You know how sometimes you find a shirt in your closet with the tags still on? You think, “I’ve paid for this, but haven’t worn it even once!”
Well, consider Microsoft 365 as your digital closet. It’s packed with applications that you pay for, but perhaps haven’t ever used.
365 is essential software for millions of businesses. And it’s easy to forget it’s so much more than Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams. It’s a comprehensive platform designed to enhance collaboration, streamline workflows, and ultimately, boost your business’s productivity.
In this guide we’re going to dive into 10 productivity-boosting apps that are part of your Microsoft 365 subscription. We’ll look at the benefits of each one and suggest some ways your business might use them.
So, let’s roll up our (new) shirt sleeves, and see if we can help your business boost your productivity to new heights.
Picture an expansive digital playground where you can store, organize, share, and access information from any device, as long as you have a web browser and an internet connection. Sounds great, right?
It’s like having a giant, organized drawer for all your digital belongings, accessible from anywhere in the world.
But SharePoint isn’t just a storage system. It’s so much more! It’s also a robust platform for collaboration. You can create websites and portals for your team or your entire organization, making it easier than ever to work together. Think of it as your virtual office space where you can exchange ideas, manage projects, and stay connected with your colleagues, even if you’re continents apart.
SharePoint also comes with some helpful features that make life a lot easier.
Need to find a document but can’t remember where you stored it? No problem! SharePoint’s powerful search function is like a digital detective, helping you locate your files in no time.
And let’s not forget about security. In today’s digital age, keeping your data safe is as important as locking your doors at night. With SharePoint, you can set permissions to control who can access what. Enjoy total peace of mind knowing your information is secure.
No more frantic searching for that crucial business proposal lost in a labyrinth of folders, or panic attacks when your computer decides to take an unexpected break. Thanks to OneDrive, those nightmares are a thing of the past.
OneDrive is your cloud storage service, a virtual vault where all your important files are neatly stored and ready for action at a moment’s notice.
What does this mean for your productivity? Well, imagine having access to all your files from anywhere, at any time, on any device. Whether you’re in the office, at home, or on the move, OneDrive has you covered.
But it’s not just about storage. OneDrive is a collaboration wonder. Need to share a file with a colleague? Forget about wrestling with email attachments. With OneDrive, it’s as simple as sending a link. And you get to control who can view or edit your files, so no more accidental edits or worrying about prying eyes.
Yes, you probably already use Outlook. But it’s way more than just email.
Let’s set the scene. It’s Monday morning. Your inbox is overflowing, you’ve got back-to-back meetings, and… where’s that critical document you need? Buried somewhere in an email thread from
Enter Outlook. It’s here to grab that chaos by the reins and steer your workday towards serene productivity.
Outlook’s email service is a masterpiece of design and functionality. It’s not just about sending and receiving emails; it’s about doing it in style. With features like flagging, color coding, and a preview pane, Outlook turns your inbox from a cluttered mess into a streamlined command center.
But wait, there’s more! Outlook also comes with an integrated calendar to manage your busy schedule. Schedule meetings, set reminders, share your calendar – all without leaving the app. It’s like having a personal planner that doesn’t need coffee breaks or sleep.
And we can’t forget about the task management feature. With it, you can create to-do lists, set deadlines, and track progress right within Outlook. Think of it as your personal coach gently nudging you towards your business goals.
Next up is Power BI. This is not just a tool; it’s your personal business intelligence guru, data whisperer, and strategic advisor all in one.
Imagine if you could take the stacks of raw data that are collecting digital dust on your hard drive… and transform them into compelling visuals that tell a story? With Power BI you don’t need to imagine. It’s a reality.
Power BI takes your data, no matter how complex or contrasting, and turns it into interactive dashboards and reports. It’s like a translator that speaks fluent ‘data.’ Bar graphs, pie charts, line graphs – you name it, Power BI can whip it up.
But the magic doesn’t stop there. Power BI isn’t just about making your data look pretty; it’s about making it work for you. It combines, analyzes, and visualizes your data to give you insights that can drive business growth. It’s the equivalent of having a crystal ball for your business.
Need to share these insights with your team? No problem. Power BI makes sharing as easy as pie – pie charts, that is. And with real-time updates, everyone stays on the same page.
Can you picture a world where all your team’s tasks, deadlines, and progress are
available at a single glance? Where productivity isn’t just a buzzword, but a tangible, trackable reality? Welcome to Microsoft Planner, your new best friend in the
realm of business growth and time-saving efficiency.
Planner is that trusty assistant that’s always got your back, making sure no task falls through the cracks, no deadline is missed, and no coffee is left undrunk (we’re kidding… but wouldn’t that be great?!).
In all seriousness, Planner is a tool designed to turn chaos into order, and confusion into clarity. It lets you create ‘Plans’, which are essentially projects, and within these Plans, you can break down your work into individual ‘Tasks’. Imagine it as a virtual whiteboard, where you can map out everything that needs to be done, assign tasks to team members, set deadlines, and even attach files relevant to each task.
But there’s more! Planner also allows for seamless integration with other Microsoft 365 tools. Need to discuss a task? Jump straight into a Teams chat from Planner. Want to attach a file from OneDrive? Easy peasy. It’s all about creating a smooth, streamlined workflow where everything you need is right at your fingertips.
Let’s not forget about the beauty of visual progress tracking. Planner offers colorful, easy-to-understand charts that show you the status of tasks at a glance. Are we on track? Who’s got too much on their plate? Which tasks are overdue? One look at the chart, and you’ll know. It’s like having a bird’s eye view of your entire operation.
Ever wished for a personal fitness tracker but for your work? A tool that measures your productivity, helps you identify bottlenecks, and nudges you towards better work habits?
Well, meet MyAnalytics, yet another unsung hero of Microsoft 365. It’s like a Fitbit for your business, minus the sweat!
This clever tool is designed to help you understand how you spend your time, so you can make the most out of every precious minute. It works silently in the background, gathering data from your day-to-day activities in Microsoft 365. It then presents you with a personalized dashboard filled with insights about your work patterns.
The magic of MyAnalytics lies in its ability to break down your time into categories like Focus, Wellbeing, Network, and Collaboration. It shows you how much time you’re spending in meetings, responding to emails, working after hours, or focusing on deep work. It’s like having a bird’s eye view of your work week.
But MyAnalytics doesn’t just stop at data collection. It also provides you with actionable recommendations. Are you spending too much time in unproductive meetings? MyAnalytics will suggest ways to cut down. Finding it hard to focus? MyAnalytics will recommend setting aside dedicated focus time.
And don’t worry, all this data is for your eyes only. MyAnalytics respects your privacy and your data is not shared with managers or anyone else. What happens in MyAnalytics, stays in MyAnalytics!
You’re in a meeting and your colleague presents an amazing video that you’d love to revisit later. But instead of asking them to email it to you or trying to find it in the vortex of shared files, you simply go to Microsoft Stream, the Netflix of your work life.
Stream is not just a tool; it’s a virtual library, a learning platform, a communication channel, and a time-saving wonder all rolled into one.
Stream allows you to upload, view, and share videos within your organization with ease. Think of it as your company’s own private YouTube, but without the distracting cat videos. Need to share a training video with new hires? Stream it! Want to broadcast your quarterly whole business meeting? Stream it! Have a great new product demo? You guessed… Stream it!
But Stream is more than just a video platform. Its integration with other Microsoft 365 tools really makes it stand out. You can share videos directly in Teams chats, embed them in PowerPoint presentations, or even co-author video transcripts in real-time. It’s a powerful video production and sharing system right at your fingertips.
Stream also boasts other fantastic features like automatic transcription, face detection, and searchable content. Ever wanted to jump to that specific moment in a video where your CEO talks about the new business strategy? With Stream, you can. It’s like having a personal video assistant that knows exactly what you need.
Are you seeking a way to streamline data collection, get insights from your team, or perhaps even gather customer feedback? Microsoft Forms is the secret weapon you need in your productivity arsenal.
Forms is an intuitive, AI-powered tool that enables you to create online surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, and more in no time. Imagine being able to effortlessly capture the information you need, whenever you need it.
Do you remember the old days when we had to manually create forms, distribute them, and then painstakingly compile the data? Well those days are over. This tool not just simplifies the process of creating forms, but also organizes the data for you, saving you precious time and effort.
And obviously, there’s more. Forms isn’t just about collecting data. It’s also about growing your business. How so? By providing you with valuable insights that can help you make informed decisions. Want to know what your customers think about your latest product? Or maybe you’re curious what your employees feel about the new office layout. Forms can help you find out!
Let’s not forget the fun part – yes, there’s a fun part! You can also use Microsoft Forms to create engaging quizzes for training sessions or team-building activities. Who said data collection had to be boring?
Microsoft Forms has also introduced some exciting new features, including the ability to include images in multiple-choice questions. Now, doesn’t that add a dash of color?
9. To Do
Is your to-do list longer than a child’s Christmas wish list? Are you constantly juggling between tasks, trying to keep track of what’s done and what’s pending?
It’s time to discover Microsoft To-Do.
It’s like your very own personal assistant who’s always on their A-game. It’s a cloud-based task management application that lets you create, manage, and prioritize your tasks from any device. Whether you’re on your phone checking off the grocery list or at your computer planning the next big project, Microsoft To-Do has got your back.
Remember those days when sticky notes ruled our world, sticking to every possible surface, only to be lost when needed the most? Microsoft To-Do saves you from that chaos. Its easy-to-use interface lets you create lists for different projects, set due dates, and even add reminders.
But it doesn’t just help with managing tasks; it also helps you grow your business, by increasing your productivity, reducing stress, and freeing up time for you to focus on what truly matters – taking your business to the next level.
You can share lists with your team, fostering collaboration and ensuring everyone is on the same page. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even color code your lists. Who said task management had to be dull?
Dynamics 365 is a bit like that super organized friend we all have. You know the one that’s always on top of their game, never misses a beat, and still finds time to bake cupcakes for the school bake sale?
Except, instead of cupcakes, Dynamics 365 offers a ton of business applications.
Think of it as your personal assistant, financial advisor, and customer service representative all in one. It helps with managing your finances, streamlining your operations, and even schmoozing your customers.
One moment, it’s optimizing your everyday financials and operations, reducing complexity without ramping up costs. The next, it’s collaborating effectively with your teams, driving growth and paving the way for an exciting future.
It’s like a Swiss Army knife for your business. Need to manage your supply chain? There’s an app for that. Want to improve your customer service? Yep, there’s an app for that too. Human resources? You betcha. And they all play nicely together under the Dynamics 365 umbrella.