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5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Office 365

From Our Partners by Jamison West, President & Founder, Arterian
office-365Small Businesses Rely On Office 365

Cloud technologies have become a staple in the business sphere, but small and midsized businesses struggle to utilize these tools in a way that’s both useful and cost effective. Microsoft has continued to bridge this gap with the features and components of Office 365, a public cloud solution that integrates a number of collaborative capabilities and flexible subscription options.

Skykick recently conducted a national survey that involved 109,000 businesses with 250 employees or less. The survey found that only 7.5 percent of small and medium-sized businesses currently use Office 365 as a part of their daily operations. Yes, Office 365 has gained traction primarily among larger firms, but the new additions and pricing options available have elicited a significant increase in the amount of small business subscriptions. In its 2015 Annual Report, Microsoft claimed more than 50,000 small businesses purchased subscriptions to Office 365 every month for the past 22 months.

As more businesses adopt Microsoft’s cloud technology, others continue to wonder what’s so special about Office 365 and how it’s different from the applications they currently use. Here are five things you didn’t know you could do with Office 365.

1) Delve

Delve is a unique application in that it aggregates information across the entire Office 365 platform and uses this data to display documents most relevant to the user at a specific day and time. For example, if a user has a meeting scheduled in their Outlook calendar, and an agenda is attached to the meeting invite, Delve will display the agenda document at the top of the user’s home page at the time of the meeting. Essentially, the application works as a customized discovery tool that allows users to readily access the documents they need, when they need them.

2) Coauthoring Documents

Office 365’s SharePoint enables multiple users to co-edit a document in Word, PowerPoint, or Excel. Users can see the changes that are being made in real-time, providing insight as to when and by whom a document was edited. This feature eliminates the need to email attachments across the office. Users simply save the file to OneDrive for Business or SharePoint, and can work as if they were in the same room. In addition, Office 365 incorporates advanced version control capabilities that allow users to retrieve previous versions of documents from various points in the editing process.

3) Planner

The entire Office 365 suite centers upon collaboration, but Planner takes teamwork a step further. Planner provides a simple interface where teams can work together, share files, assign tasks, discuss projects, and track both individual and team progress with real-time analytics using the Planner “Hub.” Users can create “Plans” and each plan has its own “Board.” Boards are comprised of “Cards” which represent a task or assignment with corresponding due dates, files, conversations, and categories. Teams can easily preview plans to quickly gather information and assess the status of ongoing projects. Individual users receive email notifications when they are assigned a task or added to a conversation, and are able to track their personal progress using the “My Tasks” view.

4) Meeting Notes

Many professionals are familiar with OneNote and may already use the application as an integral part of their daily work habits. SharePoint now provides fully-integrated OneNote capabilities within its team sites. Users simply select the “Notebook” tab at the top of their team site and are automatically directed to a OneNote platform specific to their designated roles. The ability to maintain a comprehensive collection of individual pages and notes allows teams to work more efficiently and productively. In addition, team members can view previous versions of the notebook pages as well as the authors and editors of the page.

5) Syncing OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Documents to Any Device

OneDrive for Business and SharePoint are features of Office 365 that allow users to store, access, and edit documents all in one place. OneDrive for Business is similar to a “My Documents” folder and grants user the ability to store and access files on computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. SharePoint and OneDrive for Business store all files online and any changes made to a document on one device can be synchronized across all devices.

In order to stay competitive in your industry and efficient in your day-to-day business processes, it’s important to fully optimize the applications your business utilizes. Understanding these useful tools within Office 365 can expand your company’s reach and capabilities.


Jamison West is the president and founder of Arterian, a subsidiary of Aldridge. West is a contributing member of the Aldridge leadership team and serves as the company’s Microsoft Cloud visionary. His primary responsibilities include managing Aldridge’s strategic partnerships with cloud vendors and business development for Arterian.