To better understand Office 365, we can think of it like your own personal office. Here you have the tools for getting the job done and effectively collaborate with your team — Email, Microsoft applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, an intranet and document management solution called SharePoint, cloud storage with OneDrive, and Skype for business, as well as a single user name and password to access all of them. While most business owners understand the value of email and Excel, Skype might be a new concept.
Skype for businesses
Skype is the same video chatting service that people have been using for years to talk with friends and loved ones around the world. But Skype can do much more, and for businesses, it has two key benefits: presence and video chat.
Your “presence” in Skype is basically described as your availability at any given time. Consider instead of picking up the phone to call Jim down the hall, you navigate to a list of colleagues on your Skype application. You see that Jim’s presence icon is red, indicating that he’s already on the phone with someone else or has a meeting on his calendar (as Skype is integrated with your Outlook calendar). Or maybe it’s green, indicating he’s at his desk and working. Instead of picking up the phone, you can send him a quick chat message.
Skype also allows businesses to hold video chat conferences. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on video teleconferencing equipment, you can hold a meeting in your conference room with a webcam and an internet connection. With features like white board, document presentation, and file sharing, it’s like your employees are right there beside you.
SharePoint is a separate feature. It is a cloud-based document management system that helps organisations collect, use, and reuse business data. If Office 365 is your office desk and Skype your phone, SharePoint is your file management system and records retention manager.
As a collaboration tool, SharePoint works with Skype and email almost seamlessly. If you stumble across a document that you have a question on, you can quickly send a Skype message to the person who created it using the integrated presence notification. More advanced SharePoint environments can even replace email-driven processes through workflows and automation.
SharePoint also allows users to simultaneously edit Microsoft Word documents, meaning two people can access the same document on SharePoint and edit it at once. User A will see a section blocked off for editing by User B, and will see the changes reflected as soon as User B saves or moves to a new section. This feature can help reduce the all-too-common version control conundrum that plagues collaborative projects.
SharePoint also contains powerful tools for managing both temporary information and long-term records — an essential component to developing robust corporate knowledge. As employees come and go, the documents and files they created will remain in SharePoint, accessible and easily findable by new employees as needed.
Separately, Office 365, Skype and SharePoint are powerful tools that help businesses make the most out of their information systems. Together, they provide additional value through increased collaboration, better information retention and discovery, and a more efficient work environment.
If you would like to know more about Office 365 or how to combine other powerful tools in your Office 365 account, just have a chat to one of our consultants on 1300 991 351 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will point you in the right direction!