What is Office 365?

A comprehensions online platform of cloud products by Microsoft that interact with each other

So you have probably heard of 365 but are a little vague on what it is? Don’t be, we hear it all the time.  Historically, Microsoft Office products such as Word and Excel were delivered via a DVD disk where you installed the product and entered a license key.  Similarly, collaboration services such as Exchange for email and SharePoint document management were installed and maintained on servers inside your organisation.  Files and folders were kept on the same servers accessible for  everyone in the organisation to access.

Then along came the Cloud and Microsoft has practically reinvented itself because of this. Cloud simply means the delivery of software and services online. That’s all the cloud is in a commercial sense, a distribution channel for services and intangible products.  You now download the software, and services are hosted via website instead of installed on servers in the office. The whole thing was made possible with the advent of high speed Internet and bandwidth, which  empowered websites to respond quickly and efficiently to user input and number crunching.

Everyday consumers now purchase Microsoft Office such Word , Excel PowerPoint etc. either directly on line or in retail stores.  In stores product is simply activation key (numbers) over packaged on a plastic card  enclosed cardboard envelope. They simply  log on to office.com, enter the key, then download their copy and install in on the computer. This new service falls under the banner Office 365

Click on any of the links above to find a description of the 365 product in layman’s terms with a link to Microsoft for further information. Or scroll and browse the services below.

SharePoint Online

SharePoint
Online

Teams

Teams

Microsoft Yammer

Yammer

Microsft Exchange Online

Exchange Online

Power Bi

Power Bi

Microsoft Flow

Flow

Microsoft PowerApps

PowerApps

Microsioft Delve

Delve

Microsft Kaizala

Kiazala

Microsoft Stream

Stream

Microsoft Skype for Business

Skype for
Business

Microsoft Planner

Premier e-mail service with Exchange online

Check the host of features on Exchange for email.

Connect with Outlook

Connect to your Exchange mailbox with Microsoft Office Outlook on PC and Macs. Mailboxes e comes with 50 GB of mailbox storage for each user, with an additional 50 gigs storage using in-place archive now kept online. No more messy archive PST  file to look after. Depending on your subscription, you can have unlimited archive storage.

Go mobile

Take email on the go. Exchange Online supports mobile access for all phones and tablets  that have the ability to receive email including Apple iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry devices. You have full synchronisation with email, calendars, contacts, tasks and even notes

Built in protection

Gain peace of mind knowing all Exchange mailboxes come with Exchange Online Protection that includes premier anti-malware and anti-spam protection. Exchange now has advanced protection against spoofing and managing message reputation.

Check email online

Don’t have your computer with you? Check and send mail from anywhere with an internet connection on any computer using the Outlook Web Application. Users have full access to inboxes, calendars, and contacts in any web browser.

Share Outlook Mailboxes, Calendars and Contacts

Eliminate the need to ask a colleague about their availability for your next meeting. Exchange Online gives users the power to share their Outlook Calendars with their teams. Entire mailboxes can be shared with other team members which can invaluable for example to personal assistants managing schedules and appointments.

Keep inboxes un-cluttered

Exchange Online uses an In-Place Archive that automatically places old messages into an archive for the user to view at their convenience, keeping the inbox clear for recently added and important messages.

Multiple email addresses and shared mailboxes

You are not limited top one email address per user. Users can have as many alternative email addresses known as Alias’s. There is also the shared mailbox feature which allows you to have secondary mailboxes that do not require a license. A typical use for these are generic addresses such as accounts@mydomain.com.au or info@mydomain.com.au

The new Outlook 2019 option of Dark Mode. Click on the image to enlarge.

Outlook Web App or OWA which can be viewed in all popular browser. Click on the image to enlarge

Hold on to edited and deleted Mail

The In-Place Hold feature allows the user to keep deleted and edited messages from the mailbox. Deleted items which can be retained for up to 6 months before permanently deleted

Avoid data loss

Avoid losing sensitive business data with data loss prevention (DLP) policies based on regulatory standards including Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and Payment Card Industry (PCI) that protect sensitive data.

 

SharePoint Online

Customisable document management system

SharePoint Online is a web based system that stores and manage documents in a cloud environment. It provides logical listing of folders and documents that are easily searched and managed. Documents can be efficiently shared with colleagues, partners, and customers for collaboration, and the system maintains historical versions of all changes. Because SharePoint is web based, you can access your information from any location with a notebook, tablet or mobile phone.
SharePoint hosts a number of additional features including integration with other 365 apps such as Flow and PowerApps for forms. Using meta tags and e-discovery, it can correlate data collection and generate reports and implement compliance policies. SharePoint is not designed to be a fully functional Customer Relations Management system (CRM), though it comes close in some respects. CRM systems are expensive and can be complex to learn and train staff. Many companies don’t require the power of CRM and the cost of propriety designed systems are not feasible. In this sense SharePoint bridges the gap between the the limitations of the conventional flat folder structure in a server environment, and the benefits of cloud flexibility

Document Management
The foundation of SharePoint is efficient document management and storage. Traditionally documents, images and other files are kept in folders on servers. This would typically end in mass arrays of folders and sub folders accumulating over years making it difficult to locate files and duplication. Collaboration usually meant sending copies back and forth via email, resulting in a trail of confusing versions.

To best summarise SharePoint we coin the phrase ‘The document stays put’ and never leaves it’s original location. It is shared from that location by sending links of the document to others from within the portal and maintains a timeline of changes with easily retrieved versions of that document available as it changes and grows over time. For example, if important information has been accidentally deleted from a spreadsheet, the historical versions can be traced and retrieved with a few clicks of

Users can also configure alerts on a document library to receive a notification when changes are made. Documents can be checked out to prevent issues with multiple people editing the same file, though co-authoring (multiple users editing the same file simultaneously)

SharePoint Apps and Lists
A SharePoint list is a collection of data that you can share with team members and other site users. You’ll find SharePoint provides a number of ready-to-use lists and list templates to provide a good starting point for organizing list items. Users can also configure alerts on a document library to receive a notification when changes are made. Documents can be checked out to prevent issues with multiple people editing the same file, though co-authoring (multiple users editing the same file simultaneously)

Security and Compliance
SharePoint documents are based on libraries, folder and contents (files). Users are organised into groups with permissions based on one what they can see, read and edit. If a folder and its contents are denied access to particular group or person, they cannot even see the folder in question. They can read a document but cannot change it, and users can be prevented from emptying the recycle bin. Version history displays information on who last edited the document.

Microsoft Teams

A single place to manage files and communications

Office 365 provides robust email services with Exchange, document management with SharePoint, and audio visual commutation with Skype for business and Yammer for socials posts. Missing was a central platform where all of these functions could be merged into a single desktop work space at a fraction of the price of CRM platforms such as Slack. Enter Microsoft Teams.

The components of  Teams and what they do

You designate a team to manage a project which could be a major marketing campaign  or organising the office Christmas party and you assign a group of people to manage that project. Traditionally that would be done using a combination of email messages between members, storing and locating files in shared folders and telephone calls. That approach been replaced with a single interface that handles project collaboration and communication in one simple interface.

In Microsoft Teams you simply create a team with the project title and add the members. Members can then add posts on the subject as you would using Facebook, gather files in one place, open chats with one another, make audio and video call with each other and schedule appointments. Email messages can be even be dropped into posts based on relevance. And all of this can be done from any geographic location, with a Team member in Auckland corroborating with other members in Brisbane – on a PC or Mac, tablet or mobile phone.

Divide Teams in channels
The project can be divided up into channels, as many as you want. Each channel maintains its own file locations and post relevant to that element of the project. This makes it easy for the Teams to manage the various elements and task at hand

Divide Teams in channels
The project can be divided up into channels, as many as you want. Each channel maintains its own file locations and post relevant to that element of the project. This makes it easy for the Teams to manage the various elements and task at hand.

Create conversations and post content
As with social media platforms conversations can be created in the channels with posts grouped together maintaining a timeline of events. This does away with the cumbersome email trails and missing attachments.
Store and share relevant files to channel
Leveraging  SharePoint technologies, Teams allow members to group and share documents in a single location. Like SharePoint, documents can be easily shared co-authored, apply alerts and maintain version history.

Chat
Chat allows members to  ask simple questions and converse informally with out picking up the telephone. Chat history is maintain for reference if required

Audio Calls
Leveraging Skype technologies, members can conduct audio calls with each other on their computers including conferencing with multiple members. This can include external organisations and partners.

Video Conferencing
Similarly video calls can be made between member again including conferencing audio visual conference calls. Teams can easily be deployed in the board room with the screen divided up to include all participants. This to can include external organisations and partners.