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Get ready for Office 2016 – A Complete Guide

On Tuesday, 22nd September 2015, Microsoft officially announced the international roll out of its latest application suite product, Office 2016. The suite will be an addition to its Office 365 cloud-based application bundle service that aims to meet the contemporary needs of enterprises, at a low cost.

Microsoft has revealed that its Office 2016 application suite will offer a new desktop app version for its Windows apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook to foster better teamwork and facilitate collaboration needs and objectives.

“These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork”

— Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

With its launch of the Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft is set to provide an ecosystem of different business solutions for enterprises. Businesses that are Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 applications as part of their subscription.

What is new in Office 2016?

Team collaboration and productivity are at the forefront with the latest release of the Office suite. Businesses operate in a highly competitive environment and barriers to communication and agility usually prove to hinder greater profitability and business growth. Requirements such as the need to be constantly mobile and work remotely for instance, cannot be met by using older application bundles and suites. Office 2016, as an addition to Office 365, can help fulfill enterprise requirements better.

“The way people work has changed dramatically, and that’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world. These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork”

–Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

Tools for team collaboration

The additions to Office 2016 allow for higher productivity with features such as co-authoring on Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote, which allows users to type in real-time in Word while others work on the same document, essentially facilitating editing as content is developed. Skype in-app integration is also included across the client apps, allowing you to talk, video chat, and message instantly. Furthermore, the new Office 2016 includes the Office 365 Groups, which can be accessed easily from your mobile devices via the Outlook Groups App. This shared consistency helps to keep time lost in business communication to an absolute minimum.

In addition, the newly introduced Office 365 Planner and GigJam offer unprecedented benefits for teams’ task organization, task management, and planning. This helps to remove communication barriers between different departments and across different teams, giving a significant boost to task completion.

 Additions to Windows apps

Microsoft had upgraded its apps to work smarter and faster, including better integration with cloud apps. The following are the changes introduced to each of its apps:

Word: Microsoft Word has been added with a number of features to provide better context for richer documents. As opposed to the limited number of options that would pop up when right clicking a highlighted word, the new Word 2016 displays options such as word translations, search for synonyms, and so on.

More importantly, Microsoft has introduced the Smart Lookup feature. This allows users to automatically look for relevant information in the Bing search engine by choosing the Smart Lookup option from the list of options presented when right clicking or typing Smart Lookup in the Tell Me box.  This feature allows users to benefit from a closely integrated Microsoft experience.

Excel: The Excel 2016 application has been integrated with the feature to publish large spreadsheet data for business intelligence purposes. This, along with new chart types, allows business users to make the most out of their data by scanning for important insights for better decision making.

Outlook: The Outlook application is adjusted for better email management, providing the smartest inbox coupled with lightning quick search tools, automatic deletion of unimportant and low priority e-mails via its Clutter tool. More importantly, the feature to include cloud-based attachments is another plus for businesses that can easily integrate their work from cloud services.

Security features

Enterprise security is the most important concern of CEOs and other executives owing to the intensity of data security threats and the number of data breaches faced by organizations in general. Microsoft has not neglected this concern with the recent release and has provided a range of capabilities for advanced data protection.

This consists of integrating built-in data loss prevention mechanism across Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to ensure that sensitive data does not leak easily. IT administrators are also provided with multifactor authentication tools that provide a far better data security than one-dimensional encryption tools. This will allow users to access their data anywhere in a secure manner without having to worry about data loss or theft.

Lastly, Microsoft is also expected to release Enterprise Data Protection for the Office Mobile apps for its latest Windows 10 operating system as well as for desktop use next year that will provide enterprises with exceptional data security protocols for safer business operations.

 

Office 365 Has A Plan For Everyday of the Week

We’ve covered Office 365 in the past.  It’s software as a service plan devised by Microsoft.  Many consider it a boon to the software industry, giving consumers the ability to pick and choose more of what they want.

Microsoft divides its services into two categories: small business and enterprise.  Each comes with their distinct plans.

Small Business

The premium version cost $15 user/month or an optional $150 user/year.   The main difference between this level of service and those beneath it are mobile apps and desktop versions of Office apps.

Word, PowerPoint and Excel are all available as mobile versions on phones and tablets that support Windows 8 RT.  Having mobile versions of Office will allow you to work and share on the go.

The other major advantage is having the desktop versions of Office rather than the stripped down version.  This way, your employees will not have to learn a new system.

If you want to go with the cheapest plan, $4 user/month, it will give you the basics.  You’ll get Office for up to five machines.  The major things you’ll lack will be web conferencing, website domain hosting, and the mobile apps.  However, you will get the guaranteed 99.9% uptime that will pay you for any loss of service.

Enterprise

The major service that the Enterprise version of Office 365 provides is intranet through SharePoint.  These are like websites, but accessible only by machines on your network.  Intranet sites can include a billboard for office memos or even product information for your sales associates.

The most expensive version of Enterprise, costing $20 user/month, has luxuries such as an auto responder for your voice land.  You know, press one to leave a message.

For more information about Office 365 click here.

 

 

Office 365 vs Google Docs

They say you get what you pay for, but nothing is better than free.  That’s why for years people have been touting Google Docs as a way to go to get something for virtually nothing.  However, in December Google changed the pricing structure for its new business users.  Now there is a two tier pricing structure with $50 per user per year for basic services and $150 per user per year for advance security features.

The old adage holds true, you do get what you pay for.  The question now is do you get more if you pay for Microsoft’s new service: Office 365 which costs $6 per month for the first 50 users?

For Storage

You get more with Office 365.  Powered by Skydrive, the system offers an initial 25 gigabytes and $50 for each 100 more.  Google only dishes out 5 gigabytes at a price $60 for the next 100.

Collaboration

Google has the edge here.  The platform they use is more conducive to easily sharing, usually involving just a click and search through your contacts.  As of right now, Office 365 has trouble sharing with its desktop brethren.

Apps

It all comes down to apps doesn’t it?  Google Docs has a bit of an edge in document files.  They export and preview much easier than its Microsoft counterpoint.  However, Office 365 has a cleaner spreadsheet.  So, it’s a bit of a wash whose better in this arena.

The Bottom Line

For those who already have Google Business accounts you’ll probably want to keep your free services. People using sharepoint and other Microsoft platforms should probably stick with 365.

 

Free Stuff: Microsoft’s Upgrade Offer

Attention: Free Stuff From Microsoft

From now until April 30th, 2013 customers who buy a retail copy of Office 2010 or one of several stand-alone applications will receive a download of the Office 2013 or the 2013 version of the stand-alone.  In a few instances, you can even get a free one year subscription to Office 365.  The offer is called the Microsoft Office Pre-launch Offer.

There’s no need to fear.  Microsoft has done this many a time before.  They did something similar with Office 2007 and the release of Office 2010.  The only difference this time is that there is a choice.

Should you choose to buy Office Home & Student 2010; you’ll be able to choose an ever-green license or a year of Office 365 Home Premium.  The 365 subscription will let you install Office on up to five Windows devices.

Office Professional 2010 purchasers will be able to choose between Professional 2013 and three months of Small Business Premium or one year of Office 365 Home Premium.

Beware though, if you have Office for Mac, there will be no upgrade for you.  You’ll simply get one year of Office 365.

If you need to get an Office suite, now is the time.  Office Home & Student 2010 runs about $100, and a new shiny copy of 2013 will cost you about $139.99 plus tax.  Should you choose to take the deal, you’ll need to redeem it by May 31st 2013.

Office 365: Embracing Software by Subscription

Instead of paying once for the basic world processing and database programs you use every day, how would you like to keep paying, month after month, for the privilege of using them? Microsoft is betting that’s actually going to sound like a good deal to its users.

The dominant workplace software company is trying what ZDNet blogger Simon Bisson refers to as a “bet-the-company strategy” in rolling out Office 365 not as software-plus-services but as fully functioning software as a service, with installed software as a minor piece of the deal.

Bisson notes that part of what makes this a big leap is Microsoft’s plan to let resellers bill customers directly for subscriptions to the cloud version of the software suite, Office 365 Open rather than handling the cloud service through a revenue sharing agreement.

Meanwhile, though, observers are wondering what this will mean for consumers. The current version of Office 365 includes various subscription plans for businesses, from $4 per user/month for a simple email-and-calendar setup to $20 per user/month for full access to Office programs both online and off plus hosted voicemail support, unlimited email archiving and other perks.

That’s all well and good for corporate users, but getting individuals to pay for a subscription to software is a different matter. PC World rounded up expert opinions on the subject and averaged their opinions out to predict that consumers won’t pay more than $6 a month for Office 365—and they’ll want to be able to install copies of the software on their computers. Even at that price, it might not be a great deal. PC World breaks down the math like this: The average customer keeps their software for five years. Office Home & Student 2010 costs $125 at a discount on Amazon and includes three licenses. That comes to $8.33 per license per year.

Battle in the Cloud: Microsoft vs Google

There is a lot of buzz around businesses getting into the cloud. Storing data off site offers many advantages from always having access to your work to cutting costs. The question then comes down to which cloud service do you use? It seems these days that there’s a new cloud host popping up every other hour. There are two giants in the field at the moment: Microsoft and Google. Microsoft offers Office 365 and Google has its cloud apps like Google Docs. Here are some factors to consider when picking one.

Microsoft began its journey into the cloud over twenty years ago with its Exchange Service line. In all that time the software has been battle hardened and honed for enterprise purposes. Office 365 is a collection of all the Office Suite programs that you know, like Word and Powerpoint. These programs are then given sharing capabilities that allow them to communicate with the Cloud. These programs can also be used offline which is probably Office’s biggest advantage over Google. The downside is, as with most Microsoft programs, price. Office 365 comes in many forms and the version that contains the most useful tools like Sharepoint cost extra.

Google Apps’ standard version is free. All that is required is a Google account. It offers is own versions of spreadsheets, presentations, and a word processor. One of its bigger strengths is its ability to mesh perfectly with the Android platform, giving it greater mobility with smart phone users. However, its all online and that comes with its own problems. Google Apps are a bit clunky and lack the polish that Office 365 has. There’s also an issue with ease of use. Office has been around a long time and has had much more time to be tested and rendered for users. Though it may take some getting used to, Google Apps can be accessed by anyone anywhere with an internet connection.

It would take a week and a hundred thousand words to go into detail about these two cloud services. There are hundreds of variables to consider when addressing a businesses cloud service needs. More information can be found by talking to your IT department or here.