One of the many benefits of using Office 365 is how quickly Microsoft releases new features and services. It seems almost every day, there’s a new feature that improves productivity and helps us communicate a little better. But with this deluge comes confusion—which Office 365 services do we use, and how? For companies that have already heavily invested in custom solutions in SharePoint and Azure, it can be a little tricky to navigate. To that end, eSoftware Associates Inc. has built the following Office 365 decision tree to help.
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To be sure, this isn’t a substitute for a deep-dive, requirements-based analysis. Here at eSoftware Associates, we help our clients navigate the muddy waters of Microsoft’s catalog by understanding business needs first, then marrying them to a technology that first their needs. But this Office 365 decision tree can help walk you through where you should begin.
To Customize or No
At the far left of the Office 365 decision tree is the decision to customize. This first step is the most crucial. At the moment, most of the newer Microsoft features lack the ability to customize. So if you like how the Teams app functions, but want to add some special features like workflows or custom CSS branding, you’re out of luck. SharePoint continues to provide (either out of the box or through custom development) most of the features of the rest of Office 365 plus customization.
If you’ve decided you’re fine without a whole bunch of customizations, the next question is are you planning to work with folks outside your organization. External access has come a long way since the early days of SharePoint. For Office 365, it’s easier than ever to collaborate with your clients and suppliers.
If you’re looking for just files, OneDrive is going to be your best bet. Otherwise, Microsoft Teams, a newer feature that combines calendars, tasks, documents, and group chats into a single interface, might be a better feature for you.
Internal Work Only
For those who just need to collaborate within your own team, there’s a bevy of tools at your disposal out of the box. What was once only available to companies with big IT budgets is now available included in your Office 365 license. Things like Data Visualization and Unified Messaging/Communications which help bring your business closer together. Even Microsoft Project-like Microsoft Planner adds value without needing more budget.
As Microsoft grows and expands, more features will be added, and the existing services listed here will be updated and improved. By working with a Microsoft Certified Partner like eSoftware Associates, Inc., you can be sure to know exactly which feature set meets your requirements, ensuring you’re getting the most from your investment.
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