Microsoft has long been the worldwide leader in productivity software for businesses large and small. For decades, Microsoft Office has been the industry standard, with everyone from large corporations to college students using it nearly every day. Despite the emergence of competitors – such as the open source OpenOffice and Google’s Google Docs – Microsoft Office has still managed to stand the test of time. This trend shows essentially no indication of slowing.
With Office 365, Microsoft is taking advantage of the growing trend towards cloud-based software and services, as well as simplifying and connecting their productivity and collaboration solutions.
Under Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, there is clearly a shift towards more aggressive innovation – not just in Microsoft’s Windows operating system, but across the entire enterprise. As a result, innovations in cloud software and the Office productivity suite are widely expected to accelerate.
Office 365 gives users greater access to their files
One of the most significant benefits that Office 365 provides is (at least) 1 TB of personal document storage. This storage can be used for anything, however it is most commonly used for – and most fully integrated with – Microsoft Office documents, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.
The ability to save these documents in Microsoft’s cloud storage system means that the latest version of the document is always available on the cloud, making it significantly easier for groups of individuals to collaborate on a document in real time.
Robust access control keeps documents safe while collaborating
In addition to allowing a group to collaborate on a document simultaneously, Office 365 provides a robust set of access control tools. Teams can build a file library, in which a set of documents can be shared, edited, and otherwise collaborated on with various team members. These tools also give the team lead or administrator the ability to track who is accessing files, as well as change permissions as necessary.
Office 365 is simplifying communication within offices and between teams
One of the biggest challenges facing many companies and teams is the increasing number of collaboration tools that are available to them. While it is certainly beneficial to have more than just email as a collaboration and communication option, the sheer number of choices has led to unnecessary complication and crowding of the overall workflow process.
Fortunately, Microsoft is actively working to simplify this process. Instead of using Outlook, Lync, Yammer, and every other collaborative tool, Microsoft wants to simplify the process with a new feature known as “Groups”. Groups currently links Exchange and SharePoint Online, and gives each member of a team the ability to share a calendar, share files on OneDrive, and more easily collaborate on documents in real-time.
There is not question that cloud-based solutions are the future not just for Microsoft, but for the business world at large. As cloud-based solutions continue to develop and evolve, it is reasonable to expect that Microsoft will continue to be at the forefront of innovation.