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It's on everyone's lips - Office - or rather Office 365. But what is Office 365 actually? As a German service provider for Hosted Exchange, Skype für Business, and SharePoint, we have been looking at this exciting topic for a long time. There are new things in IT, development, and the world every day. Even with Microsoft's Office products, not everything is as simple as it seems. That's why we've written a comprehensive or "ultimate" guide for Office 365 which is intended to give an insight into the possibilities of Microsoft's Cloud Office. Our guide shows you what you need to know.
So let's start straight away.
What is Office 365?
So what exactly is this ubiquitous Office 365? Everyone is certainly familiar with Word, Excel, or Outlook. Office 365 is about giving every user access to these well-known Office applications and more. At its core, Microsoft's Office 365 is the license for exactly these Office tools.
Over time, however, more and more applications were added. First, as an Office application to install on the desktop and later also on mobile and for Mac.
This was followed by tools that improve everyday digital life. Under the term office services, which were previously known as server installation, Microsoft has added well-known services such as Exchange, Skype for Business, or SharePoint as a cloud subscription variant. Thus, "smaller" companies in particular had the opportunity to use professional tools from Microsoft since these tools would otherwise require their own server infrastructure. A hybrid of client software and server services was thus obtained.
This is not new and is called Software as a Service.
That wasn't new, but Microsoft's abundance created a toolbox with countless possibilities. The subscription model with monthly billing gave rise to Office 365 as Software as Service as we know it. Software as a Service briefly explained: You pay a user fee for the use and operation of software and hardware. As a result, high operating and, above all, acquisition costs can be saved. Or put more simply, you book an Office 365 plan and get access to certain applications and services, calculated monthly per user.
In den unterschiedlichsten Office Paketen gibt es nun verschiedene Zugriffsmöglichkeiten und Produkte, zusammengepackt als ein Paket - kosteneffizient, flexibel und einfach. Doch welches Paket ist das Richtige für mich? Im nächsten Abschnitt erklären wir die verschiedenen Pakete.
What does this mean for our company?
With Office 365 it is possible to activate enterprise functions for your company without your own server systems - whether e-mail, team communication, or data storage. In addition, many helpful tools have been included, such as Staffhub, Planner or the most awaited Microsoft Teams as the "team communication tool of the next few years".
Office 365 Global or Germany (DE)?
Before we get into the individual plans, I would like to explain the most fundamental feature to you at the beginning. You can choose between server location in Germany or whether you want to use Office 365 Global. The latter means that there is no territorial limitation of the server pool.
Since 2010 and the whistleblower Edward Snowden, German companies have been paying more attention to the security of their data. With this knowledge, Microsoft reacted in 2016 with the "German" Office 365. Unfortunately, there are significant differences to the regular Office 365 packages.
Not all of the Office 365 services are available, including Yammer or Microsoft Teams, but the biggest difference is the price. The Deutschland Cloud not only takes up the issue of fear of data loss but also into the pockets of entrepreneurs, with the DE Cloud accounting for around 20% more. A K.O. for some criterion when it comes to the economic evaluation.
As with many topics, the point of view is crucial. If pure protection against information leakage (economic espionage) is in the foreground, every company should ALWAYS also encrypt its data, regardless of the memory or location of the data. When it comes to laws and compliance, Microsoft can help with its Trust Center on the subject of commissioned data processing. (Microsoft Cloud Security and Privacy)
It's always difficult to rate. There is no general answer for or against a mission. To do this, you have to examine and weigh up a wide variety of factors.
So let's go ahead and take a closer look at the Office 365 packages.
Which Office 365 packages are there?
Broadly speaking, Microsoft differentiates between home, business, and enterprise. The two packages we are interested in, Business and Enterprise, are aimed at small, medium-sized, and enterprise companies. This classification is only partially true. Because for many smaller companies, depending on their needs, the enterprise plans can also be interesting.
Business and Enterprise plans.
There are different levels for Business and Enterprise, so-called plans. With Business or Enterprise, there is a plan that does not allow any Office applications to be installed on the client's PC, these are Business Essentials and the Enterprise E1 plan. These are cheaper, but only include access to the online version of the well-known Office tools, i.e. Word Online, Excel Online, etc.
All other plans include the download of the client applications. I.e. you can download Word and install it as software and use it on the PC as before. There are also functional differences between the online variant and the conventional installation, not all functionalities are available in the online mode of the programs.
Know the difference.
However, there is a big difference between business and enterprise when it comes to office services. While the smallest Business plan, Office 365 Business, includes all desktop applications, you have to do without all services (this also includes Exchange Online). You only get OneDrive, but with at least 1TB of storage to store and share files online.
With the Enterprise plans, you will find all services except for the Essential Enterprise E1 plan already mentioned. The individual Enterprise plans are distinguished by a number - Enterprise E1 to E5, whereby E2 and E4 no longer exist and are therefore not bookable.
A little further down in our guide we deal with individual services that we consider important and show which plans they are included in.
Always the right choice?
When making the right choice of Office 365, you should rely on experts who will work with you to determine your needs. We offer this free service to all our customers so that you are always properly licensed.
It all started with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Co. Personally, I don't know anyone who doesn't use or has not used at least one of these programs.
Office 365 contains these applications either as client/desktop software or as an online version. This means that you receive an all-around carefree package for your clients. Due to the homogeneous integration into all Office services, data can be shared and edited together or kept up to date with the help of versioning in SharePoint Online.
Working with Office applications and services merges seamlessly. The team thanks it with high productivity and little internal support.
An overview of the Office packages can be found here on our website!
Office 365 Services.
Let's get to the heart of it - or what makes Office 365 so exciting. As already mentioned, it is possible to simply book the server versions, which are otherwise very complex to install and maintain, from the cloud. Microsoft takes care of the provision, operation, and updates of your huge cloud platform.
What do you really need?
Certainly, not every service is required for everyday business - but I can promise you that it is worthwhile to deal with many of these services. Because in addition to the well-known services for e-mail or data storage, Office 365 has a superlative box of tricks ready.
Use Flow to automate routine tasks. Microsoft offers you the possibility to use templates that have already been adapted (flow templates) or you can adapt your flow to suit your taste.
Or network companies in Yammer (not included in Office 365 DE) and thus strengthen their internal communication. Use Forms to create surveys or polls and find out more about your customers.
These are just a few examples of what you can get. But let's get to the perhaps most important services and look at them in detail.
As mentioned, Exchange Online may not be Microsoft's most exciting and hip service, but it is one of the most important. Every business today has one or more email addresses. With Exchange Online, you don't just get an email address, you get a complete email system. It is important to mention that Microsoft's Exchange is a groupware solution. This means that it focuses on working together right from the start. With Exchange Online, not only can e-mails be received and sent, but appointments, contacts, and tasks can also be found here - 50% of a workplace, so to speak. Thanks to Active Sync, this information can also be accessed easily with mobile devices. Always carry your work with you in your trouser pocket.
Exchange Online offers:
- An E-mail with your own company domain
- Employee calendar or room calendar with release to other colleagues
- Global address lists or contact lists
- Control of e-mail communication with distribution lists
- Non-user-bound mailboxes for info@ or kontakt@ with access authorization
- Functions such as "Send as" or "Send on behalf"
- Automatic replies when on vacation or out of the office
- Synchronization of lists with SharePoint Online
- Personal mailbox archive for larger mailboxes
and much more.
I could list more things, but these are the most important ones in my opinion. For the sake of completeness, it should of course be mentioned that integration into Microsoft Outlook is course possible and also offers additional functions. Outlook is also integrated into the Office packages and does not require an extra license.
Security & Compliance.
Microsoft's Office 365 provides a variety of data security and compliance tools for Exchange Online. With threat intelligence and eDiscovery, the legal requirements for e-mails can also be met, as with normal “business letters”, for example, the legal period for storing invoices or offers.
Exchange Online the email tool.
Exchange Online is therefore one of the e-mail tools that covers an entire area of everyday office life. In addition, it provides a unified structure that allows the ecosystem to expand. Be it through contact synchronization or the introduction of room management apps to be able to use your office space even more efficiently.
Skype for Business Online.
Skype for Business Online, formerly Lync, is at the heart of Microsoft. Many are already familiar with the "normal" Skype to stay connected with friends or family over long distances via video calls. With Skype for Business, you can now use the whole thing in a business environment. Instant messaging, presence status, and online conferences with a large number of participants, that's exactly what Skype for Business is all about.
We started teaching how to make calls back in 2010, then Lync in 2010. A central communication system was of great importance to us. So we refined Lync and now also Skype for Business to a cloud telephone system – on a client-capable cloud - without a complex infrastructure of our own and without an additional gateway.
Dialing in via dial-in numbers registered in Germany is a popular way of inviting the whole world to meetings or product presentations with your company.
A lot of dust was raised when Microsoft announced that Skype for Business would be transitioned to Teams. Yes, it's true, Skype for Business Online is transitioning into teams - but we are already developing a solution to connect teams to the public telephone network. For more information, you can subscribe to our newsletter here: Go to Newsletter registration.
However, Office 365 includes Skype for Business Online or the following teams and enables many useful functions. Host online meetings or use Skype Broadcast for massive online meetings. Share your desktop with colleagues or partners. Start polls or explain complex topics using a whiteboard.
Skype for Business Online is still the tool that teams like to use extensively for communication, be it internal or external.
Microsofts Teams is the new "crown jewel" in Office 365. With teams, everything becomes easier, Microsoft promises a new world of team communication.
But what exactly are Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams sees itself as an interface, where chats, calls, and video conferences are connected. A platform for intuitive and spontaneous communication within teams or the entire company. Microsoft Teams can be broken down into departmental teams or project teams. The advantage: all members of the individual teams always have the same level of information.
Subdivisions can then be made in so-called channels. Our recommendation is not simply to roll out teams and then the deluge but to discuss the requirements with the teams individually.
In addition to teams and channels, you can use tabs or the connector function to integrate other Office 365 services, such as Planner's task board or an RSS feed from your company blog. The possibilities through the integrated App Store are endless and far-reaching.
As already mentioned in the Skype for Business Online section, the communication tool is fully integrated. Team chat, calls, and video conferencing have never been easier. Thanks to the really well-thought-out interface, all users can find their way around even better.
Microsoft Teams should not only be the crown jewel and future Microsoft "business operating system" - it is with every fiber, function, or app!
Microsoft Teams Telephony the most modern cloud telephone system.
With the Microsoft Teams integration of deHOSTED by NetTask, you can now make calls to the public telephone network via Microsoft Teams and use the latest cloud telephone system functions. Calls in Microsoft teams can be initiated or accepted both on the desktop and on the mobile phone via the app.
Cloud telephony for companies.
Make work easier with useful calling features - including call forwarding after consultation, music on hold, and cloud voicemail in Teams.
Just make a phone call to the team.
Combine "Phone System" in Microsoft Teams with best-in-class team features like group call pickup, call delegation, and community lines.
First-class customer support.
With a cloud auto attendant and call queues, the Phone System ensures every customer call is answered and routed correctly.
Manage and monitor calls in Microsoft 365 via the deHOSTED Control Panel + Teams Admin Center and Call Quality Dashboard. Relieve your IT team with a central solution.
Microsoft To Do.
There is a lot of news about Microsoft To Do from the former Wunderlist developers "6 Wunderkinder". One thing is for sure though, Microsoft wanted Microsoft To-Do to be an integral part of the Office 365 subscription from the start. And the idea behind To Do is as simple as the name.
In the jungle of the many to-do apps on the market, Microsoft wanted to provide native integration into all Office 365 application services. This allows you to create tasks and task lists and distribute or delegate them to colleagues in a team.
Visually, Microsoft To-Do knows how to shine, similar to its not-quite-direct predecessor Wunderlist. Simple operation and looks make it a fast and robust tool in the office or on the go.
Planner - the attack on Trello and Co. can begin - Microsoft seems to have proclaimed the approach something like this. The Planner is not new – Planner may not be innovative when there are already many card planning apps (behind Trello, Planner, and Co. hide so-called agile methods, as is originally the case with Kanban). The reference to the Kanban method cannot be denied and with its methodical approach to agile process management, it does not stand alone.
More and more teams want to work agile and descriptively, learn from the big ones, and become successful. Maybe the intention for an agile method is not the right one, but if it helps companies deal with it, I'm fine. With Planner, you get exactly the tool: easy to use, but with so much dynamic and power under the "board". Because that's what it's all about, a board on which tasks in the backlog or task collectors are just waiting to be processed. Agile teams can now use the pull principle to pull a task into the next basket and start working on it. This method has its origins in Japan, in the 1950s, where it was used for resource monitoring.
The nice thing about Planner is that almost all data from a wide variety of services can be linked - documents, colleagues, or images. You can add notes and due dates (although this is not directly equivalent to the Kanban method, but is now unthinkable without it). You can then display tasks for each process or the schedule for each project. In this way, standard processes can be improved or a more precise final invoice can be created for projects.
Everyone sees through filters.
Thanks to Planner's various filters, those responsible for projects always have an overview of the status or standstill of certain sub-processes and projects. Grouping by specific indicators is also useful to monitor a process or project. Nevertheless, with all the monitoring, the tasks for the user always remain well-prepared and can contribute to an increase in productivity.
Planners and teams go hand in hand.
The integration into teams is also very successful for my taste because you can display the board directly in a channel and don't have to leave teams. So you always have tasks and teams in one place.
Office 365 security and compliance.
Microsoft has done a good job with Office 365 or the second flagship Azure and looked at the issue of security and compliance holistically. So not only useful things like the reference to working with confidential data in Outlook and Co. were implemented. Rather, the topic of compliance extends across the entire product range in Office 365.
Under the item Security and data protection in the Office 365 Admin Center, you will find your own dashboard for archiving, auditing, and all important topics related to the security of your data.
Another helpful resource is the Trust Center which is available at: Microsoft Trust Center
can be found. Here Microsoft gives answers to everything. I recommend that you take a look - but it's best to wait until the end - now let's take a closer look at the topics of eDiscovery, Data Loss Prevention &Protection, and Threat Intelligence.
If you've made it this far, congratulations, and thank you for your attention. Office 365 is no longer just an issue for administrators who install Outlook, Word, and Excel. Rather, it has become a place for productivity and information. Every company, regardless of size or industry, benefits from the complexity of the tools. And there's more to discover, we've completely left out topics like Power Apps or Yammer so far. Let us know if you'd like to read more about it.
In my conclusion: it is worthwhile for you, your team, or your company to deal with the topic of Office 365. Due to the homogeneity of all solutions, services, applications, and extensions, completely new possibilities are available. Get the most out of Office 365 and put your team on the road to success.
Do you have questions about Office 365? Let us know, we will advise your company on deployment and roll-out.
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