Productivity is the great goal of business. If you’re a Microsoft 365 user, you have access to a tool that can easily increase your process efficiency. Here’s what you need to know about Microsoft’s Power Automate.
Many business tools are moving to the cloud. One popular option is Microsoft 365, formerly known as Office 365. This unified platform consolidates Excel, Word, and PowerPoint with collaboration and communication tools. Added apps and services help streamline operations, too. Simplifying your IT infrastructure can also cut costs and reduce duplication of effort. Still, when you’re leveraging the convenience of Microsoft 365, data backup is your job.
When doing business online, you have many options for available software and systems. You might turn to one solution to handle online meetings, another to drive collaboration, and yet another to manage your content and workflow. It can get confusing. Plus, when you are duplicating tools, IT spend can mushroom unnecessarily. Microsoft 365 aims to offer a single, all-in-one solution. This article highlights the benefits of streamlining your software needs.
Microsoft 365 represents a complete shift in the way we interact with modern business computing. If you haven't been introduced to it yet, now could be the time. Similar to the Microsoft Office desktop package that businesses have relied on for decades; Microsoft 365 does even more to provide the critical tools you need to modernize your business environment and take control of your business.
Built with the cloud in mind, Microsoft 365 allows you to access and modify your documents from any computer, tablet, or smartphone worldwide. These same cloud capabilities bring benefits to collaboration too. Groups and teams can work on a single document or group of files at the same time to maximize productivity and save time ahead of tight deadlines.
Safety, accessibility, and productivity are some of the amazing benefits Microsoft 365 has introduced to modern business. Each one has clear, but obvious benefits that can be applied.
This article breaks down the less obvious, but equally important aspects of Microsoft 365 that could apply within your firm. These features, unique to cloud-ready office packages, allow you to regain and maintain control of your business in any working environment.
Bringing You Additional Resources
There are times on projects where you need to collaborate with external
contractors. Whether utilizing a skilled sales copywriter, data entry
processor, or extra software developer; your business should be able to make
full use of a boost in manpower when it needs it. To do this, you need to
provide access to internal resources and systems.
For many of us, 2021 can’t come soon enough, and we're hoping next year will be a better one. One way to get the best start in the new year? Take the time now to review business technology. There are several areas that you might improve to support 2021 success.
First, look at your website. In this digital age, your business website is your calling card to the world. It is where your prospects and customers will go to learn more and buy your product or service. Yet many business websites are at least a few years old. That won’t do these days. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, your buyers are making a decision about your brand based on your website. If your website looks a decade old, they’re going to doubt you’re on top of your game.
When reviewing your website, priorities should be:
- ease of site navigation – people have a low tolerance searching for information online;
- mobile responsiveness – depending on industry, more than 60% of website visits are from mobile devices;
- call to action – you’re making it clear what you want people to do on your site;
- visual appeal – if it doesn’t look good, your credibility will be damaged;
- search engine optimization – are you doing all you can to get people to your site?
- security – customers care more and more about data security and privacy.
Updates in the Office Environment
Of course, there are still people who will pick up a phone and call a business. Traditional phone systems are the reliable business workhorse. But settling for a plain old phone system could mean you’re missing out on a lot. Modern digital phone systems offer you access to a wide range of useful features. With a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone system, businesses of any size can get enterprise-level features. These include:
- interactive voice response (IVR) systems (e.g. "Press 1 to speak to sales, 2 to speak to tech support … etc.”;
- call queuing that helps distribute incoming calls to the right party;
- call recording that helps you track compliance, and provides training and sales script intel;
- local phone numbers, free in-network calling, and consistent international-rate plans.
Also in the office, there may still be employees signing in to desktop workstations running Windows 7. This operating system reached “end of life” on January 14, 2020. That means Microsoft is no longer updating the software. Hackers know that, too, so sticking with the old system could make you vulnerable to cyberattack.
There are millions of Microsoft 365 users globally. Businesses rely on the software to power email, drive productivity, and connect to colleagues. Forms is another great tool for users of Microsoft 365.
In April 2020, Office 365 became Microsoft 365. The value of the software suite to communication and collaboration remains intact. A Microsoft 365 subscription provides Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and other useful applications. Those are the familiar options.
But Microsoft is always evolving its cloud-based services. Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace integrating people, content, and tools. There's also a To-Do application, Flow for managing notifications, and Power Bi Pro analytics. That's to name just a few.
Another good one to get comfortable with? Microsoft Forms.
Microsoft 365 Forms Makes Data Collection Easier
Microsoft Forms allows your business to create surveys, generate quizzes, conduct polls, and capture data.
The use of mobile devices is becoming standard in business. Smartphones and tablets have taken their place as tools your employees want to use. Whether for communication or collaboration, expect people to have mobile devices at hand. To make this work, your business needs mobile device management, that’s where Microsoft Intune can help.
More work is getting done in the cloud, especially with more people working remotely. Employees want to be able to access the same applications and data they’d get on a desktop or laptop, right there on the device in their hands, wherever they may be.
This presents a security challenge. When all devices connecting to a work environment are on-site, it’s easier to control the connections. The business could put “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies in place to control:
- what devices employees use to connect;
- how much access they have when connecting;
- what applications they can use on devices connected to the business network.
Still, mobile device management software can benefit your business. You’ll be able to reduce IT workload, improve experience, enable greater efficiency, and reduce risk.
Cloud-based Mobile Device Management with Intune
Microsoft Intune offers cloud-based mobile device management (MDM). This enterprise security offering combines MDM and mobile application management (MAM).
Are you still using Office 2010? It may have served you well over the past decade, but this software reached its end of life in 2020. It’s time to upgrade. Here’s why and what to consider.
Software has a typical life span, after which the manufacturer turns its resources to supporting a more recent release. Support for Office 2010 ended on October 13, 2020. Microsoft no longer provides tech support, or bug or security fixes. That means there’s no protection from harmful viruses, spyware, or other malicious software. The software won’t be updated, and there’s no more phone or chat support if you run into trouble.
Cybercriminals know that Office 2010 users are on their own. They’re on the lookout for businesses relying on this legacy software. Without updates, you risk opening a document designed to leverage an unpatched exploit.
What can you do?
Move your business computers to one of the more modern Microsoft software offerings. You can choose to upgrade to the latest version of Office as a one-time purchase, or buy a Microsoft 365 subscription to the latest features, security updates, and other improvements.
The currently available version of Office, Office 2019, is available for PC or Mac. You can install Office only on one device, and you’ll get support and fixes during its lifecycle period only. New features aren’t offered.
Accountants, dog groomers, and physiotherapists didn’t get into business to manage bookings. You want to be working on the thing you enjoy doing, not fussing with phone calls and emails, trying to schedule times for clients to come in. That’s where Microsoft 365 Bookings comes in handy.
Bookings is an add-on to your Microsoft 365 Business plan. It allows you to manage appointments online with a custom webpage, one you can even integrate with Facebook!
Consider Bookings if you:
- still do paper bookings;
- regularly interrupt your workday to schedule appointments;
- make mistakes with appointments (e.g. double-booking or getting the time wrong);
- your client contact list is a mess;
- a receptionist sounds great, but you can’t afford one.
How Bookings Works
Bookings takes your business appointment management to a new level of professionalism. It’s easy:
- Create a custom-branded, public-facing calendar (or more than one for different needs).
- Customers can access the Bookings site 24/7.
- Customers find and book appointments.
- Bookings sends a confirmation email and calendar invitation.
- Customers can reschedule or cancel through Bookings if they must.
- Bookings tracks all confirmations, reminders, and changes for you.
If you need a down payment or have other custom fields to add, that’s easy to do in Bookings. You can also manage internal and external calendars, or set up different staff details and appointment specifics.
Mobile, remote workforces still need tools to share and collaborate with one another. Business teams want to work together and get the job done efficiently. Microsoft SharePoint helps make that happen.
SharePoint is used in science and education, law and government, finance, computers, electronics, and technology verticals. Its largest market share globally is in the United States. Other top markets are Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
If you’re subscribing to one of Microsoft 365’s business plans, you already have access. SharePoint is Microsoft’s document management and collaboration tool. Users, wherever they are, connect to SharePoint through their own browser. SharePoint streamlines the process of tracking workflow and documents. But that’s not all that the platform offers.
SharePoint Core Features
Businesses gain several benefits from using SharePoint.
- Collaboration. Now, you can store documents in a folder on a server. SharePoint lets you create workflows, see document history, track file access, and more.
2. Organization. SharePoint greets users with a screen that shows: