What is Office 365? – An Overview

Basic Information on Office 365

Developer Microsoft
Supported Operating Systems Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android
Release Date June, 2011
Service Hosting Cloud-based
Type Software as Service
Official Site https://www.office.com/

Office 365 is a cloud-based service provided by Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft has brought multiple products and services under one roof called Office 365. It is the repackaged and upgraded version of ‘Business Productivity Online Suite’ (BPOS). Office 365 holds a commendable place among cloud-service providers. Let’s take a look at its features and products that have contributed to its success.

Features of Office 365 Services

There are a number of features for which users want to enjoy Exchange Online services. Some of these features are -

  • Office 365 provides cloud-based service including emails, contact management, MS Office products, cloud storage facility, and many more. Which means users can access these facilities any-time, from anywhere in the world. This can be called the star feature of Office 365 suite.
  • The responsibility of security and maintenance of Office 365 is done by Microsoft itself. This should be enough to assure its users of the efficiency and safety of the products as well as services.

Highlighted Services of Office 365

Here we will discuss some premium services offered by Microsoft Office 365:

  • Outlook on the Web: This is the personal information management app in Microsoft Office 365. It includes web-based email client, calendar, contact book and task manager namely Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, Outlook People, and Outlook Tasks respectively. Exchange of emails, Address Book management, task and event management of Office 365 are done using this service. Items from OneNote can be directly turned into Calendar events or reminders using this product.
  • Office Online: As the name suggests, it is the online version of Microsoft Office apps. It mainly includes four Microsoft Office apps: MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint and OneNote. These lightweight versions of MS Office enable users to create text & tabulation documents, make presentations, and take notes. Multiple users can co-author and co-edit these documents in real time using Office Online services of Exchange Online.
  • SharePoint Online: This can be called as a collection of technologies that helps to manage, share, and store information. SharePoint offers services like collaboration facility, file hosting, and document management. When available as a part of Office 365 suite, it comes with services like Exchange Online, Skype for Business, OneDrive, etc. SharePoint’s OneDrive facility offers 15 GB storage to every user. SharePoint Online can be easily integrated with Outlook Web App, Office 365 Groups, and Yammer.
  • StaffHub: StaffHub is called the scheduler and employee hub platform of Office 365. Employees can stay in touch with colleagues and management using StaffHub. They can also use this program to manage schedule, change shifts, request off, etc. Both employees and management can send private messages and broadcast messages to others.
  • Skype for Business: This enterprise version of popular instant messaging app Skype comes with Office 365. It is made specifically focusing on the needs of business organizations. Main features of this product include Instant Messaging (IM), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Video Calls, Audio Conferencing, Online Meeting, Meeting Broadcast, etc. In 2017, Microsoft announced its merging with ‘Microsoft Teams’.
  • OneDrive for Business: This is the cloud-based data storage facility offered by Microsoft. Every customer gets 1 TB of cloud storage on OneDrive in order to store files. OneDrive lets you save files on the cloud from multiple synchronized devices. Users can also view and edit a single file from multiple devices and locations at the same time.
  • Sway: It is an interactive storytelling canvas included in Office 365. Using Sway, you can create digital presentations, newsletters, reports that look visually stunning and professional. Texts, images, videos, charts, tables, all can be included in your creation. It does not require users to have any professional training to use this platform.
  • Yammer: It is a social network platform for enterprises made for Office 365 by Microsoft. Using Yammer, people can collaborate with their fellow employees and clients to share ideas or ask questions. It is mainly used for private communication within a particular organization or its sister concerns.

Office 365 Add-Ins

To make your time spent with Office 365 more productive, there are free and paid add-ins available for Office 365. Besides enjoying these amazing Office 365 products from Microsoft, users can choose from a large collection of add-ins too. Here are some add-ins that will improve your Office 365 experience.

  • Boomerang: With Boomerang’s help, you can schedule an email and follow it up upon not getting any response. It also enables you to schedule a meeting right from the inbox without opening Calendar tab separately. It was awarded ‘Best Business Value Award’ by Office Team in 2017.
  • PayPal for Outlook: This is another effective add-in for Outlook. Users can attach a PayPal payment with their emails using this add-in. This is useful for both individual users and small businesses.
  • Yesware: The ‘Best Overall Office App Award’ went to Yesware in 2017. This add-in contributes to the growth of your business by telling whether the recipient opened your email and clicked on the link. It provides email tracking analytic right in your inbox.
  • Pickit Free Images: Copyright-free HD images can be searched, viewed, and saved for use with the help of this add-in. Users can add these images to documents without worrying about legal issue.

Office 365 Subscription Plans

Microsoft offers different personal and business plans for Office 365. Personal and Home plan subscribers get access to Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook, and Access. They also get OneDrive storage of 1 TB. Business Essential and Enterprise (E1) subscribers do not have access to Office Online apps. Office Business Premium users get all Office 365 services except Yammer, InfoPath, and a few other products. Enterprise plan (E3) subscribers can avail all Office 365 products.

Final Words

Office 365 has proven to be a great utility service by Microsoft. Since the day of its release, it is enjoying a growing popularity. Every day, more people are gathering under the umbrella of Office 365 to avail their amazing products. By innovating new products, Microsoft expects to draw more attention to Office 365 in coming future.