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MS 365 cloud-based applications and their business benefits

Many businesses use Microsoft applications, with many more converting to cloud-based business productivity applications due to their easy deployment across multiple users and sites. With Microsoft continually improving their cloud-based application suite, Microsoft 365, this article explores the main business benefits of MS 365 cloud-based applications.

Easy team communication

Effective team communication forms a part of any successful business, and cloud-based applications make communication more accessible across different departments and locations. The Microsoft Teams application is a cloud-based collaboration tool that helps businesses organise their communications more efficiently and effectively.

Employees can be assigned specific ‘channels’ to communicate in or create their channels to schedule meetings, conduct discussions via instant messenger, or share files. Users can sync the appointments calendar with the calendar in Outlook, and employees can quickly check on their schedule for the week. The Teams app also has a call feature that allows employees to make HD video calls to other Teams users, with a team meeting only a few clicks away.

One of the great benefits of Microsoft Teams is that your business can facilitate communication between employees across different office or site locations. Once your company has deployed a cloud-based communication application from MS 365, it’s time to explore what collaboration tools are available.

Collaboration

If your business writes reports with Word, completes accounting tasks with Excel, delivers presentations with PowerPoint, or manages customer records with Access, MS 365 makes cross-team collaboration easy.

One of the critical benefits of MS 365 is that it comes stacked with collaboration features. If your business needs teams to collaborate remotely, a cloud-based application is essential. MS 365 offers real-time collaboration so that teams can view and contribute to a single version of a document.

Real-time collaboration can significantly improve productivity within a business due to the reduction in time spent accessing and reviewing edits across different documents. MS 365 tracks all changes made across different versions of the same document, which allows for easy access to all changes and contributions made and easy roll-back to an earlier version if required.

Business-class email

MS 365 includes Outlook, the email application from Microsoft, which has a range of productivity features that benefit business users. Users who collaborate internationally can use the time zone management feature, which allows easier management of meetings across different time zones. The calendar view can also display time zones from various regions and assist with scheduling events to fit the relevant time zone.

The focused inbox feature automatically sorts and prioritises emails into different folders and organises/archives older emails based on your preferences. For those looking for an advanced level of email management, the Boomerang feature is a great way to organise your inbox as a to-do list and utilise time-based email scheduling features.

Document storage & sharing

Once communication and collaboration features have been activated in MS 365, it’s time to review how business documents are stored. MS 365 cloud applications store all data remotely to enable easy access between users from different locations.

Businesses looking for a central point to store and share business documents and data can utilise SharePoint Online or OneDrive applications. These applications allow users to upload documents onto a cloud server for sharing and collaboration with other users. Alternatively, employees can use these applications purely to back up and store offline documentation for easy retrieval, for example, business templates or annual report archives.

These applications are designed to be accessible from any user device, which means that employees can access the documents and data they need from their mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop.

Security & scalability

MS 365 has security features built into the different applications, including controls over sharing and edit access for users. Businesses who upgrade to the Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription also benefit from the extra security threat protection available from the Microsoft Defender for Office 365 application.

As well as providing the valuable security features needed for businesses to store and manage data remotely, MS 365 provides room for companies to scale up their operations at short notice. By offering flexible user subscriptions, businesses can easily add and remove users depending on their business needs.

When combined with the 24/7 availability of applications stored on the Microsoft cloud servers, data security and user scalability are additional advantages of using this cloud-based application suite.

Can Microsoft 365 help your business?

This guide is an overview of some of the key business benefits of Microsoft 365. Those who subscribe to Microsoft 365 Business Premium also have access to Windows Virtual Desktop/Office Shared Computer Activation features, which offer extra remote management features.

Microsoft 365 is a powerful suite of business applications that most businesses can hugely benefit from, improving productivity, collaboration, communication and ultimately profitability.

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2020