punch-list, if needed.
Support for the Microsoft Office 365 environment is absolutely awesome. Through your Dashboard you can request a call. Within 15 minutes a tech support professional will call you to help with your setup issue or problem. They can also remote connect to your computer to show you how to navigate through your Dashboard options.