Office 365 – More Than Email

David Johnson/August 15, 2018 Uncategorized
Office 365 Features & Tools

Let’s face it, Office 365 has a lot of features, and almost no one uses all of the available features.  Office desktop software – check, we’re using that.  Hosted Exchange email with calendars and mobile access to email – got it.  But Skype, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and other tools?  Not so much.

Implementing the full functionality of Office 365 requires a longer period of planning, discovery, and change management to understand how your business can effectively use these tools and improve employee productivity.

Many organizations start and stop with email because Microsoft makes it easy to migrate existing email and calendars.  End users really don’t see a functional difference once email is in the cloud.

What are the most common reasons for stopping at email and Ofice desktop software? This is what we hear from clients:

  • Don’t know what else Office 365 can do.
  • Unclear about what tools and features are a fit for their organization.
  • Other IT priorities.
  • Don’t have a clear understanding of the process and cost for implementing additional features.

Another common reason employees fail to see the value in the Office 365 tool set – all the free tools available to them.

The Cost of “Free” Tools
There’s no question – free tools are appealing to end users. Not only are they easy-to-use and already a part of their personal lives, but free options are tempting because they don’t involve working with your internal IT team. Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive – all of those are simple, “secure” tools in the eyes of a user, and don’t require IT to setup, manage or approve.

But “free” can come with a price. Free tools are great until you realize the security risk you’re introducing into your organization.

First, it’s hard to manage data in these tools. Many of these tools require a paid subscription to manage and govern. Individuals may have visibility into their content, but the organizations responsible for the data do not.

Second, it’s easy to slide down a slippery slope when it comes to intellectual property exposure, legal content management and compliance. Personal information stolen, compromised or hacked is one thing, but corporate theft could mean significant exposure and risk for the organization.

The good news is this – if you’ve licensed Office 365, you already have a set of tools that are on par with many of these free document collaboration tools. In addition, you have visibility into corporate use of data and sharing. Finally, you may already have sophisticated rights protection, and automated information protection.

If you want your employees to adopt this secure and compliant platform, you must help them see the value. Show them that the “free” tools only offer a stripped-down version of features they’ve grown to rely on in the Office suite. Remind them about this bonus piece: They only have to use one system to do it all.

Getting Started
To get started with Office 365, you need to fully understand capabilities of each tool in the suite to determine which tools will work for your organization.

Organizations we work with often complain that Office 365 has too much overlap in features and functions, which confuses users. Here are some examples of where confusion takes place:

  • I need to collaborate with a group of people on a project – Should I use Teams or Groups or Yammer? Or, is it better to use a SharePoint team site?
  • I want to schedule a weekly conference call with my team – Should I use Skype for Business or Teams?
  • I want to store my own files in Office 365 – Do I use OneDrive or SharePoint or both?

Because we know choosing the right tools and features can have a big impact on adoption, we want to help eliminate confusion and bring clarity.

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