How Office 365 Will Reinvent Your Businesses’ Content Collaboration

The virtual workforce is taking a serious role in business – today, nearly 30 million users are working from home at least 1 day a week. By 2022, the global mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.87 billion people or 42.5% of the global workforce. This is up from 38.8% in 2016.

If you are one of those users who occasionally works from home (or you WANT to be), you will need an online collaboration tool suitable for your company. Online collaboration platforms allow you to share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information, and seamlessly collaborate across the organization.

Are you thinking, “Yup, those are all things that would make my life easier”?

If so, you need to consider integrating Office 365 – this software includes various platforms that allow for simple and seamless sharing within your organization. This article will discuss five ways Office 365 can help reinvent how your business collaborates.

1) Real-Time File Editing

Co-Authoring allows for multiple users to seamlessly edit a document at the same time. Similar to using Google Docs or Google Sheets, these powerful Microsoft SharePoint tools can enhance your team’s productivity by allowing users to make changes to their documents and have the edits synchronized.  It is also available through Office 365 Online apps and can even be joined to your iPhone or Android device.

View this video to learn more about SharePoint and how it could help your business.

2) Collaborative Work Space & Conversations

Microsoft Teams is an online collaborative tool offered in Office 365. It is seamlessly integrated and features a chat-based workplace that joins users, information, and conversations. Microsoft Teams allows for conversations to be publicly or privately stored; it also supports threaded chats – allowing for more users to be involved. If you need audio or video conferencing, Skype is a useful webcam application that is integrated with Microsoft Teams.

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/configuring-teams-calling-quickstartguide

3) Structure and Secure Your Organization’s Information

Office 365 Groups assist in structuring your organization’s information, letting you choose the team members you wish to collaborate with and easily set up resources to share. Resources such as a shared Outlook inbox, shared calendar or a document library for collaborating on files.

Office 365 Groups automatically gives the elected team the permissions they need to use the resources you provide. Groups also gives you instant access to Office applications from any location, such as Outlook Web Access, OneDrive, OneNote, and more.

Source: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/office/blogs/groupsrestapi/

4) Share Discussion Topics with Yammer

Yammer is a web-based application included in Office 365. Essentially, it is a social network that is focused entirely on your business. It acts as a useful collaboration tool for teams and organizations to share ideas, ask questions, and gather information.

For example, if you were to receive an email that you believe needs to be discussed by peers in your group, you can forward the email to Yammer to create a thread for group discussion. Yammer includes a mobile application that allows you to take the communication and collaboration wherever you go.

Source: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/say-hello-to-yammer-02ac514e-cf1d-4060-9cde-6038ca812ede

5) Multi-Client Collaboration

Collaboration is not limited to just your organization. With Office 365 you can extend your collaboration to include outside entities who are also using Office 365! You can set certain permissions, so the included entities can only view and edit certain items; this is especially helpful when working with project-based companies who need to view and/or edit their client’s calendar.

Included organizations may:

  • Create centralized locations for files
  • Share Calendars
  • Communicate via email, chat or audio/video calls
  • Securely access shared resources

Overall, SharePoint Online through Office 365 will assist in creating useful links that promote synergy throughout each organization. If you want to empower your employees, continually collaborate in order to stay on the same page, and discover new information and insights, SharePoint is the right place to start.

 

For more information, visit https://products.office.com/en-us/sharepoint/collaboration.

 

5 Tips for an Easy Migration to Office 365

So, you’ve decided to move to Office 365. This is a big move for your business – it can be an exciting transition and will provide your company access to a variety of applications. However, you will likely have a large range of existing software, databases, and system data that needs to be migrated. But don’t fret! Although migration may seem intimidating, it is a great opportunity to streamline and improve your current systems. To ensure your migration process is successful, follow our list of 5 Tips for An Easy Migration to Office 365:  

1. Choose Correct Licensing  

Office 365 offers a large variety of suites that are tailored to your company’s needs. Understanding the applications you have access to under each licensing option can assist in fulfilling your company’s needs. For more information on Office Licensing please refer to the Microsoft Office Licensing website. 

2. Ensure your Local Exchange Server is up to date 

Before migrating to Office 365, there is typically prep work required on your email and existing infrastructure. As you are making your migration plans, it is important to account for the fact that you may need to update your infrastructure. For example, high speed internet is required to move any large amount of data into a cloud-based service. If the internet were to go down at any point during your business hours, your ability to communicate through Office 365 would cease.  

3. Verify Security Requirements 

Managing security and compliance plays a crucial role in the migration process of Office 365. Determine whether your current host provider offers capabilities like virus filtering, malware detection, spam filtering, email encryption and data loss prevention.  

4. Research Backups for Email Retention Prior to Migration 

To prevent data loss, we recommend backing up your email prior to migration. You can easily and routinely back up your data by exporting your email data into a PST or OLM file. A PST or OLM file stores all your email messages, attachments, folder structure, contacts, calendar items, and more.  

5. Create a Checklist 

Many businesses fail to create a migration checklist because they tend to prioritize technical aspects without addressing other areas. This can include elements such as training, informing users, and gathering feedback. By clearly defining the phases of the migration process you can ensure that the it will be a smooth and beneficial transition.  

Making this kind of transition is a lot to handle on top of your day-to-day responsibilities, like keeping a business running! Our professional technicians and engineers are available to answer any questions you may have – before, during, and after your migration. Kitsap Networking Services and Sequim I.T. are here to help! Give us a call today: 360-516-6741. 

 

Be sure to read our other blog articles from this month – we are talking about the benefits of Office 365 all month! Click any of the following blog posts for more information on using Office 365 in a business setting: 

10 Tips to Maximize Your Email Outlook Experience 

Why Your Small Business Will Benefit from Office 365

10 Tips to Maximize Your Outlook Email Experience

Microsoft Outlook is an extensive tool to manage personal tasks and projects. While primarily used for email communication, it also includes a calendar, task reminders and contacts. With nearly a billion users worldwide it has become the number one industry standard for accessing business emails, calendars, and contacts. In this post, we cover ten ways to maximize your productivity in your organization, and enhance your user experience with this application.  

1. Create Email Signatures 

Designing a customized email signature is an important start in creating your corporate identity. Outlook allows you to create and modify a signature using various fonts, alignments, links and images.  

To Access your Signature in Outlook click File > Options > Mail > Signatures: 

A “Signatures and Stationary” pop-up window will appear. In this window, there is a toolbar that offers different functionalities to customize your signature. Within this toolbar (shown below) you can select different fonts and alignments, and add business cards, pictures and links.  

To learn more about using signatures in Outlook, we recommend reading the Microsoft Office 365 Signature Guide article. 

2. Save Time By Using Quick Parts for Easy Insertion 

Do you spend a lot of time looking through your sent folder to find the perfect message content to reuse? If you do, Quick parts is for you. Quick Parts is a feature in Outlook that gives you the ability to reuse saved texts or templates throughout an email. Saving information and redistributing it in templates allows you to quickly answer common questions, and be consistent with your answers. Another plus? Others within your organization can the content too.  

Quick Parts can be accessed by creating a new email and navigating to the Insert tab. After selecting the Quick Parts button, you can choose and edit the various types of blocks you would like to copy into your email template. 

 3. Quick Steps  

Quick Steps helps you efficiently manage your mailbox with just one click. These shortcuts allow you to easily perform repetitive tasks, quickly divide information to organized folders, and save you time during the busy workday.  

The Quick Steps module is located in the Mail module box under the Home tab. This box consists of preset tasks that can be customized. To read more on Quick Steps, visit the Automate Common Tasks with Quick Steps tutorial.  

4. Group Messages by 

This conversation setting in Outlook will help you have a more efficient inbox. By using the rule parameter located in the mail module, you can move and organize emails based upon the sender. Upon creating a rule, you can delegate where emails from the selected sender are to be organized. You can also create rules with the Rules Wizard, which allows for a wider range of customization options: 

 5. Folder for Common Searches 

If you perform similar inbox searches regularly, Outlook’s Custom Search folders will let you save those repetitive searches so you can access them in just a few clicks. Once it’s set up, this folder will help you to filter through the many emails you receive.  

Setup can easily be done by clicking the New Search Folder Feature located in the Folder tab. With this feature you can sort your messages by sender, and set other conditions to make it simpler and faster to organize your emails.  

 

The screenshot below explains how you can specify the sender who’s messages you want organized in a certain folder. In the “search mail in” textbox, simply type the email address you wish to place in the new search folder: 

 

For more information on creating and customizing your New Search Folder, please refer to Search Folders Feature in Outlook 365. 

6. Sharing Calendars 

Compare schedules and availability without leaving your desk or having to make a phone call! One of the great business tools Outlook has is the ability to share calendars with others in your same company. Once you share your calendar, the person you shared it with can view your calendar within their own calendar list. They can also choose to who’s calendar they want to view, and even view multiple calendars at the same time. When you share your calendar, you are able to delegate who can view the calendar, as well as define permissions for what they can edit.  

To share your calendar, from the calendar folder, select the Home tab and click Share Calendar: 

 7. Keyboard Shortcuts 

Outlook has many keyboard shortcuts that allow you to execute a command without using your mouse. Some important Outlook keyboard shortcuts include:  

Reply to an Email: CTRL + R
Reply All: Alt + R
Forward an Email: Alt + W
Send an Email: Alt + S
Go to Any Date on your Calendar: CTRL + G 

Interested in learning even more shortcuts to make your life easier? We found a great article to help you do just that: read The Essential List of Microsoft Outlook Keyboard Shortcuts 

8. Out of Office Automatic Replies 

Have you ever gone on vacation and come back to mayhem in the office? Outlook’s Automatic Replies feature won’t be able to put out all of the fires, but it will certainly help. When it’s set up, your account will automatically respond to anyone who emails you during the time you elected to be “out of the office”. Auto Reply messages are customizable, and you can even set specific dates when Outlook should stop and start the auto replies.   

Note: If you are using an exchange account, you can create Automatic Replies.  

The Automatic Replies function can be found from the main Outlook interface by clicking File > Automatic Replies: 

From there you can create your customized, automatic response and set the time frame during which your email will let everyone know you are out of the office: 

 9. Using Flags and Reminders 

Do you struggle to manage all of the items you need to follow up with, and when? Using the Outlook flagging feature can help resolve this issue. When you hover over a specific email, a gray flag icon will appear on the right side of the email. Right click to see your drop down options. Flagging an email can assist you in keeping track of important emails, creating to-do items, and setting custom reminders on specific email items. 

 

When you right click on the flag icon, you are able to assign a specific due date, and set a customized date and time to receive a reminder alert.

These reminder alerts will appear in an Outlook pop-up window at the chosen date and time. Once you have flagged an email, the flag will appear red. When the assigned due date arrives, the text of the email in your inbox will all appear red, as an added reminder to follow up with that correspondence.  

 10. Schedule an Email to Send Later

Have you ever wanted to send an email on a schedule, rather than immediately? Well, Outlook has a tool for that too. Scheduling an email to send at a specific time can be easily done by using the Delay Delivery function. Create a new email, and then click on the Options tab. The Delay Delivery button will be located on the top tab, on the far right.   

From the Delay Delivery menu, you can include additional settings to define how and when you want your email to be delivered: 

Thanks for reading! If you are interested in learning more about how Outlook  can help you run your specific business, please contact Kitsap Networking Services or Sequim I.T. We offer Outlook Workshops to help you and your employees become more familiar with the Outlook interface, and customize the app to match your company needs and make the migration transition easy. Give us a call today!  

Kitsap Networking Office: 360-516-6741 

Sequim Office: 360-504-3272

Why Your Small Business Will Benefit from Office 365

Running a business can be a lot of work. Finding a method to streamline business processes is a great way to help lighten the load. That’s where Office 365 comes in. With Office 365, you get access to business apps that can assist you with running and growing your business.  

So, how can Office 365 benefit your small business? Here are seven reasons small business owners should consider using Office 365: 

 

Customized Business Emails – Email is considered one of the most effective methods of business communication around the world. Office 365 Business Premium includes Outlook, which is a professional business email system. Through Outlook, you can create email accounts for your employees that feature your small business website’s domain. For example, at Kitsap Networking Services, Inc., each of our employee email accounts end with “@kitsapnetworking.com”.  

You can also share calendars between employees, send meeting invites to multiple attendees, and set reminders on calendar events. It also offers customizable features, such as personalized signatures, which allow for your receipts to receive your contact details with each email sent. 

Mobile Support – Office 365 offers 24/7 mobile access. This means if you have internet accessibility you will have access to the range of applications (Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.). Because most of the applications are primarily cloud-based, you can access emails, files, and applications from any device.  

Control and Compliance – The Office 365 administration portal allows administrators to easily manage users. The user control panel is intuitive and makes user control simple, providing your small business with tools you need to manage your organization.  

An administrator or business owner can modify the following roles: provisioning users, managing licenses, generating Office 365 reports and audits, and receiving alerts for critical incidents. Office Support has lots of articles explaining system options, including more explaining about the Office 365 Admin Center 

Business Intelligence – With Excel, you can turn data into useful information with the latest spreadsheet tools. Office 365 provides business intelligence that allows you to monitor and determine ranges of live data. You can use this data to develop interactive reports and data visualizations. giving you creative insights that can help make your small business more productive.  

Security – Office 365 offers different email encryption options that include TLS (Transport Layer Security), OME (Office Message Encryption, and IRM Information Rights Management. This allows for only authorized recipients to be able to decode and view data. Along with email encryption, Office 365 has built-in security for files, meaning your data is safely stored in the cloud. This saves small businesses from having to worry about their data, and who has access to it. If your data is stored online, it is kept safe in case something happens to any of your devices.  

Office 365 also offers compliance with the following standards: 

PIPEDA (the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act)
HIPAA (the United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
FISMA (the United States Federal Information Security Management Act)
The European Union Model clauses
The International Organization for Standardization 2700 standards