Anything and Everything Office 365
By Jack Recinto
For the last decade Office 365 has been slowly making its way through all organizations and industries. What is Office 365 exactly and what makes it different from Office 2010 – 2019? Probably the largest difference is that Office 365 is a subscription based application suite in the Cloud rather than the on premise solution you install and then have to eventually upgrade when your support plan runs out. The Office 365 subscription is also tiered to give your organization options based on what tools you need to conduct business. There is a possibility of mixing and matching some of the plans, but note there are some limitations. A list of the plans and what tools they contain can be accessed via this link. With all of these new options, Office 365 offers comes a slew of new questions. To assist you in researching and answering these questions, ILTA has developed content to take a deep dive into Office 365. Here’s a small sneak peek of what ILTA has in store for you regarding anything and everything Office 365.
At the top tier level, Microsoft Office 365 provides over 30 applications most of which can be installed locally, such as the traditional Office applications like Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. Some exciting newer applications such as Sway, Office Delve and Power Business Intelligence(Power BI), are Cloud based. This leads to the question which applications are mission critical and which are the nice to haves. Rest assured that even the most basic subscription plan (Office 365 Business Essentials) contains the traditional office suite, though it is important to note that it only allows you use of the web versions on your pc and mobile devices. If you would like or need to have the applications installed locally, you will need to either choose an upgraded tier or see about mixing and matching the package. Be on the lookout for ILTA content going into more detail on the difference in the plans and guidance for choosing the right plan for your organization.
Aside from the subscription plans, Office 365 has revamped and expanded the suite to contain some truly powerful applications to help you conduct business. Our Content and Conference Coordinating Teams here at ILTA have read the tea leaves and began putting together some dynamite podcasts, webinars and whitepapers to help dissect and identify the pluses and minuses of these applications. Take Microsoft Teams and Yammer for instance. Both have the ability to increase communication and collaboration by helping to prevent the back-and-forth of emails which often get “lost” or forgotten during the lifecycle of projects. Think of Teams as your unified platform for your distinct project chats, meetings and collaborations while Yammer acts as your internal social networking site whereby company announcements, strategies, policies and campaigns can be disseminated to the larger community. These applications can be further automated and improved by leveraging Power Automate, formerly known as Microsoft Flow. Power Automate allows you to turn your business processes into forms and workflows thereby removing manual tasks with built in AI capabilities. All of these applications and the possibilities with them sound exciting from a usage perspective, but what about data analytics? Enter Microsoft Power BI. With Power BI you have the ability to create interactive dashboards and reports from multiple data sources which provides actionable insights and help drive business decisions and results. As you can see, there is no shortage of things to discuss with regard to Office 365.
Microsoft Office 365 is a large suite of applications comprised of some familiar components, new applications and some big changes. It’s easy to get lost in all the news and hype regarding how these features will impact the legal industry and so your peers at ILTA have developed the content to empower you with knowledge and confidence to do what’s right for your organization and yourself. Stay tuned for more!