We've been having more than a few discussions with companies who fell into Office 365 by chance rather than design.
It seems to be all too common in small business that the IT services company supposed to be looking after the server and taking the backups hasn't been doing that, the backups have long since failed, then the server fails ... and then the quick way to get the business back online is to 'start fresh' in Office 365.
When this happens, it is almost certain that the Office 365 environment is poorly established and that the customer who has been let down by their IT support is thinking about business survival and not about transforming their business through modern technology.
If you fell into Office365 this way (and you've had time for your nerves to settle) then there are probably many advantages you are not accessing that could save you time and money. Here are our top 3.
If you're using an Office 365 Business Premium subscription you're entitled to Office licences for Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access for 5 mobiles, 5 tablets and 5 PCs.This means not only can you use the latest versions at work, but also if you need to work from home or on the go.With Office software now available for IOS and Android, you can be really productive on any device which means you can possibly work much more flexibly than being tied to a desk.
Of the 2 options for document storage in Office365, if any, OneDrive is what most small business will be using. This is fine as far as it goes but it is simple storage and primative sharing.
In comparison, SharePoint can provide additional capabilities that help with common productivity issues in the workplace
a) Version contol - keep track of document versions without needing to do this with the file name. If your filenames are things like "Accounts Jun Final Final v3.6" then you need version control
b) Search - the search in SharePoint is super powerful and the results filters let you get to the results you need. Did you know the average worker spends up to 30% of their time trying to find information they know exists but can't locate?
c) Metadata - information about your files. Some of this is automatic, but you can tailor to suit your needs. If for example, you want to tag all of your quotes with the quote amount, see that in the document properties, sort by it and search by it, you can.
Everyone we know who's tried it loves OneNote and can't imagine how they did without it.
It's your virtual notebook where you can type, scribble, clip and paste, photo, video or record audio, so the options for your preferred way of making notes are all there. Then you can organise into Notebooks, Sections and Pages to provide the structure that makes most sense.
Whilst all of that will keep you organised, OneNote takes things to the next level with sharing and co-authoring so that collaborators can all work in the same note, for example sharing the responsibility to update meeting decisions, or to complete a stocktake or a site audit.
The superpower of OneNote is the cross device synchronisation though. This means a note taken on your phone, automatically appears on your desktop, and your tablet so you never have that feeling of knowing that you wrote something down, and not knowing where.
Office 365 is amazing value for money even when you get the lowest level of benefit from it by just using email and storage. However, those businesses that are exploring the productivity improvements of more comprehensive adoption of Office 365 are the real winners. They get that the benefit is not a cost saving versus traditional IT, but a cost optimisation across the entire business by working smarter, gaining discretionary effort from people enjoying flexibile access, and avoiding waste of rework due to poor communcation or lost information.