A User's View of Office 365 - Part 1

Office 365 isn’t just for sitting in an office and working solely from your desktop.  If you’ve been wondering what Office 365 is like for remote users, keep reading.  We were curious too, and so we asked someone who recently migrated to Office 365 to let us know how it went, and give feedback on the “user-friendliness” of Office 365.  This is the first installation in a series of posts about working remotely with Office 365.  Read what Tony had to say about moving to Office 365, and then contact us with any further questions, or to see if Office 365 is right for you (hint: it is).

I’ve recently decided to switch from a traditional Office suite environment to Office 365 and have noticed quite a few handy features.  First off, Office 365 is extremely mobile and as I have found myself traveling more often I need a software suite that goes with me everywhere I go.  Paired with my Surface Pro 3 I find myself using Office 365 applications every day with the same amount of ease and versatility as Office 2013.  In this two part series I will explain my experience with Office 365 and go over how it has helped me change the way I work and communicate with friends, coworkers, and user groups.

Office 365 Compatibility and Familiarity

I have always used Microsoft products so I have a vested interest in the way Office looks and feels and wanted to go with Cloud-based software that allows me to work virtually anywhere.  While other vendors offer Cloud software I wanted to stick with what I knew.  Office 365 provided just that.  The decision was not made overnight- I had some initial hesitations and concerns over compatibility, features, and calendar sharing but Office 365 seems to provide that very well.  With Microsoft’s integration between Dropbox and Office 365 I am able to share files with ease.  Rather than sending large files or working documents over email I simply open, edit, and save and I can instantly send updates of spreadsheets or other documents to my colleagues.

Migrating to Office 365

As I’ve found myself traveling and working remotely and using my Surface Pro 3 more frequently I decided to find a way to migrate to a mobile solution that would allow me to perform my work no matter where I am.  I’m sure there are easier ways to migrate data between a desktop and the Cloud but I managed mine by uploading my most recently accessed files into Dropbox folders under a similar folder structure that I have on my desktop.  It works for me as I only needed a handful of files to use as templates for my work as I continue to move forward in my business.

Exchange Online Groups

Being a fan of how Exchange handles groups I feel at home with Office 365 Groups.  As how any email distribution group works I am able to send emails to my groups and all group members receive it.  While some people have complaints that if you’re not a member of the group you don’t get the information and once you join you can’t get access to the group’s previous emails.  To me this is common sense.  If you were not part of something to begin with then how would you magically get the information in the first place and if you were never part of an email train sent in a group previously why would you expect it to be sent to you?  For those who want in on the previous discussions, Office 365 Group stores previous discussions for new members.  Group is almost a hybrid between a public folder and distribution group.

Establishing Groups

Continuing the topic of groups, I have found it interesting in how Groups are established.  In Office 365, Groups are available to E1-E4, G1-G4, A1-A4, and Business Essentials, Premium, Small Business, and Midsize business plans which covers a large range of the base of Office 365.

Office 365 used to put a cap on the number of groups that can exist within a tenant however that cap has now been lifted.  The physical construct of the group lives within a form of an Exchange mailbox with a maximum capacity of 50GB to include messages, calendar events, and user posts.  While these Group mailboxes are created using OneDrive for Business I maintain some documents within Dropbox however this is personal preference.  Office 365 is highly compatible with OneDrive however I am a Dropbox fan.

Coming Up

In the next part of this series, Tony discusses groups further, and looks at Delve - a new feature in Office 365.

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