The Office 365 suite of products is huge, with plenty to discover beyond just Outlook, Word, and Excel. Today we’re checking out some really useful applications that you can find in Office 365 – some included as part of your subscription, and some that are a small additional expense each month.
Our list includes a productivity booster, a presentation creation powerhouse, an online bookings system, and an automation tool to reduce repetitive manual tasks staff perform every day on your systems at work. Have a look through and see how they can make a big difference in your workplace.
1. Microsoft Sway
Still using Powerpoint for work presentations? Want presentations that are like awesome, free-flowing web pages made by a graphic designer instead? Of course, you do.
Microsoft Sway is going to be your new favourite tool for creating beautiful, modern presentations that can be interactive, use narration, and be image and design rich. It can also be used to create newsletters, or other storytelling concepts, such as a training package.
This completely online tool allows you to share and publish your creations with whoever you please – internally or externally. This way, anyone you choose can access it at any time via a browser. It’s not a file that needs to be shared; it’s just there, ready.
The workflow will be familiar to users of PowerPoint, with designs, styles, and cards all standard with the interface.
Sway is included as part of all Office 365 subscriptions.
2. Microsoft Bookings
Who wants to pick up the phone and book in an appointment these days? No one! We want to send a calendar meeting invites and schedule in doctor appointments on the web. We want automatic reminders and a block automatically sent to our calendar. As a business, we don’t want to be spending hours on the phone taking bookings.
An online appointment setting system:
- Saves time on the phone or email
- Avoids errors in manual entry
- Prevents more missed appointments by sending reminders
There are plenty of online bookings systems available to choose from, however, Office 365 Business Premium (and any higher plan) comes with its very own solution, Microsoft Bookings, or you can add to your lower package at an additional cost.
“Via Bookings, you can record customer preferences, manage staff lists and schedules, define your services and pricing, set business hours, and even customize how services and staff are scheduled.”
Microsoft Bookings allows you to create a booking webpage, such as this Financial Planning example. From there, the involved staff will be notified, calendar updated, and customer’s details recorded for reminders. You even have the ability to allow cancellations or rescheduling.
3. Microsoft Flow
Heard of Zapier? Or If This Then That? They’re little pieces of connector software that help automate your workflows, such as adding new SurveyMonkey responses to an Excel spreadsheet or adding new Facebook Lead Ads to Salesforce. Microsoft Flow is the O365 solution to help connect up the dots between your applications – saving your team time on manual entry tasks.
Unlike other services, Flow is focused on the Microsoft suite – which is great news, as this is often where third-party alternatives are missing the mark a little.
Examples of Microsoft Flow templates include:
- Save Outlook.com attachments to OneDrive
- Send a “working from home” email to your manager via a button on mobile
- Send Microsoft Forms responses to Approvals, then Sharepoint if approved
- Copy Outlook tasks into a Trello board
- Notify your team about new opportunities in Dynamics 365
Flow supports a huge number of apps, with plenty of triggers to choose from, which you can build yourself – you aren’t restricted to their templates. There’s also the option to build multi-step Flows if needed.
Flow is free for 750 runs/month, as many different Flow compositions as you like, and checks for updates every 15 minutes. Flow Plan 1 gives you 4,500 runs/month, 3 minute checks and premium connectors at a cost of $5USD/user/month. Flow Plan 2 is for bigger businesses and gives you 15,000 runs/month, premium connectors, organisational policy settings, and business process flows for $15USD/user/month. Certain plans are included free with different Dynamics 365 plans.
4. Microsoft MyAnalytics
How is it that some days at work you’ve been there – and busy – all day, and yet somehow you feel like you’ve achieved absolutely nothing? When you’re in 100 meetings then when you’re at your desk just responding to emails, you can feel like you’re drowning in admin.
MyAnalytics is a tool that helps track where individuals spend time, as well as how people spend their time as a team, who you spend time with the most, and when you’re multi-tasking or focused. Armed with these insights, you can redesign the workday or week to make better use of time.
By analysing how you’re spending your time, it’s easy to see where changes can be made to boost productivity. When 47% of meeting time is unproductive, 28% of the week’s working hours are spent on email, and people only get 3 minutes of uninterrupted work time before they’re distracted, we need to better manage time.
The first step to better managing time is to examine your own to see how it is spent. Without analysis, you can’t come to the best conclusion about where to go from there.
MyAnalytics is useful to help your team identify where they can make better use of their time, plus privacy-centric for users – managers and systems admins do not have access to this data.
Microsoft’s MyAnalytics is included with Office 365 Enterprise E5, or can be purchased on other plans for $4USD/user/month.
We help clients discover which tools and services are the perfect fit for their business, as well as manage cloud infrastructure solutions so you’re focused on your business instead of IT stresses. Get in contact with us now at A1 Technologies to learn how we can help you grow.
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