In recent years, Microsoft Office 365 has expanded to include a large group of products and services, all of which are continually enhanced with new features. Previously, Office 365 was simply a collection of siloed products, but now those products interact and add even more value to your organization through services, such as My Analytics, Office Graph and Office 365 Groups. We often hear "Office 365 can do everything" or "Office 365 will solve all your problems".But do you really know what you get when you buy Office 365?
Office 365 Products and Services Explained
Learn what products Office 365 includes, their interactions, and how value is added through additional services.
OneDrive for Business
A personal document- / file-storage library that provides an overview of your files as well as files shared by other users. OneDrive is available in a client application, which allows users to synchronize files on their personal hard drive and work offline.
Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks
Before Office 365, these products were only available as one unit: Exchange Server with the Outlook client. Now in Office 365 they are split in to 4 different applications, per their functionality: Mail manages the mailbox, sending and receiving e-mails. Calendar manages the user’s schedule with meetings and appointments, as well as showing shared calendars of colleagues. The contacts list is accessed through People. Tasks is a personal, simple and easy task management system, with planning abilities and due dates.
Microsoft SharePoint is an Enterprise Content Management platform that allows team members to manage content with centralized workflows, metadata and flexible security controls.
Skype for Business
Previously known as Lync, this product provides instant messaging, audio and video calling capabilities. It supports screen and application sharing among remote colleagues, is accessible by external users, and was recently enhanced to host live stream “town hall” meetings with up to 10,000 users.
The foundational Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher applications that now include “Cloud Productivity”, which enables multiple users to collaborate within the same document and leverage document history stored in SharePoint.
Based on the Office Graph service (discussed further below), Delve is an application that combines aspects of social networking, machine learning and a powerful search functionality. Users have a personalized profile page containing their contact details, colleague profiles, recently accessed documents and suggestions for content based on the user’s behavior within Office 365.
An Enterprise Social Network purchased by Microsoft and integrated into Office 365 to support company-wide conversations, collaboration and networking.
Video: Supported by Azure Media Services, the Video application allows the sharing of company videos and categorizes videos with similar content into channels (e.g., creates a standalone channel for all training videos). Azure’s technology ensures all videos are displayed correctly to a user based on their device and speed of connectivity.
Stream: The Stream application is currently in beta and is similar to the Video application; however, it can be used independently of Office 365.
Users can create an interactive presentation with content pulled from Office 365 or other third-party services, such as Facebook and Twitter.
PowerApps & Flow
PowerApps: A non-code based solution for building business applications. This solution is sometimes referred to as the InfoPath replacement for custom forms in SharePoint. PowerApps allow users to connect to data from different sources and provide an easy to use interface to facilitate tedious tasks.
Flow: An application that automates repetitive tasks. It does not replace SharePoint workflows, but streamlines with SharePoint and provides alternatives to those workflows.
A task manager with a cards-based layout. Users create a board (called a 'bucket') with different columns (To-do, In Progress and Done) and move tasks to different columns at the appropriate stage.
Created by the developers of Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams forms working groups that can use real-time chat communication to easily share information.
Visio, Dynamics 365, Project Online
These are not included in the most common subscriptions, but are available at an additional cost.
Visio: application for creating diagrams, vector graphics and flow charts adhering to global standards. It was always available as an extra application in the Office suite for a onetime cost, and now it can also be bought on a monthly subscription basis.
Dynamics 365: a brand-new application which combines ERP and CRM into one to work seamlessly together across sales, customer service, field engineers and other teams with the goals of better engaging customers and empowering employees.
Project Online: Also known as Microsoft Project Server, it's an advanced project management system with resource planning, timed entries and project workspaces.
This service tracks user activities, learns from them and provides the data necessary for Delve to predict and suggest content in which a user may be interested. It also informs Delve of a user’s reporting structure and of the colleagues with whom he or she have recently collaborated. Office Graph can also be queried to create a personalized dashboard and make business applications more intelligent.
Using Mail and Calendar, MyAnalytics aims to create better work habits by showing users how much time they spend in meetings, how they multitask best and with whom they communicate most/least.
Office 365 Groups
The Groups is intended to be the future of team collaboration. Because all groups work differently, Office 365 Groups lets teams customize which products are connected in a set. Groups can start with a small set of products and expand as necessary.
There are many products and services to choose from and learn about Office 365. The right partner should help your organization to leverage and learn how to use each product step by step as business needs arise, and to implement a change-management process to avoid users being overwhelmed.