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What you actually get with Microsoft 365...

I think everyone knows that Microsoft 365 (formally Office 365) typically gives you Email, the Office suite (e.g. Word, Excel, Outlook etc), One Drive storage, SharePoint and Teams. However, I bet you didn’t know what else it does? What exactly are you paying for?

Well, to some extent it does depend on what flavour of M365 you purchase, but many features are available across the board – I will try and highlight a few things we think you would want to know about.

Automation

Microsoft Flow, now referred to as Power automate, gives the ability to automate many many every day tasks saving valuable time. You can do things like automatically save attachments in to one drive from certain (or all) emails, automatically send certain types of newly created documents in one drive to someone by email, receive a message if someone tweets something specific, create a button that when pressed will remind you to do something in x minutes – the list goes on. You can trigger an activity to happen if some data in a Power BI report hits a certain threshold / target. You can receive text alerts if something happens in your email – eg if you want to receive a text if a certain customer has emailed in to someone within the organisation etc etc. You can of course have a bit of fun with this as well – for example, create a button on your phone that sends silly messages to a colleague every time you press it. (this is something that one of my senior staff of course most definitely did not do while testing…).

Security and Compliance

This is a big one for those who aren’t aware. The premium versions of M365 come with all manner of security and compliance features. Intune (End Point Management) gives you full control over your company devices and partial control over BYOD (bring your own device) you may have. For example, your staff can enrol their personal mobiles and be safe in the knowledge that work and personal are kept separate. Android does this particularly well and will give you separate icon screens for Personal and Work. Its very easy then to prevent copy and pasting between personal and work apps. So staff cannot copy important sensitive data out of outlook in to their own email. For company devices you can ensure they are up to date and secure and keep track of who is using them.

I wont bore you too much with all the details, but beyond the above there is Advanced Threat Protection, Conditional Access and much much more that we would manage for you to ensure you get the most out of M365 whilst ensuring your systems were secure.

End Point Management in conjunction with Autopilot also gives you (or us) the power to deploy your work devices almost fully automatically. With home working; a new starter could receive a brand new laptop to their home, and with just a matter of three or four mouse clicks, they can log in and the apps will download and the settings will take affect in front of their very eyes. We have recently deployed a number of company laptops in this way and it has saved so much time and made things run so much more smoothly for the new starters.

Data Loss Prevention is another good one – worried about staff sending out personal data, e.g. NI numbers, bank details etc on purpose or by accident – DLP can prevent that, or just monitor that -the choice is yours.

Information Protection – this can help manage who can send what outside of your organisation and when it has been sent, what can the recipient do with it when they receive it. For example, a link to spreadsheet can be sent to a customer and that link can expire after x days. The document itself can be protected to prevent printing or modification … there is so much you can do and it all depends on what you want to achieve.

Teams

Although I am sure most if not all of you know about Teams since COVID happened, there are still many of you out there that wont know its full potential. You can do more than just have conversations and meetings. To give a few examples:

· Whiteboard feature – allowing you to all work together on one blank page together.

· Screen Share – am sure many know this one, but for those that don’t – this allows you to share your screen and / or take control of someone else’s.

· Teams Voice / Phone system – Yes, I wont go on about this again too much . but Teams can give you full PBX (phone system) – some features not there yet, but Call recording for example is coming March 2021.

· Walkie Talkie – a bit under rated and overlooked. This is a feature mainly designed for shop floors, warehouses etc – you can create a group to be part of and then all mobile Teams apps can be set to walkie talkie mode to improve fast communication where required.

· SharePoint – you can publish your SharePoint data and files within Teams for easy access

· Other Apps – there are a plethora of other apps that you can link to Teams

· More features are coming out all the time – multiple chats can now be popped out to make Teams more easy to use

This has hopefully highlighted a few areas that we feel are important for everyone to know about – there is a lot more to M365 than meets the eye and you really do get your money’s worth when using these products. As always, get in touch if you need any advice or assistance

Other Apps within M365

There are lots !! Trying to work out what they are and what they do isn’t always easy. The other tricky thing is that they appear almost out of nowhere .. one day its not there, the next day a new app appears. Microsoft have added many since the start when it was just the basics plus delve and Sway.

Now you have Microsoft To Do, Planner, Bookings, Stream, Forms, Lists, Kaizala (this one is a bit like Whats app for work) and more. Most of these are fairly self-explanatory, but it’s the fact they appear without warning sometimes that means you may not even know they are there. Spend some time taking a look and getting to know what you have to work with.

Finally it would be wrong of me not to mention Viva. This is being rolled out slowly and is being billed as an “Employee Experience Platform”. The idea here seems to be to offer a set of tools to help employees at work get the most out of what is available to them. This includes four distinct modules – Topic, Connections, Insights and Learning. These will be add ons to M365 depending on the subscription you have. It sounds pretty cool and to take a snippet from the Press release, Viva will bring “tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work. Viva is designed to help employees learn, grow and thrive, with new experiences that integrate with the productivity and collaboration capabilities in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.” Watch this space.

As always, please get in touch if you need any advice or assistance on the above


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