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What Are the Benefits of Microsoft Office 365 For Entrepreneurs?

A cloud-based platform like Office 365 gives you access to documents and data on the go and has made Working from Home during COVID19 easier and George Makaye, President, of GXA, has some shared tips.

Benefits of Microsoft Office 365 For Entrepreneurs

Have you upgraded your version of Microsoft Office to the 365 version? If you’re an entrepreneur, you should. Just like in its previous versions, Microsoft Office 365 includes popular tools like Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and updated versions of new favorites such as Publisher.

Many of our clients in Dallas are using Microsoft Office 365, a subscription-based cloud service. This pay-as-you-go licensing style allows you to take advantage of all available features for a single monthly fee. If your team is small, you will only pay for the users you have. As your team grows, you can easily scale up your subscription to accommodate new users.

Why Should Entrepreneurs Consider Using Office 365?

Having a cloud-based platform like Office 365 at your disposal gives you access to documents and data on the go, making working remotely a breeze. If you are a startup trying to get a new venture off the ground, do more with your available resources by utilizing the Office 365 services. Collaborate easily with your team members while working from your home office just as you can in a traditional office setting.

Microsoft Office 365 is supported on all devices that run Windows 10. If you are still using Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, Office 365 is compatible with these operating systems as well as current iOS versions.

Entrepreneurs (really any business) will benefit from the following features:

Mobility – access your data from any device, anywhere, at any time

One of the greatest features of Office 365 is being able to access any file, photo or email from anywhere. If you forgot to bring a document or important file to a meeting, you can deliver a full PowerPoint presentation from your smartphone!

During COVID-19 lockdown our clients at GXA were able to continue to work from home seamlessly with full access to all of their business documents and apps in the cloud. If internet is not available, files in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint have the ability to sync locally for instant access from the desktop.

This benefit by itself makes the migration to Office 365 worth the investment!

A Word of Caution:

A common mistake most SMBs make is assume that just by moving to Office 365, the advanced security features and other advanced Office 365 services are turned on by default.
That’s not the case.

In reality, most of these features are not turned on right out of the box. They require proper planning and configuration properly by experienced IT and Cybersecurity engineers who have O365 and Azure expertise.

Because of this misconception, Cybercriminals have reaped huge payoffs. Lack of proper Office 365 setups has resulted in a large number of email, phishing and data breaches targeting SMBs who migrated to Office 365 but did invest in engaging and acquiring the right expertise to implement and secure the platform properly.

There is an investment in migrating into O365 and getting it setup and secured properly. But I believe that the benefits are worth the investment, as I have outlined below.

Security – better security to protect your organization

Office 365 for business comes with security features that provide your IT and Cybersecurity teams with tools to manage your security better than an internal file server. When setup properly, your organization will know where your data is, and have the ability to control who has access to it. If a user loses their smartphone or laptop, IT can remotely wipe all office 365 data and email from that particular device, while giving the user full access to their data from their other devices.

If you are looking to beef up and adhere to enterprise data security, privacy and compliance standards, you can purchase Office 365 plans that include Mobile Device Management and additional advanced security options. But remember these feature have to setup and do not come turn on and tailored to your organization right out of the box.

Collaboration – get organized and collaborate

Organizing meetings, email, and contacts can be difficult for businesses no matter the size. Office 365 synchronizes your email, calendar and contacts so they all work together. With SharePoint and OneDrive for Business users can work on a document using one device, then continue editing from a different device or tablet while on the go.

Microsoft Teams is one of the best features of Office 365.

It provides a single centralized platform with all the tools your organization needs to work together by sharing screens, co-authoring documents, chatting, making phone calls or doing video calls.

Communication – Improve Company Culture During COVID19 Work From Home

Especially in this COVID19 climate, working from home introduces challenges to communication and the ability to make your workforce feel connected. The set of tools that come with Office 365 – Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Outlook Groups, SharePoint, Yammer – when setup properly will improve your company culture by enabling your employees to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Productivity – Use SharePoint to Organize Documents and Simplify File Sharing

To increase productivity of your remote workforce, Office 365 provides the ability to organize shared document libraries using SharePoint.

SharePoint is an extremely powerful product. Most SMBs that I have worked with do not utilize its fullest potential because the initial implementation cost is significant though this is necessary to set it up the right way. When setup properly – with automation and workflows – SharePoint unlocks tremendous productivity boost and team collaboration potential that will streamline and automate your company’s key processes. It makes it easier to transmit data, track information, manage documents and work on group projects.

Office 365 provides some product specific enhancements to Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote

New Functions In Excel

Office 365 added a wide array of new functions to Excel, some of which include:

  1. Pivot Table Defaults. Whether you’d prefer your Pivot Tables to appear in Tabular Layout or Drag-and-Drop mode, by allowing you to set your own defaults for Pivot Tables you can save time by having them automatically appear in a specific format instead of editing the layout each time.
  2. Co-Authoring. If you have workbooks that your entire team needs to be able to access and edit, Co-Authoring is a great feature. Simply save your workbook to OneDrive or SharePoint, and employees can view and edit the same workbook in real time without being locked out or left viewing the document in Read-Only.
  3. Funnel Charts. This is a great way to add a visual element to a meeting or presentation, allowing you to illustrate things like a sales funnel.
  4. 6 New Calculation Functions. MAXIFS and MINIFS let you find the largest or smallest value that meets a set criteria. IFS and SWITCH make it easier to handle a long series of If, Else conditions. CONCAT and TEXTJOIN allow you to concatenate all the values in a range. TEXTJOIN allows you to specify a delimiter between each value and choose if blanks are ignored, or you can create a criteria-based TEXTJOIN.
  5. Persistent Copy. Copied cells remain on the clipboard even after you’ve made changes to a workbook such as inserting rows or columns.
  6. Superscript and Subscript Icons. Adding these icons to the Quick Access Toolbar allows you to apply superscript or subscript without having to open the Format Cells dialog.

New Features in Outlook

The new version of Outlook offers both new and improved features and functions that will help save you time and keep you organized, including:

  • Task List
  • Quick Steps
  • @mentions
  • Focused inbox
  • Quick Parts
  • Up to 3 time zones on your Calendar
  • Contact Categories
  • Scheduling Assistant
  • Quick access from the tray icon

Word Has Gotten Smarter.

The Researcher feature makes writing reports and papers a smoother process by allowing you to search for information relevant to your topic directly through Word. It also makes creating a bibliography a much simpler task since Researcher will take care of that for you using any sources you pull up in Word.

Impressing potential investors or prospective clients has never been easier!

PowerPoint Has Been Improved.

Morph adds better animation and motion into your presentations. The Morph transition lets you animate smooth transitions from one slide to the next. Apply the Morph transition to slides to create the appearance of movement. You can do this with a wide range of things like text, shapes, charts, pictures, WordArt, and SmartArt graphics.

Zoom gives you a more dynamic presentation. When you create a Zoom, you can jump to and from specific slides, sections, and parts in your presentation, and you can do so in any order you want while you’re presenting. Try using Summary Zoom; it’s like a page that lets you show portions of your presentation all at once. And with Zoom, you can get creative, skip ahead, or revisit parts of your slide show without interrupting the flow.

Turn your mouse into a laser pointer. Using a simple keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+P), transform your cursor into a presentation tool. This trick has been available for a while now in this format, but with Office 365 you can now use this feature with touch-screen devices. Press and hold your finger or stylus on your screen and the fake laser pointer button will appear.

New Features in OneNote

You can convert OneNote items into tasks and Calendar events and assign them to employees with reminders and deadlines. If you take meeting minutes in OneNote and send them out by email, details like date, location, and attendees will be added automatically for each meeting they are related to.

What Are Some Other Benefits for Entrepreneurs?

Co-Authoring in Real Time: As with Excel, you can simultaneously edit documents with others in Word and PowerPoint. This enhances collaboration and productivity.

Improved Version History: A Version History section in Office’s File menu makes sure you’re using the right version of important documents.

Delve: Retrieving documents has never been easier. Delve makes it simple to access all aspects of your stored data. It will show you all the documents you’ve created or shared.

Why Should You Upgrade to Office 365 Now?

Microsoft advises that if you want to move to Office 365 from Office 2016, you should not delay. This is because Office 2016 cloud support will be dropped in 2020, and Office 2016 installs will be barred from connecting to Microsoft’s cloud-based services, including hosted email (Exchange) and online storage (OneDrive for Business), after Oct. 13, 2020.