Out of the fortune 500 companies listed in 1955, only 11 percent are still around today. Those that remain have one things in common – they invest in their people. This investment in people ensures that staff has all the tools they need to be productive. When it comes to productivity its hard to argue that you can be productive without a word processor or without a spread sheet application or with out a presentation application and certainly can’t be productive without email. Microsoft Office Suite was designed to bring all of these together which now seems to be one of the first purchases we make when purchasing a new computer.
Its not about ME but its about WE – this is how one can describe Microsoft’s latest evolution of Office 2016.
The Office Evolution
Looking back at the Office Suite, there is a distinct change since its inception.
Originally, each application, be it Word, Excel, PowerPoint, worked on its own. As the software and the underlying Windows Operating system evolved, the next generation of Office Suite applications began to work with each other. You could insert an Excel spread sheet into your Word document and when you changed the original Excel spread sheet it would automatically update in the Word document. It was Magical !
The Microsoft Office 2016 mantra is “taking the work out of working together” which hints at the next evolution of the Office Suite – Teamwork.
“Microsoft’s mission statement is to empower every person in every organisation to achieve more” I am reminded by Alexander Bradley, Office 365 Commercial Communications Director at Microsoft when I chatted to him as a guest of Microsoft in New York. “Office Suit is no longer about individual users working alone, but its all about collaboration and working together to be more productive”.
“We get things done when we do it together by leveraging our network. “ Alex explains “This network now extends beyond one’s own organisation and could be external to the company and in fact across the globe.”
Therefore, the new Office Suite is specifically designed for Team Work regardless of their device type. Microsoft has recognised that teams are made up of people who don’t necessarily use the same devices therefore Microsoft has adapted its business by opening the Office applications to all operating systems including Android and Apples iOS, a strategy that is paying off. From the 27th of March 2014 until September over 100 million downloads of Office apps have been installed from both Apple Store and Google Play store.
Office is made up of many new features to ensure collaboration is simply a couple of clicks away. Some examples are:
Real Time Typing- this new functionality, that allows teams of people to work on the same document in real time with the ability to see exactly what each team member is doing within the document. No longer do you need to send the document to the next person in the team and worry about “version control”. In fact the document doesn’t need to be emailed as a attachment at all. When collaborating with other people, the document is uploaded to OneDrive and only a link is sent to the document. Of course you can set security and assign specific rights to each person such as editor/ contributor.
Sharing and Skype – when you want to share the document, you simply click on the Share button in the app and you can mail it to your team. For added coolness you can hook it up to Skype so you can share the doc with your Skype Group too.
Insights – Today we are confronted by a tidal wave of data that we need to make sense of. As Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, famously said “what is scarce in all this abundance is human attention” and this what Office 2016 goes to address.Providing visual insights. Allowing the Office user to get to those insights quicker. In Excel 2016, there are new charts and a forecasting engine that not only lets you graph your current data but it will take the historical data and automatically forecast out your info too.
Smart Lookup – if you are working on a document and would like to get more information or research the topic, you can now do that from within the application. Simply right click on a phrase and select Smart Lookup and watch Bing bring back results. What I like is the results are freakishly accurate based on the context of the paragraph you happen to be working on.
Tell Me What you want – now you no longer have to be a Techie to know where options are hiding in which ribbon. Simply type in what you would like and the application will bring up the options eg. type: how to put in a grid and the Add Grid option appears.
Focus – we have a love/hate relationship with out email as we suffer from email overload. To help cub this, there is Junk Mail which tried to filter out the Spam from the real email. Now there is a new tool called Focus within Outlook that automatically learns about what is important to you you so it helps make sense of your email information. Outlook 2016 Office is powered by the Office Graph which analyses all your mail. Every time you send a mail, it sends a signal to the Office Graph that you have sent a content mail. If there is only one person on the TO line, and others on the CC line, it send the Social Signal that the person on the TO line is important. It also looks at the subject and attachment to work out what these are about and have other people collaborated on that attachment. All these signals are sent to Office Graph so it learns what is important to you and important to other people in the organization. It then places those important email into your Focus location. You can move emails to the Inbox and again, the system learns about the mails that you moved so it knows how to handle them in the future.
Security – When it comes to security, this is baked into the core of the application with e-discovery. Data Loss Prevention is a system that prevent users from leaking information such as credit card numbers or passport information out of the organisation. This was available in the Browser version of Office and in Outlook but now with Office 2016, it will be available in the other apps too. This, along with two-factor authentication and digital right management are all part of the suite.
How can I help you – within each application there is an option to simply type what you are looking to achieve and the application will provide you with options to achieve that task . Simple ask Word “how to add a table” or ask Excel “how to send this document” and options appear.
Cloud is WHEN not IF
When the concept of Cloud was first introduced, there was resistance. However, we now see the advantage of not having to invest in our own servers and infrastructure as we benefit by the expertise and updated of specialists teams who are constantly improving the service. From August 2014, Microsoft has made more than 425 updates to the Office 365 service while maintaining an uptime availability of 99.98% across the globe. Essentially providing its world wide user base with the latest tech with no downtime and no hassle.
As the Office Suite continues to evolve with terabyte of OneDrive storage and Skype Minutes too, Office users will continue to derive the benefits of being able to work with team mates at a touch of a button – regardless of which device or operating system each team member chosen to use.
Office 2016 shows the real power of marrying a strong pedigree of Office Suite with secure Cloud solutions and remote working. Built for today’s mobile world.
for more info head over to Microsoft Office