Office 365 comes loaded with useful apps – here are five you may be overlooking.
For many users of Office 365, familiar applications like Outlook, Office and Excel are the extent to which the powerful suite of tools is leveraged. Sharp-eyed users may have spotted other applications with names like Yammer, WhiteBoard and Visio. It turns out that, depending on your Office 365 subscription, you may have access to a host of wildly useful apps that you may have never even opened.
As a Microsoft Gold partner, Kiefer’s team of expert consultants routinely helps organizations learn to get the most out of their investment in Office 365. With work environments and business processes undergoing some big, quick changes, we wanted to spotlight some apps that may be going underutilized in your organization.
At Kiefer we’re big advocates of Teams. Since it was introduced, we’ve worked with many clients to help them leverage Teams – from simply getting started to more advanced collaboration strategies. Certainly, at the moment, Teams is proving to be a vital resource for organizations trying to adapt to remote work situations.
In fact, we’re such believers in Teams that we’re offering free Teams consulting for organizations needing help. If your Office 365 subscription includes Teams and you haven’t begun using it, there’s quite literally never been a better time to get started.
Formerly known as Microsoft Flow, Power Automate is a cloud-based service that supports personal productivity and business process automation via customized workflows. On the personal productivity front, it allows users to create their own automated workflows between their favorite apps to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data and more. On the business process automation front, it can shepherd information through a process such as a review, approvals, onboarding, procurement, or any other formalized business process.
Power Automate is a terrific solution for those interested in moving toward a modern workplace. The workflows you can create in Power Automate can range from simple to quite complex. The Kiefer team includes several Power Automate experts who can help you with your business process transformation goals.
Like Teams, here at Kiefer we’ve been Power BI boosters since it was introduced. The reason we like it, use it and feature it prominently in our consulting practice is because it’s fantastic at what it does. Power BI enables organizations to engage in data-driven decision making and data interpretation that provides insight into trends, anomalies and patterns…business intelligence, in other words.
Especially over the last few years we’ve seen interest in Power BI escalate. We’ve worked with numerous clients interested in faster and more accurate reporting, becoming capable of giving meaning to complicated datasets and enabling their organization to answer questions quickly. Power BI is ideal for these objectives as it presents the data in visually-appealing, easy-to-understand dashboard.
OK, so OneNote isn’t going to help you transform your business processes. It’s not going to suddenly turn your organization into a leading-edge dynamo. OneNote is a relatively simple tool that does a handful of things really well.
OneNote is primarily an app for organizing your thoughts and notes. It’s great for jotting down new ideas and concepts that you want to revisit later on, add notes to or share with others. Here at Kiefer we use OneNote to help us track opportunities and to evaluate whether those opportunities are well-suited for our team. OneNote is simple and robust yet surprising flexible. Take it for a test drive. If you don’t like, nothing to worry about. But, if you give it a chance, you may find OneNote has a place in your organization.
Microsoft Planner – as you may have guessed by its name – is an app for planning stuff. More precisely, it is a wonderfully adaptive app for managing projects. Planner is particularly well-suited for managing projects that engage multiple team members, consist of multiple tasks and deliverables and projects that require that the team meet specific deadlines.
Planner is card-based, meaning users can create cards for tasks, deliverables, objectives or for specific team members. The cards are easily dragged and dropped into various buckets of your chosen designation (e.g., “Completed”, “In-Progress”, “Not Started”, etc.). The app is superb for tracking tasks, assigning tasks to team members, assigning due dates, task collaboration and file sharing. Best of all, it seamlessly integrates with Teams.
There are more apps included with Office 365 that we’ll take a deeper look at later on. But for now, if you haven’t already, give these five a try. If you have questions about any or all of them, the Kiefer team is brimming with expertise – just let us know and we’ll be glad to help you optimize your Office 365 experience.