Chris’ Corner: Your Microsoft Office 365 Champion

Over the past several months I have striven, with the “Chris’ Corner” section, to deliver technical solution in an easy to understand way that allows even casual technology users to see the benefits. One of the most challenging concepts in the technology world is “the cloud”. The cloud allows complex and resource intensive software or hardware to be placed outside your local environment. For small and medium sized business one option to utilize the cloud is Microsoft Office 365. That is why I have taken on the mission of become your Office 365 consultant. Beyond knowing the technical ins and outs of the solution I will also be able to help you understand if Microsoft 365 is a good solution for your business. Here are some things you should know about Microsoft 365.

Business IT Benefits of Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 provides sophisticated features to your employees in the form of Exchange-based email, document sharing, centralized communication and instant mobile access. These tools have traditionally been accessible only to big business, and now just about any business can afford them. In fact, in most circumstances we are seeing an overall decrease in IT spending by upgrading to Office 365.

What’s Included

Office 365 offers the full suite of Microsoft Office products including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. These are available as Web Apps, viewable through a web browser, mobile apps, used on a smartphone or tablet, and also as the original desktop versions.

Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint handles sharing documents and collaboration. SharePoint is designed to be a central website which provides everyone in the company access to internal documents as well as collaboration tools.

Communication using Outlook and Lync

Office 365 goes beyond sharing document by allowing instant communication through Outlook and Lync. You can see who’s posted which documents and, because all the services work together seamlessly, you can see people’s presence within Lync and be able to IM or call that person for a quick question.

You can also see people’s availability and IM people directly from Outlook or any other Office applications such as Word, or from Outlook Web App or Lync Mobile. It makes a big difference knowing who’s online or not when you are about to email them so you can decide to IM instead to have an instant chat.

If you need a formal chat, you can set up online meetings in one click with colleagues, partners and customers, including audio, video, IM, screen sharing and white boarding. You can set up Lync meetings with them even if they are not Office 365 customers.

Hosted Email with Outlook

Clients receive business-class email, shared calendars, 25 GB or unlimited storage space per user (depending on the version selected), and the ability to use your own domain name.

Guaranteed Uptime

Office 365 is exceptionally reliable. Services are available with a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, financially backed service level agreement (SLA).

Simple File Sharing

Each license of Office 365 comes with 7 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, so team members can access their documents from almost anywhere and easily share them with others inside and outside the organization.

Upgrading Office Software

Office 365 software allows upgrades to stay current on the latest version of all the Office software.

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