What is Office 365?
- and why is it interesting to me?

With Office 365, you get the modern collaboration tools that let your employees create, find, share, and collaborate digitally.

Office 365 Collaboration Tools

You've probably heard of or already use Office 365 today, but are wondering if you're really taking advantage of the potential of the product. This is a guide that we update on an ongoing basis to provide an overview and insight into Office 365 and its capabilities.

Office 365 (for business) is a collection of products and services from Microsoft. This includes, among other things, a subscription to the Office suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) for all your devices, tools for voice and video calls, file sharing and document management, email, project management, intranet and management of published information (e.g. policies, information pages, management systems), and more.

In short, it includes Office 365 all the tools you need to succeed in your digital workplace. - The mobile office you always have with you no matter where you are.

With Office 365, you get the modern collaboration tools that let your employees create, find, share, and collaborate digitally. Write and share documents, store tasks, manage projects, and more

Users receive tools that are continuously improved and automatically kept up to date at the rate we have become accustomed to in a cloud-based world.

Of course, the tools work whether you want to log in from your mobile, your work laptop or from the country library in Denmark.

Below we will go through more structured what each thing is so that you can more easily understand why it is important for you and your company.

The Office suite, the Office applications for all your devices

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc. are the old common products almost everyone on the planet knows. But now it's no longer just Office for the PC. Today, Office is also available for the web, mobile and tablet.

You can purchase an Office 365 license that includes, or does not include, the Office suite. The absolute most common is to buy the one that contains it.

SharePoint - intranet, published information and document management

SharePoint is the cloud service where you store files and information that multiple people need to access. It's an entire platform for collaboration across organizational, departmental, and team boundaries for companies of all sizes. Microsoft calls it “Your mobile, intelligent intranet.”

Team sites or groups in SharePoint manage a team or project's documentation, either as documents or as notes in the shared OneNote notebook that comes with every SharePoint team site, and to spread information, you create pages and news directly in SharePoint.

In addition to this, you can view information from other sources in various ways through integrations, either using those available out of the box or by customizing them with the help of developers.

The goal of SharePoint is to be able to create, share, find and collaborate on information across the enterprise, as well as to inform and engage, leverage your collective knowledge, and transform business processes.

The vast majority of people who use SharePoint set up a standardized start page and redirect all employees' browsers to have it as their home page. There you add quick links to other applications, company news, navigation to other parts, calendar and other things that you want everyone to see at least once a day. A way to stitch the whole solution together and make it feel like an entrance to everything you have.

In modern SharePoint, we usually talk about two different types of surfaces; Teamsiter and Communication site. You can actually guess from the name pretty well what each type of site is for and it also shows that SharePoint sits on a couple of different hats. Your information pages, policies, manuals, etc. go to the communication sites - the collaboration, projects and departments end up on the team sites.

Many of the world's best intranets are built on SharePoint so you've probably already encountered it even if it was called something else in your workplace.

Microsoft Teams - communication, collaboration, and document management

Teams is a hub for real-time collaboration across your organization - conversations, chat, voice, video and conferencing

Groups (as we mentioned above) _can_ have Teams turned on and if there is a Team there is also a SharePoint-site.

Each group in Teams has one or more channels — see it as categories of discussions. The General/General channel is the default channel that all Teams receive. For the marketing team, you may want a couple of other channels such as the Spring Campaign 2023, the Ideas Corner and the World Wide Watch, while in the Finance team you want the channels Budget and Reports.

For each group, a document library is automatically created, where all the team's files and documents are saved and created according to the -1 folder/channel structure.

The channel structure of Teams is also reflected in SharePoint and in OneDrive as document folders for the various channels.

One exciting thing about teams is the ability to connect integrations with other systems. For example, you can set up a news link in the News Feed and automatically have competitors' public news published as posts directly in the channel. In the Spring Campaign 2023 channel, you may want to see as soon as someone has changed the status of a task in Planner, and in the Ideas Corner channel, you want to see when someone has created a formal improvement proposal in a SharePoint list (you can do such feeds with out of the box “apps” in Teams or using Power Automat)

Skype for Business - video calls and chat

Skype provides real-time chat, VoIP, audio, video and web conferencing - i.e. the same things as Teams Fast Teams has more features so the choice from Microsoft is quite logical.

Microsoft is working to replace Skype for Business Microsoft Teams. You can continue to use Skype for Business for a while, as it will take a while for Microsoft to get the full story of how Teams will replace Skype.

Exchange/Outlook - cloud-stored email, tasks, and calendars

This is usually what gets people's eyes on Office 365. Outlook gives you cloud-stored email, tasks, and calendars that are stored securely and accessible wherever you are.

A very good alternative to having an email server in the basement that needs to be upgraded and managed.

To-Do (Tasks) - prioritize and manage tasks

To-do lists with your day in focus. Microsoft To-Do lets you manage, prioritize, and complete the most important tasks you need to do every day.

Create tasks in The Outlook and prioritize and manage in To-Do so you can spend time on what's important.

OneDrive - cloud storage and file management

Store and share personal files belonging to your company, in a simple way, no matter where you are.

OneDrive gives each user 1TB of storage, which should cover most needs.

A lot of work from Microsoft lately has been put into creating a simple experience for sharing files with others. You can collaborate, in real time, on the same document as a vendor you shared a file with and know that everything is stored versioned in OneDrive.

For example, if someone accidentally removes all the content from the file, it can be recreated from a previous version. This is a security that makes it easier to adopt a collaborative approach compared to the previous one where only complete versions were shared between employees via email.

The goal of OneDrive is for you to have secure access to your files no matter where you are in the world and from any device.

Since you can send a link to a document, you also avoid working on different versions and ultimately having to merge emailed changes from 10 different documents.

Viva Engage - post, comment, share and like

Viva Engage (formerly Yammer) is the product in Office 365 that is most similar to social media like Facebook.

You have groups and you have feeds where people (or bots) can write posts, comment, share and like.

At first glance, the overlap with Teams large enough and choosing the right one can be difficult. Today, we advocate using Teams unless you have a very specific business case that makes Viva Engage the right choice — or why not use both Teams and Viva Engage?

Power Automate (Flow) - automate processes

Power Automate is one of the most interesting products that have appeared on the market in recent times. The purpose of the tool is simple: Automation of business processes.

The product is aimed not only at developers but also so-called PowerUsers who, with a graphical interface (and sometimes with the support of developers), can automate very complex flows.

Example: Say that when HR marks a new employment contract as “Signed”, it automatically creates a new user in Office 365, we send out welcome emails to the new employee, have them read through policies, notify the janitor that new keys need to be created, give them access to the intranet and department site, send an email to the gym asking for a new gym card to be issued, etc. All completely automatically. When everyone in the chain pressed “ok” on their respective part, the manager receives a notification that “now Eva is fully onboarded, time to start the skills development” - i.e. a new flow can be started.

This type of automation can save a lot of time and money.

An example of a more technically complex flow: When a salesperson marks a deal as won in Salesforce, we automatically create a project surface in SharePoint, copies over the templates needed by that type of project and invites whoever is in charge of the project to the newly created project surface.

PowerApps - create custom apps

A tool to create customized applications and mobile apps used in the company, at a much lower cost than previously required.

Examples: Driving records that use the phone's GPS and make it easy to record trips, tailor-made apps to register for events and communicate with attendees when the event takes place, simple holiday application or sick notice directly from the mobile phone.

These are examples of solutions that can be created in PowerApps and need nothing more than SharePoint and other parts of Office 365 to work.

Microsoft Forms - Surveys and Forms

Send out surveys and surveys to customers and employees or collect information from several different employees in a variety of formats. Answer one question in free text and another question with options, rate the boss with stars and show the comment bar only if you put 2 stars or less. These are the scenarios that will be easy to provide with Microsoft Forms.

Imagine, on the surface of HR in SharePoint, being able to bake a form where users themselves can apply for vacations or report discrepancies. It is now easy to do.

Planner - project management and planning

Planner is a simple project management tool to keep groups in sync around work that should/need/have/is in the process of doing. If you've ever come across Trello, you'll understand right away what it is.

The whole idea is based on planning visually in an interactive interface where you drag-and-drop organize your tasks into what are called “buckets”.

You can group and filter by status, who/who is assigned to the task, category, and date.

It is a powerful tool that can quickly give you an overview of everything you work on in different teams and the status of how the work is progressing in the different teams.

You have access to all your data, for all your teams, on all your devices through dedicated applications for the web and mobile.

OneNote - searchable notes

OneNote is an application for taking notes, information gathering, and collaboration between multiple users.

Take notes by typing with the keyboard or typing and drawing by hand. With OneNote, you can organize and reuse your notes across all your devices.

A notebook in OneNote works much like a binder with tabs for different topics. Under each tab there can be a number of different pages with varied content. Here you can collect notes, pictures, lists, audio comments and sketches.

Everything is digital and is in the cloud. This means that you can always access your notes wherever you are. And the notes are searchable.

Microsoft 365 - Office 365 and more

Office 365 is part of an offering called Microsoft 365. The offer extends to products that can, for example, push the right applications to your computer/mobile. AutoPilot makes it much easier for us to automate all the company's devices. When you unpack your new computer, it will configure itself via the cloud according to all the company's policies - you as a user just need to boot and run.

Office 365 Groups

Groups is not an application, but a concept you need to know.

They are a concept that can be difficult to adopt but they are a fundamental part of the Office 365 world and something that Microsoft is betting very much on.

A group is, in short, a set of persons and rights that receive a number of different resources linked to them in a number of different services. Not entirely easy to understand.

Groups are a way to create collaboration spaces across multiple Office 365 tools at once.

Think about it this way: You probably want the same people who have access to the group in Teams to have access to the group's documents in SharePoint and the group's email in Outlook. As time goes on, more and more of this interconnectedness is added to groups.

It's so far quite complicated for end users to keep track of what happens when you create a group because the decision _where_ you create your group from causes it to behave differently. A group created from Yammer don't get the same things attached to themselves out of the box as a group created from Microsoft Teams or from SharePoint.

Example: If you create a group from Teams you get a team and channel (s) in Teams, a SharePoint teamsite with a document library, a shared notebook in OneNote and a common email mailbox in The Outlook. If you create a group in Yammer do you get conversation in yammer, a SharePoint teamsite with a document library and a shared notebook in OneNote but no shared email mailbox and no Teams group is created.

Final Thoughts

In summary, Office 365 provides access to modern IT tools that let your employees create, find, share, and collaborate digitally.

The tools are constantly evolving and improving, and new features are being added all the time to make it easier to create and share documents, store tasks, manage projects and communicate.

Because everything is cloud-based, the tools work from all your devices so whether you want to log in from your mobile, your work laptop or from the office, you'll always access your files and can pick up where you left off last time.

Did you get a better idea of what Office 365 means after reading the above walkthrough?

Feel free to share the text with a colleague or on social media and get in touch with your thoughts and ideas on how we can make the description even better.

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