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IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.office.com/

There are numerous suites of apps that can improve your productivity. One of them is Office 365, which features an array of underappreciated tools.

Office 365 has helped millions of organizations streamline their operations. One of the most famous examples involves Kohler, the manufacturer of kitchen and bath fixtures and plumbing. 

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, they struggled to manage operations since most of their team had to work remotely. The company had to adjust its activities to stay true to its values. 

That’s where Office 365 came into play. 

It helped them deliver personalized training in a short period. Their employees gained access to curated podcasts, Q&A sessions, micro-learning videos, and renowned experts. All of which helped them become more comfortable with their new suite of apps. 

Over time, the platform also enabled them to overcome the limitations of cultures, languages, and time zones with different tools. 

For instance, they used Teams to mobilize professionals who shared insights into worldwide markets. Likewise, SharePoint facilitated the movement of over 400 terabytes of directories, expediting customer communication and support. The enterprise also enhanced its security and device deployment, creating a seamless culture of agility and productivity. 

It’s worth mentioning that Office 365 isn’t just suitable for large companies like Kohler. Any business leader can leverage this productivity suite to increase productivity. The reality is that many of these tools are underused and underappreciated. 

This article will highlight some of the top Office 365 tools you should consider implementing in your business. 

THE TOOLS

TOOL #1 – FLOW

Microsoft Flow enables you to automate your workflow across various applications. You can connect it to instant message and email alerts, synchronize files from different apps or copy them from one platform to another. 

For example, if you fill out a SharePoint form, you can use Flow to develop a lead in Dynamics 365. 

Best of all, the tool isn’t limited to Microsoft Services. It lets you extract data from Facebook or upload files to Dropbox. The result is higher productivity through improved connections. 

TOOL #2 – TEAMS

Teams is a meeting, sharing, and chatting hub for your team. This cloud-based platform combines notes, files, conferences, and several apps in real-time. 

The program has dramatically improved collaboration and productivity, bringing people, content, and conversations together into a single hub. It integrates effortlessly with Office 365 apps and features a secure global cloud. 

Another tremendous benefit is real-time communication. It lets all members watch edits in PowerPoint presentations, ensuring input from the entire team. Users can also provide feedback using the chat window to streamline productivity. 

In addition, Teams supports cross-platform cooperation, allowing you to work on your phone, tablet, or computer.

TOOL #3 – TO-DO

Microsoft To-Do is a smart task management platform that facilitates planning throughout your day. Not to mention it delivers a personalized and intuitive way to help users stay organized. 

It comes with a robust algorithm that lets you create lists for nearly anything, such as your home projects, work, and grocery shopping. 

Keeping track of reminders is effortless with To-Do. You can add reminders, notes, and due dates while personalizing them with vivid themes. Aside from viewing them on the web, these lists are also accessible on most devices, including Android phones, iPhones, and Windows 10 devices. 

TOOL #4 – MYANALYTICS

Although teams spend much of their time in meetings, talking on the phone, and sending emails, they still may not be very productive. To overcome this obstacle, Office 365 introduced MyAnalytics. 

This tool increases employee efficiency by analyzing two productivity factors: who users spend their time with and how they spend it. 

Using robust analytics, the tool suggests how you can be more productive by working less after-hours and reducing idle meeting time. There’s also AI that flags your Outlook commitments to remind you of your daily duties. 

MyAnalytics consists of four components: 

  • Digests – Your Outlook inbox stores weekly digests to highlight the previous week. 
  • Dashboard – The dashboard displays various statistics like productivity insights, work habits, and suggestions on improving them. 
  • Insights Outlook – This feature presents cards that show your work experience and allow you to respond in many ways. 
  • Inline Suggestions – These suggestions are available in your Outlook to help boost productivity.

Also, Microsoft considered your privacy when designing this tool. That’s why you’re the only one who can access your personal insights and data.

TOOL #5 – VIVA

Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform that helps to improve learning, well being, and collaboration in the workplace. The tool consists of four modules: Viva Topics, Viva Connections, Viva Insights, and Viva Learning. 

Viva Topics gathers and organizes content and knowledge around any topic in a business using  Microsoft Graph and AI. 

Viva Connections works as a SharePoint app within Teams, allowing you to share curated news and articles with your employers.

Viva Insights provides insight into employees’ work patterns that can cause stress and burnout, such as meeting overload and regular after-hours work. The app enables managers to help their teams find a balance between well being and productivity.

Viva Learning is a learning hub in Teams that makes it easy for you to share learning content and training resources across your business.

TOOL #6 – DELVE

This is a nifty visualization tool that incorporates social media elements and social learning. It utilizes content from four platforms: Exchange, SharePoint, Yammer, and One Drive, 

However, it doesn’t aggregate your data points only. Instead, it detects relevant information like user activity and past interactions. 

TOOL #7 – SWAY

IMAGE SOURCE: https://sway.office.com/

Sway is a presentation app that might someday replace PowerPoint. It boasts an integrated design engine to produce appealing presentations and reports. 

Some of the features include dragging and dropping images, charts, videos, and canvas-based formats. The program can also produce newsletters and stories that can be viewed on various devices.

TOOL #8 – PLANNER

Microsoft Planner is an excellent choice for companies with team members all over the globe and multiple simultaneous projects. The tool can rapidly digitize your task management processes. 

It gives users access to visual organization tools and four key functions: information hub, insights, communication, and flexible categorizations. Also, it enables team members to share files, create plans, assign and assemble tasks, and converse with co-workers while receiving progress updates. 

REINVIGORATE YOUR BUSINESS’S WORK ENVIRONMENT

Taking your operations to new heights is all about creating an agile and productive workplace. And Office 365 can help you achieve this with a wide range of communication and collaboration tools. 

Whether your team works remotely or in-office, this suite of apps can dramatically improve project management. And Kohler’s example is proof of this.

That said, a subpar IT provider can impede your integration with Office 365. 

If you feel your vendor isn’t delivering the necessary results, give Databranch a call at 716-373-4467 x 15 or email us at: info@databranch.com.

We can schedule a quick chat and come up with the perfect solution to your business’s IT difficulties to save you from a lot of stress. 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Recently, a few of our Office 365 Exchange Online clients have been receiving correspondence from Microsoft concerning the version of Outlook they are using. The message is Outlook 2007 and 2010 are out of mainstream support and their users might start experiencing reduced functionality. In this post, I’ll answer the two biggest questions we have been receiving from our clients, “What does this mean for me? and What do you recommend I do?”

What does the end of mainstream support for Outlook 2010 mean for my organization?

In general, there are two levels of end of support Microsoft products move into: End of Mainstream Support and End of Extended Support. When a product enters into the end of mainstream support it means Microsoft will no longer be releasing any non-security updates or new software design changes. The program will still function and is not a security risk to your network since Microsoft keeps releasing security fixes until the End of Extended Support date but because new features will not be added the software may not be as compatible with newer programs like Office 365 Exchange Online which is constantly being updated and improved to provide the highest level of service to subscription customers. This is why Microsoft is urging clients using their hosted email platform to upgrade their Outlook clients. Even though you will still be able to use Office 365 and connect to the platform for email, your experience will diminish over time and Microsoft won’t provide code fixes to resolve non-security related problems.

What does Databranch recommend our clients to do?

We recommend that organizations start upgrading their Outlook to a client that is still in Mainstream Support like Outlook 2013 or 2016 or start budgeting for Office upgrades. Like Windows 7, Outlook 2010 will be in Extended Support until 2020 and all users will want to be upgraded prior to the end of support date in October of that year.

Is your organization looking to migrate your email platform to Office 365? Databranch is a Microsoft Certified Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions Provider and is ready to assist with your migration. A Databranch Cloud Solutions specialist can be reached at 716-373-4467 ext. 15, info@databranch.com, or click here to get started.

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