In today’s competitive business world, one of the best ways to standout and outshine your competitors is through technology. Often small to mid-sized businesses do not have the financial resources or the manpower to compete technology-wise, but now there is an affordable solution that gives your business the advantage it needs to grow and stand out. Office 365 is a cloud-based solution for small to mid-sized businesses which includes email, calendars, web conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing through team sites, active directory integration, security and reliability.
Email and Calendars
Office 365 includes the ability to have professional cloud-based email and calendars that utilize your company’s domain. Although you are a small to mid-sized business, it does not have to appear that way to your customers. Office 365 allows you to send and receive email via mobile devices, from your computer via Outlook, or through the web via Outlook Web App. Each user receives 25 GB of storage for their email box. Calendars are shared with your colleagues, which makes it easy to schedule meetings with one person or the whole office. The web-based email is a fully functioning email program that sends professionally-formatted emails. You can manage your Contacts, Calendars, Junk E-mail options, and even setup Automatic Replies (Out of Office messages).
Instant Message and Web conferencing
Lync is a business-grade instant messaging program that allows you to integrate instant messages to help you and your coworkers communicate more effectively. It allows everyone to see each other’s status, photo, and location. Each user’s contact information is right at your fingertips through the Contact Card view. You can also add contacts from outside your company, which means you no longer need to have two or three messaging programs open. The only catch is that they must be what MS considers to “Federated” contacts (i.e. @msn.com, @live.com). Another advantage to using Lync is the Web conferencing capabilities. You can instantaneously set up a meeting with one of your contacts which include voice capabilities and video conferencing. Another feature is the ability to share your desktop. You can set it so that they can only view what are viewing or you can give them control of your desktop. Lync is definitely a step above other instant messaging programs and geared toward businesses.
Stay tune for next week when we continue to explore Office 365 by discussing Office Web Apps, File Sharing and Creating a professional webpage.