What Exactly is Office 365?

Cloud-based applications are bringing balance to the workforce. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re all created equal. In fact, there’s a wide gulf between the most popular applications and the ones that nobody wants to use.

If you take a look at the most popular cloud applications, you would see a clear winner on top – Microsoft’s Office 365. It’s currently the most widely used collaborative platform on the market.

The Birth of Microsoft Office

Back in 1981, two former Xerox programmers started to work on a word processor for a little company called Microsoft. At first, their word processor was less than successful. It was a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), meaning that the words on-screen would be basically the exact same format when printed or displayed.

The program kept evolving over time, undergoing multiple revisions. It took until 1990 (with the release of Windows 3.0) to become a commercial success. The word processing program skyrocketed in popularity, now being simply sold as “Microsoft Word.”

Around the same time, Microsoft took their other successful office productivity programs and bundled them. For the first time ever, a word processor, a spreadsheet program, and a slideshow application could be purchased as a bundle. In November 1990, Microsoft Office for Windows was born.

Office, Evolved

Microsoft Office was a hot new commodity in the office landscape. Granted, it would take around 50 sequential floppy disks to install, but the boost in productivity was well worth it. Each version of Office came with new features and user interface improvements, making it run more smoothly with each update.

Things largely stayed the same until the 2010s. But with the rise of more capable worldwide internet infrastructure and highly advanced servers, cloud-based Office became feasible for widespread use.

Microsoft began to experiment with a new type of cloud-based Office platform that could be hosted from anywhere in the world, giving people access to their files from anywhere with a stable internet connection.

In July 2011, the new Office 365 went live. It brought together applications and features that made it much more than an office productivity suite – Lync, Sharepoint, Exchange, and more.

With additional features added consistently for integrated mobile, collaboration and communication capabilities, Office 365 continues to grow to meet the needs of the billions that use it regularly.

The Road to Success

Along the road to success came competitors. For example, Google released Google Apps for Business (aka the Google G suite). It features a variety of services and programs that are intended to compete with Microsoft.

While both have their own strengths, Office 365 still handily comes out on top for most modern businesses.

So what exactly is the reason for Microsoft’s success? Simply put, provides three important aspects that businesses should never overlook.

1. It Expands Productivity

Employees who believe their workplace effectively uses mobile tech are more creative, satisfied, and productive at work. Remember, Office 365 is cloud-based, so it isn’t just bound to desktops and laptops. The full features and programs, along with all of your files, can accessed securely on any device.

Office 365 gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere, anytime. Gone are the days when work started at 9 and stopped at 5. With Office 365, you have the choice to work whenever you want or need to, which makes you more productive than ever.

2. It’s Highly Compatible

Most companies have been using some form of Microsoft Office for years. When you choose to migrate to Office 365, the transition is smooth and seamless. You’ll retain all of your files, permissions, folder structures, and more. And that’s just to upgrade compatibility.

Office 365 is compatible with nearly all devices and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. Third-party programs and applications also work well with Office 365, giving you the ability to easily merge your specialized programs with your cloud-based Office suite.

3. It’s Naturally Collaborative

Office 365 lets you create and share files with people. You can even work on projects together in real time on the same document, which gives you instant feedback. Some Office 365 tools are specifically intended for collaboration. One such tool is Skype for Business.

Skype lets you instant chat, video conference, and even VoIP call from anywhere in the world. With it, you can create a professional social network that your organization can use to nurture relationships and work together more efficiently.

See part 1 of our series.

See part 3 of our series.