Despite over 90% of UK businesses using Office 365 as their chosen collaboration platform, this productivity platform has more to offer than many business leaders realise…
Most people are familiar with applications like OneDrive, Outlook and Teams however, there’s a long list of built in resources built that users miss out on.
So, our experts have outlined five of the most valuable Microsoft 365 apps for business that could instantly unlock new efficiencies within your teams.
Do you currently use an app like Calendly to schedule meetings and appointments? You could be doing it all within Microsoft Bookings!
Bookings lets you track, manage and organise your team’s schedules in one place, with the ability to create shared Bookings calendars and schedule different types of appointments for virtual and in-person meetings.
This feature can be a real time-saver for service-based companies that regularly schedule and manage appointments, such as dentists, hair salons or law firms. The tool provides customers and clients with a web page view of your availability so they can book a slot without going through lengthy admin processes or speaking to your company directly.
Bookings is also integrated with Microsoft Teams and your Office 365 calendar, making it easier to streamline your booking and cancellation processes and keep everyone in sync.
From collaboration to customer feedback, sharing online forms, surveys, polls and quizzes can be a great way to digitally engage with employees and customers to find out precisely what they know, what they want and how you can better meet their needs.
But what’s the easiest way to deliver and analyse this type of content?
Microsoft has its own Office 365 solution: Microsoft Forms. Much like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, this platform creates easy-to-use web-based documents with premade templates in categories including:
- Organising successful events.
- Gaining insights through user research.
- Improving employee satisfaction.
- Digitalising day-to-day workflows.
Users can drag and drop form fields, include personalised or multiple-choice questions and distribute finished files via links instead of sharing content individually and manually collating the results. You can even generate a QR code for your form, which can be handy at events if you’re looking to gather feedback from attendees!
Then, you can review responses in Microsoft Forms or an Excel workbook, which will pull all the data from your project into an Excel spreadsheet where you can filter, organise and analyse it.
If you’re looking for new ways to optimise task management and note-taking, Microsoft’s OneNote is the tool for you.
Like other popular productivity software such as Evernote or Notion, OneNote is a cross-platform note-taking resource that comes completely free with Microsoft 365 — no features hidden behind a premium paywall.
It’s also freeform, allowing users to put text boxes and annotations anywhere on a screen to add typed or even drawn notes and audio commentaries to a range of digital files.
With unlimited notes and the ability to translate copy and convert handwriting into text, this digital notebook is valuable for any business trying to improve efficiency, organisation and collaboration across distributed teams.
OneNote is particularly useful for the education sector, creating a centralised store of lesson plans and work in progress that can be shared by staff and students alike. When paired with other Office 365 tools like Immersive Reader, which can read notes aloud and allow users to customise how messages are displayed, this can be a powerful resource for boosting accessibility.
By harnessing Microsoft Project, Office 365’s comprehensive organisational tool, you could cut out the cost of subscribing to another cloud-based workflow management system such as monday.com or Asana.
Ideal for professionals who work with multiple clients and employees simultaneously, this interactive platform has an incredibly user-friendly interface that makes keeping track of project progress a little easier. From task delegation and management to planning and reporting, this app can do it all — making it easier to adapt to the ever-changing demands of an operation.
Project’s roadmap tools have several display options that help to maintain constant visibility of project progress, allowing team leaders to check no tasks are falling behind schedule. It also has a team dashboard feature with charts and timelines for individual tasks and file-sharing capabilities to enhance straightforward collaboration within the Microsoft 365 environment.
Plus, this project management hub offers insights for improving resource management and efficiency, helping to further optimise productivity in the long run without you spending time or money to collect this data.
If you work in the legal sector, financial industry or any other business area subject to strict governance and compliance regulation, Microsoft Purview offers a range of seamless administrative security features that don’t come built into other hosting solutions.
For example, should you need to meet specific email or data retention laws under the Data Protection Act or Freedom of Information Act, you can tailor your retention settings through Purview to keep data for a specific time — and then automatically and securely delete it when that deadline has passed.
Purview’s information protection solutions can also help you protect sensitive company data by implementing labels to classify and track documents containing personal information, supporting your company’s obligations under policies like the GDPR.
Additionally, Microsoft 365 subscriptions include Compliance Manager in the Purview compliance portal. This tool can help you monitor and automate data loss prevention and highlight recommendations to improve compliance under different regulations.
While these features won’t guarantee compliance, they can go a long way to streamlining data management and securing your day-to-day workflows. So, if you’re yet to experiment with Microsoft 365’s full range of applications, test them out today!
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