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Microsoft Office 365 - your SaaS solution for the Digital Workplace

A Digital Workplace is an environment where communication happens around the clock, and where knowledge and decisions are synched, stored, and streamlined.

Microsoft Office 365 brings the high availability of the cloud and the SaaS benefits to the classic Office suite, making content accessible anytime and anywhere. Data loss prevention, multi-user editing, Teams and Outlook integration are just some of the key features which make Office 365 a complete SaaS solution of choice for work and life. 

What is a SaaS solution?

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SaaS (Software as a Service) is a way of renting an application or an entire solution for your organization. Your employees use the application over the Internet, in a browser. The SaaS provider (or vendor) ensures that the application’s hardware, infrastructure, security, and deployments are up-to-date. You simply enjoy using the application. You just focus on achieving your business goals and getting your work done. 

SaaS is great deal.

  • You pay for what you use, so you can scale up or down easily. You do not need to buy as many licenses as users and devices. 
  • You pay for a subscription, which means that you benefit from the latest updates automatically. 
  • You do not perform manual updates (which are less frequent than those that come with a subscription model). 
  • You access the application online from a browser.   
  • You do not install the application yourself. 
  • You do not maintain the hardware on which the application runs. 
  • You do not buy or install special software to be able to use the software you just bought.
  • You can access the application from desktop, laptop, or smartphone. 
  • You can retrieve your data even if one device stops working. 

Key takeaway

 With SaaS: 

  • You are never locked out. 
  • You are always connected to your data.   
  • You are concerned only with using the application rather than maintaining the application. 
  • You cut down on maintenance and renewal costs. 

What is Microsoft Office 365?

Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud SaaS solution that offers subscription-based access to a service bundle which you can access online over a browser. Microsoft Office 365 is not an application or a system you install on your PC or phone. 

The digital office

With this one solution, you have an entire digital office up and running in no time. The service bundle inside Office 365 helps you: 

  • Send emails (Outlook) 
  • Access calendar (Outlook, Teams) 
  • Send meeting invites (Outlook, Teams)  
  • Manage your tasks (Planner, Outlook, Teams) 
  • Share files and information (Teams, SharePoint & One Drive) 
  • Find and search resources system wide (Microsoft 365)   
  • Collaborate with colleagues (online Office suite, Teams)   
  • Create or read Intranet pages (SharePoint) 
  • Communicate with interest groups (Teams) 
  • Communicate for social networking purposes (Yammer) 

The extra-SaaS benefits

Office 365 boast several additional SaaS benefits: 

Anywhere operations 

Microsoft responsibility over data centers and infrastructure 

Built-in security and compliance with industry standards

Straightforward end-to-end experience: find your way around, use interchange formats, collaborate, integrate and benefit from the default system integration 

Starting with April 2020, the solution was renamed as Microsoft 365. 

How can Microsoft Office 365 turn my workplace digital?

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When transformation occurs, old behaviors are made redundant. To see how Microsoft 365 can transform the way you work, you must understand how your behavior will change for the better. 

Data transfer

Context 

You want to send a business plan to your managers. 

Before Office 365 

In the absence of an interconnected system, you could perform this task in several steps: 

  • You could store the document on a USB/hard-drive, and give the drive to your managers.   
  • You could send a bulk email with an attachment.   
  • You would then need to save many versions of this document and ultimately reconcile all the feedback. 

After Office 365

You can share a document via a link, set the edit permissions over the document, and manage the changes made by several people by always accessing the latest version. 

Data storage

Context

You want to keep a record of all your business plans, assessments, and specifications. You have several folders on your laptop/PC/server.

Before Office 365

To store and archive your assets, you could rely on your laptop/PC/server or other external drives. To make sure, you have the latest version of your assets, regular manual backup or physical transfer had to be scheduled for.

After Office 365

Online storage of all your assets is included in your subscription. 

Data availability

Context

A virus creeps in on one of your devices. You want to keep using your data and documents.

Before Office 365

First and foremost, to ensure that your data is safe to use once again, you would need to isolate the virus. Then, you would need to assess how much of the data got lost or corrupted.

You would then decide whether to copy the valid data onto another device or not. As a lesson learnt from this event, you would invest in some external storage device and regularly back up your data.

After Office 365

In case of an attack, your data is still secured. How? Backup is automatic, cloud-based, and no longer requires you to invest in external storage devices. If your device is compromised, you just log in with your Microsoft account on another device, and all your data is there. 

Data access

Context

You need to work on a document with several other people.

Before Office 365

Real-time, simultaneous editing was not possible. A solution would have been: 

  • For each person to work individually on a document section. 
  • For another person to bring the sections together in a master document via copy-paste. 
  • For the document to be distributed via email, for changes to be made offline, and then for a final person to reconcile all the comments and adjustments.

After Office 365

Real-time, simultaneous, and cross-device editing is now possible. One possible scenario is to: 

  • Initiate a document in Word online or desktop. 
  • Save the document in your SharePoint or OneDrive (for Business) repository.
  • Share a link with your colleagues.   
  • Edit whenever you want simultaneously and have access to the latest version with a simple click.

You can easily diversify your options given the fact that SharePoint, OneDrive (for Business), and Outlook are integrated with Teams. 

Versioning and payment

Context

You want to use the Office suite each year.

Before Office 365

You would need to:

  • Buy a specific (desktop) version and as many licenses as needed per user.
  • Install the kit yourself and maybe “know a guy” who can troubleshoot the process.
  • Install the fixes and patches yourself.
  • Repeat the process above to have a newer version.

After Office 365

You just pay a subscription and the rest is taken care of automatically behind scenes. There is no installation, and Office 365 is multi-user and scalable. 

How does Microsoft 365 connect you with your work?

Here are some examples which highlight how convenient it is to work with Microsoft Office 365: 

  • Yammer and Word: Open Word Online and start a Yammer discussion. 
  • Office suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel): Open an Office suite instance online, make changes to a shared document and check your colleagues changes in real-time for shorter feedback loops. 
  • Outlook and OneDrive: Work on a file and email it as a (OneDrive) link, to access the latest file version at all time. 
  • OneDrive – SharePoint and external sharing: Share files with external parties via OneDrive and SharePoint over link by adjusting view/edit permissions and requesting mandatory Microsoft login for recipients. Also, if you are interested in a comparison between One Drive and One Drive for Business, you can check out this article.
  • Office suite and Delve: Find specific information by searching the entire range of Office assets (files, people, groups) with Delve. System-wide search is contextual (all files on the same subject, all the resources of a recurring meeting, all the assets shared across a channel or sibling channels). Delve also enables you to create your very own dashboard with favorite assets grouped by type or area of interest.  

In brief

Choose Microsoft Office 365 if you want to: 

  • Move your office work from desktop to cloud. 
  • Have your content (files, notes, meeting recordings) stored in a safe, online location. 
  • Access all content-productivity tools in one place. 
  • Have all your content integrated with SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams. 
  • Keep your content updated in real time. 
  • Distribute and collaborate on files simultaneously with your team. 
  • Take email to the next level by having calendar, files, tasks, notifications in synch. 
  • Search for information throughout the system. 

Going for Microsoft Office 365, you can reap the entire suite of SaaS benefits: 

  • You pay a subscription which you can easily upgrade depending on your needs. 
  • You never have to install a license or be worried about rolling out upgrades or security fixes. 
  • You recover your content from your online account, in case of hardware failure.   
  • You can scale easily if your organization grows.
  • You have specialized support and reduced downtime.