Let’s start at the beginning, what is Office 365? According to the Microsoft Office 365 for business FAQ: “Office 365 refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services)”.

This addresses the What very simplistically but not the Why. It doesn’t explore the synergistic benefits of leveraging this productivity ecosystem. To explain the Why without simply listing the feature benefits, I will take you through a typical user journey. Settle in and imagine yourself hard at work on a big presentation.

Work anywhere on anything:  Combining OneDrive, SharePoint Online and the Office applications

 You start your Office 365 experience by sitting at your work laptop, opening Microsoft PowerPoint and starting work on your big presentation. At the end of the day, you save it to your OneDrive location right from inside PowerPoint – as easily as you would save it to your desktop.

On your way home on the train, you suddenly think of the perfect message for your opening slide. You launch the PowerPoint app on your iPad and open your presentation directly from your OneDrive folder, adding that brilliant introduction. Your new version is automatically saved to your OneDrive so that when you get into work the next day, your presentation is up to date and ready for you to continue working on.

Office 365 stores your files in the cloud with OneDrive or SharePoint Online, making them available wherever you are. To make it even easier, you are able to access and work on your files on any device. Simply use Office apps installed on the device or log in to Office Online, the web-based version of the Office apps.

Work together: Share and collaborate with others from within your Office experience

Continuing with the journey, let’s say you reach a point in your presentation where you need to insert some data from your analyst. From within MS PowerPoint you click on the Share option and search your organization directory for Shelley, your numbers guru. You share the presentation with her and add a message asking her to add the relevant information. She is automatically sent an email with a link to your presentation along with your message. She clicks on the link and the presentation is opened directly from your OneDrive so that she can start working on your presentation with you.

You immediately see that Shelley is now working in your presentation. You can even see which slide she is on, and her changes are immediately reflected in your PowerPoint. But don’t worry, all the changes that you both make are saved to your OneDrive version of the presentation.

Communicate together: Reach out to your organization with Yammer or engage via video with Skype for Business

 On review of some inputs from Shelley, you realize that there’s a disconnect between what you were expecting and what she has added to your presentation. Right from within your PowerPoint presentation, you initiate a video chat with Shelley. It becomes apparent that she doesn’t have access to all the data you needed for your presentation and neither of you are sure how to source the data. Shelley recommends dropping the request on Yammer to see if anyone else in the organization can help.

You launch your browser and open Yammer, navigating to the Subject Matter Experts group, where you post your request. A short while later, you receive an email notification that Barry from Customer Retention has the data you are looking for. He shares the SharePoint Online file location with you, you copy the link and send it to Shelley via Skype for Business Instant Message. She wraps up the slide and your presentation is good to go.

Manage your work: Manage your team and their work with Microsoft groups and Planner

After the success of your presentation, you understand the benefits of leveraging your team and the Office apps, but you also suspect that you need to find a better way to manage the process. You start by creating a new Office 365 Group from within your Outlook app. You give it a name and add the relevant team members from your organization. You are all immediately able to share notes and files, and email the group directly.

Next, you launch Planner in your web browser and start creating tasks, setting due dates, adding attachments, notes and comments, and managing each task’s status. The team can now easily see which tasks need urgent attention, update tasks appropriately, and access all shared files directly from SharePoint Online.

Bring it all together

There’s one last step you need to take to bring it all together, so you launch Microsoft Teams. With Teams, you have a single application that brings the communication benefits of Skype for Business and the team management and collaboration benefits of Groups into one interface. Microsoft Teams quickly becomes your launch point for all productivity apps.

The wrap

Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Skype for Business, Groups, Planner and Teams are the tools that allow you and your team to work more productively, collaborate more efficiently, and communicate more accurately.

All these applications and experiences are brought together seamlessly through your one login to Office 365.

 Extend the power of Office 365 with Qorus

Qorus offers a suite of productivity enhancing add-ins for Office 365. They connect your Office apps with your best content, enabling users to search for and add re-usable content to documents, emails and presentations in minutes.

Document Builder for Word - Become more productive and build better documents faster with easy access to your best content.

Email Builder for Outlook - Improve email authoring by inserting existing content and generating important attachments.

Slide Builder for PowerPoint - Increase presentation efficiency & accuracy by automating and personalizing your critical documents.