How Office 365 Keeps the Gennix Team Organized - Part 1
I was at a conference about six years ago when an industry vendor began talking about Microsoft's new subscription model for the Office software suite. "It was the way of the future!" they said and an important part of their cloud computing strategy. Honestly, I didn't really get it and couldn't see our clients spending money every month for software they normally only purchased every few years. It seemed like a bit of a money grab from Microsoft; forcing us into a new way of consuming their software.
Google got a head start on cloud productivity with the launch of Google Docs in 2009 giving anyone with access to a web browser the power to edit a text document, crunch numbers in a spreadsheet or create a slide presentation online. Those web applications were really cool but perhaps a bit rudimentary and not what office workers were used to using for creating documents. Almost everybody we know uses Microsoft Office applications but probably only 10-15% of the software's capabilities. With the advent of Google Docs we now had two options; either make documents almost anywhere with a basic toolset or use the more powerful Microsoft Office while chained to your work desk.
Over the last half dozen years Microsoft has changed all that! The online versions of their software are very similar to the computer installed applications we know and love. You can easily start an Office document on the web and then work on it in the full application with the click of a button. And one of the great things about a subscription is that you always get the latest version; Microsoft even lets users install the applications on up to 5 computers. Depending on how your business creates and stores documents you can, in some cases, run your entire operation in the cloud and experience complete mobility, flexibility with very high security.
Ok with that introduction I want to mention one way we have been able to leverage the online features of Office 365 ourselves (I will describe several more in a future post).
A big advantage to cloud applications is group access to view and edit documents. When we are working on more complex projects with several team members making changes it can be hard to track overall progress without getting a bit lost. We use OneNote Online to create a table of tasks with boxes people can check as items are completed. If issues come up the technician writes notes in the table explaining the problem and what needs to be done to resolve it. The neat thing is that everyone can see the progress in real time on whatever device they choose (Microsoft has written iOS and Android versions of the apps as well many of which are free). The manager creating the document simply sends an invitation to others who immediately get the appropriate permission to access it online. By leveraging these strengths of Office 365 we’ve been able to create, in a matter of minutes, an easy system for tracking team progress. For the manager it’s a bit magical to be able to sit at your desk and watch work being completed in the field, in real time.
I hope that example gets your wheels turning a bit, there really are endless possibilities. Office 365 is changing the way we work at Gennix and how we interact with our team. If you are (or would like to be) a client of ours, we would love to demonstrate more of what the online platform can do for you and the productivity of your team. Please reach out to us, we're always ready to help!