Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 (aka Office 365) is a suite of business software, including both cloud services and the desktop apps most of us are familiar with like Word and Excel. Getting started with these tools – especially the cloud services – often requires some expert help.

That’s where I come in. If you need help with migration, configuration, training, or ongoing maintenance, please be in touch.

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Email

For most organization, the starting point into Microsoft 365 is email. Microsoft offers a very comprehensive enterprise-quality solution. It’s fast and has loads of features, great security, and is tied to the same username and password that you use for other tools. Aside from the features for individual users, Microsoft 365 offers other mail-related features like distribution lists for bulk messages and shared mailboxes for when you need multiple people to be able to access the same email.

Content and Collaboration: SharePoint and Teams

Are you looking to modernize your workplace content storage and collaboration tools? SharePoint and Teams are a great combination. SharePoint provides the file backbone, while Teams is the hub for your users to collaborate.

There are a lot of different components to SharePoint and Teams. Some of those are touched on in blogs on this site. Not every organization or person within that organization will use the tools the same way. The most important thing is to have a plan before you start using it. Don’t simply start using it see what happens; that is a recipe for disaster. You need a plan and that needs to be clearly communicated to your users with training.

And More…

There’s a lot more included in Microsoft 365, such as:

  • Planner for group task management or Project for more powerful project management
  • Yammer, the enterprise social network
  • Power Apps for developing and using your own business process apps
  • Power Automate for no-code or low-code automated processes
  • Forms for public-facing forms like surveys or quizzes

This is not a comprehensive list and the features of Microsoft 365 are regularly changing. If you’re looking for a specific solution, there’s a reasonable chance that something in Microsoft 365 can do it.

Packages

As with the features themselves, the licensing packages are regularly evolving. The base packages come down to:

  • If you only want email, there are two different Exchange Online pricing options to consider.
  • Microsoft Office Business Basics includes: email, calendar, tasks, web conferencing, Teams communication and collaboration, Yammer (a corporate social network), 1 TB of cloud storage per user, SharePoint intranet, Office apps online, and the digital storytelling app Sway. That’s a lot for only a bit more than the basic email-only plan.
  • The Microsoft Office Business Premium package offers everything in the Business Basics package plus always keeping the newest versions of Microsoft Office for PC, Mac, or mobile.
  • E1, E3, and E5 provides wider enterprise tools such as Teams live events, more intensive security and compliance features, and a higher limit on the allowed number of users.

Note: if you are a qualifying non-profit, you can apply for some services for free (as high as E1) and others at a discount.

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