Microsoft Office 365 is now the default software architecture for Microsoft products in Small Business, with the launches of Office 2016 & Windows 10 in the July quarter we now have a fairly good picture of the new Microsoft Business Ecosystem – so what’s the verdict?
Overall, I would say impressive technically, and ultimately reasonable value for the average business.
In assessing you need to understand the changing IT environment that these products are designed around, the major trends being:
- Bring your own device (BYOD).
- Multi Device with Syncing between devices on multiple operating platforms.
- Tablets, Smartphone & PC smoothing (same software on different device types).
- Collaboration & anywhere access.
This means the Microsoft business office environment needs to be flexible, duplicable, accessible & remotely administered. Personally having used the combined office software now for some time, and having downloaded my Office 365 on 4 different devices and types (PC, Smartphone, Laptop, & Android Tablet) I am impressed, particularly with Outlook 365;
- Same Operation - Outlook 365 looks feels and operates similarly on all device types.
- Cross Platform – Microsoft, Apple, & Android all just work the same.
- Simple Downloads – once your Outlook 365 tenant has been professionally setup, data migrated, & deployed – downloading the software on extra devices is easy as long as you know you admin stuff.
- Syncing – it just works seamlessly regardless of what device I am using, it stays updated and syncs without any drama, knowing that the Microsoft data centre is doing all this in the background makes the value equation easier to swallow.
While Outlook 365 may not be the 2016 version it still works like a dream and think the difference between the Outlook 2013 & Outlook 2016 is minimal. I love these features in Outlook 365;
- Clutter inbox – working like a spam inbox it is like triage for email it learns which email addresses send you frequent emails that you are slow to open or just delete. It identifies these emails and puts them in “Clutter” to work through when you are not busy. It does work and becomes a cool feature.
- Conversations – is a way of displaying your emails so it will show all the previous emails on the same topic next to each other, it allow you to ignore whole topics plus when you are done you can delete everything in that conversation. Try it under View in Outlook.
- Search – big enough to warrant its own tab it gives some many ways to slice and dice your search filter than the straight old index search. Plus it seems to work at a much faster speed than previous search.
- Skype Integration - Use Skype to check in and collaborate with someone using Instant Messaging (IM), voice, video, or screen sharing. Also join online meetings while on the go using the Skype for Business mobile app. See who is online, IM meeting participants, and follow along when a presenter shares his screen – all from your tablet or phone.
Office 2016 is now available with a full updated software range including Word, Excel, PowerPoint with some new cool features, but to be honest when upgrading from 2013 they are not that different, but for Office 2010, & 2007 users it’s worth the change. Given Microsoft now include Office 2016 as the default download for new Office 365 subscriptions, most businesses will find they will upgrade their Office version when they switch to Office 365. A few other programs are included that may make the switch more interesting for old Office users;
- OneNote- Like an electronic notepad collect any and all relevant information (e.g., photos, videos, clippings, & drawings) in one central location, work with others, and watch the app sync changes within seconds.
- OneDrive - Access your Office documents from anywhere and any device by saving them to OneDrive, pick up anywhere you left off, and co-author with others from the comfort of your office or home, or even on the go.
Windows 10 now has over 100 million users worldwide so it has been stress tested & the commercial lagging with drivers & applications has in most cases been addressed. If you have a specific application it may still pay to check it is compatible with Windows 10. Why move to Windows 10;
- Improved performance - including decreased boot-up time, which is markedly quicker, while better hardware acceleration and a host of other tweaks mean general navigation feels nippier, too. Power management has also been improved, so mobile device battery life tends to be a little longer.
- Design – if you were hesitant to move to Windows 8.1 due its look, then Windows 10 takes a compromised view with the with the flat windows and bold colours taking over, but with the old comfort of the Control Panel and Computer Management interfaces using old icons
- Price – it is still free to upgradeso it is tempting, if you’ve got a copy of Windows 7 you’d almost feel like you’re missing out. After all, you can still downgrade back to whatever previous version of Windows you had if you decide you don’t like Windows 10.
Is Your Business Ready to Take Advantage of new improved Microsoft Ecosystem?
The new Microsoft Ecosystem may be a great way to help improve your business. Office 365 offers a range of advanced tools that enables your employees to be productive anywhere and at any time across a range of devices. With Office 2016 & Windows 10 now in release you can combine to get the very latest software across your business knowing it works and is fully compatible.
If you wish to upgrade your Microsoft Ecosystem it still requires guidance to get it right, so give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today and one of our technology professionals will be happy to discuss how Office 365 can benefit your business.