How to Optimize Office 365: 12 Easy Tips

 In Employee Experience, Future of Work

Office 365 (O365) is one of the most ubiquitous software programs in business today. Unfortunately, however, most end-users are not getting the most optimized experience. It was designed for “desked” knowledge workers, who work in an office, leaving behind your important frontline workers. Also, much of its software features are siloed because O365 doesn’t truly offer a unified experience across these different tools.

Statistics about Office 356

  • Office 365 (O365) has nearly 70 million active users.
  • This represents about 6% of its total of 1.2 billion Office users.
  • Around 20% of corporate employees use an Office 365 cloud service.
  • With 79.1% of organizations possessing at least 100 users, OneDrive for Business has the highest penetration rate.

Improve Your O365 User Experience

With the right add-ons and integrations, you can get far more productivity and efficiency from O365. Try these twelve tips.

Tip 1: Say goodbye to cutting and pasting when you need to communicate messages to your entire workforce.

When you need to update your whole workforce about an IT change, improvement, or security risk, you probably waste a lot of time (and leave yourself open to errors) cutting and pasting messages to broadcast via multiple channels. Integrating SharePoint with an approved Microsoft partner like SocialChorus, can help you reach your entire workforce efficiently and effectively, even the hardest-to-reach frontline employees.

Here’s how it works. You will publish once from your workforce communications platform, and the integration then publishes onto all your channels including SharePoint (email, digital signage, employee engagement apps, etc.). Amplify your investment and say goodbye to needless cutting and pasting.

This SharePoint Connector streamlines your internal communications workflow. Also, you’ll get unified view across your comms channels for a more in-depth understanding of performance analytics.  

According to Mike Ammerlaan, Director of Microsoft Office 365 Ecosystem at Microsoft, “Digital transformation is a major priority for many of our customers and internal communications play a critical role in this. The integration of SocialChorus with SharePoint allows companies to digitally transform more quickly, connecting multiple communication platforms to inform and align employees at large companies.” 

Tip 2: Make it easier to share information via Yammer.

A workforce communications platform also allows you to integrate your communications workflow and then publish to Yammer. This will help your employees collaborate, build community, and share information.

Using a partner API (from employee communications leaders like SocialChorus), you will deliver a seamless communications stack in tandem with O365.

Tip 3: Find colleagues’ contact info and schedule meetings more easily.

The updated Microsoft Teams mobile app in O365 allows you to improve your business productivity with features, such as the ability to search for colleagues within your organization and schedule meetings.

Optimize it further by using SocialChorus’ Content Amplifier to publish content across channels, such as Teams. Content Amplifier works by with the addition of a simple snippet of code (which you only need to input once) to the desired channel, such as Teams. Then employees will automatically start to see personalized content. Today’s workers have preferred channels in which they like to receive company information, and by meeting them where they are, you will increase employee engagement, retain talent, and give them the tools they need to thrive.

Tip 4: Save time typing to-do notes and assigning tasks to colleagues.

Most of us use to-do lists to stay on top of tasks and keep our action items from falling through the cracks. Now Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are being used to enhance programs in O365 like Microsoft Word.

According to the specs of this new AI feature, MS Word would allow you to input/type a to-do item, such as “TODO: improve this paragraph,” and  AI-enabled MS Word would then recognize and track such kind of commands/items. This way, when you open the document again, you will be able to view a list of the remaining to-dos.

You can also click each one to navigate to the place in the document where the to-do item was added. A built-in collaboration tool is also available with this AI feature. If you @mention someone within a to-do item, MS Word will notify that individual with a link to the relevant spot in the document via an email.

Tip 5: Improve the quality of your business writing.  

You can further increase business productivity with Office 365 by using the newly-launched editor in PowerPoint.

With the help of natural language processing and machine learning, this editor offers an intelligent editing and proofreading service. In addition, the editor in PowerPoint will give you recommendations for your writing.

For example, the editor will highlight and offer suggestions to you to fix incorrect grammar and awkward word choices. In addition to this, it will also make suggestions to make your writing more concise and clear.

Tip 6: Create Outlook tasks in a snap.

You can further enhance your business productivity with Office 365 by making use of the updated Tasks feature in Outlook on the web.

This updated feature allows you to create a task by dragging and dropping an email into your Tasks pane. By dragging and dropping into your calendar, you can easily schedule the task as well. Your to-do tasks will also be readily accessible in the To-Do app.

Tip 7: Start using surveys, quizzes, and forms within your PowerPoint presentations.

 Microsoft Forms now allows you to insert surveys, quizzes, and forms within PowerPoint presentations to obtain audience feedback. The latest version of Microsoft Forms will provide a seamless way for you to interact and connect with respondents/participants.

Tip 8: Collaborate on documents in real time, in the Cloud.  

Did you know you can now leverage real-time co-authoring in O365 applications to work on documents in the Cloud? These Cloud-based features save changes and revisions as they’re made, automatically.

Office 365 supports mobility and flexible work styles; no matter how many different devices (including desktop, a laptop, or a mobile device) you and your colleagues use, every change made will be synced in the document, automatically saved to the cloud, and made visible to the team.

Tip 9: Access your Outlook email from the web.

If you use Outlook on the web, you will be able to sign-in to your work accounts through www.outlook.com. Outlook will redirect you from that page to your organization’s sign-in page, which will be pre-populated with your email address for easier sign-in. This flexibility will improve productivity for anyone who needs to access Outlook from a variety of platforms or devices.

Tip 10: Gain better control of Office deployments across your organization.

For large organizations, the new Office Customization Tool creates the configuration files that are used to deploy Office in large organizations.

The benefit for IT professionals is more control over Office installations; using this simple, web-based interface, you can customize the deployment of Office 365 ProPlus and other Click-to-Run managed Office products. (Yes, you can define which applications and languages are installed, how those applications should be updated, and application preferences.)

Tip 11: Improve and enhance your live, online events.

Microsoft 365 now allows users to host live, online events. This new offering comes with AI-powered features such as facial recognition of attendees and autonomous speech-to-text conversion so meeting attendees can easily search transcripts of the event. In fact, after the event ends, employees can skim video not just using timestamps or specific words, but also by scanning and scrolling through the faces of participants.

Tip 12:  Minimize systems downtime.

You will automatically optimize O365 if you are able to minimize the impact of downtime.

The most common causes of downtime could include cyberattacks, crises,  natural disasters, or periods of time when employees can’t connect to the office network due to lack of WiFi access. But with Office 365, you can access all of your files from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a WiFi connection.

Also, choose a Microsoft enterprise partner with the industry-leading infrastructure, security, and uptime. Look for technical and end-use support combined with transparent security capabilities and compliance.

Quick Summary: 12 Tips for IT to Optimize Microsoft 365  

  • Optimize your internal communications stack with a workforce communications platform.
  • Improve Team and Yammer with partner integrations like SocialChorus.
  • Leverage AI-enabled MS Word.
  • Capitalize on ML and NLP-based Editor in PowerPoint.
  • Benefit from the latest upgrades on the Tasks feature in Outlook.
  • Leverage real-time co-authoring.
  • Gain better control of Office deployments.
  • Enhance your live, online events.
  • Use Office Customization Tool.
  • Minimize the impact of downtime.

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