Microsoft Office

Do More with Microsoft Forms

Do More with Microsoft Forms 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Most people are familiar with their Microsoft 365 subscription providing Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint. Those are the familiar options. But Microsoft is always evolving its cloud-based services. Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace integrating people, content, and tools. There’s also a Planner, To-Do application, Flow for managing notifications, and Power Bi Pro analytics. That’s to name just a few.

Another good one to get comfortable with is Microsoft Forms.

Microsoft 365 Forms Makes Data Collection Easier

Microsoft Forms allows your business to create surveys, generate quizzes, conduct polls, and capture data.

This easy-to-use application simplifies form creation: you simply select “New Form” or “New Quiz,” input the form details, add images if you want them, and you’re ready to go. You can click and drag to choose your question types from multiple choice, text, rating, or date options.

Ready-made themes allow you to pick different colours or graphics to personalize your survey. Before you go live, you can also preview and test your survey. You can even share with a colleague to collaborate on the survey design.

It’s that easy. In a few minutes you can create the tool you need to:

  • collect employee input;
  • measure customer satisfaction;
  • poll your team about how they feel about returning back to the office;
  • quiz employees doing virtual learning.

Once you have your finished link, you can paste it into an email, post it on social media, or put it on your website. You can also generate a QR code for mobile device use.

Get Results with Microsoft Forms

OK, you’ve shared your new survey, and the responses are raining down on you! There’s a dashboard for that. You can track the number of responses and average completion time. Plus, you can drill down into particular question data.

For any question, you can display your results in charts or graphs for that PowerPoint.

Since this is part of the Microsoft suite, Forms integrates with Excel, too. You can import the data there to leverage the full power of Excel’s analysis tools.

If you want to get even more advanced, upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Voice. Formerly Microsoft Forms Pro, this application helps you gather real-time customer feedback.

There are plenty of survey tools available online today. SoGoSurvey, SurveyMonkey, or TypeForm are top examples, but free versions can limit the number of questions or respondents surveyed.

Microsoft Forms integrates with other Microsoft 365 tools in your subscription. For quick intake or call center satisfaction, Forms is an intuitive application. It’s easy to keep in touch with customers and employees.

You can do more with Microsoft 365. We can help. Our IT experts get to know your technology and business needs, then we’ll identify the Microsoft 365 tools that can simplify the work you do. Contact us today!

Office 2019

Office 2019 or Office 365? What is right for my business?

Office 2019 or Office 365? What is right for my business? 624 380 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

I do not have to convince you that Microsoft Office is one of the most widely-used software suites in the business world. Regardless of their size or their industry, a vast majority of businesses rely on Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint daily.

Since 2011, Office users have had to choose between two different versions of the software package: the standard “one-time” Office suite (currently called Office 2019) and Office 365. While these two versions have a similar set of tools and features, and both work on major computer operating systems, there are some critical differences.

First of all, I can tell you that the similarities between Office 2019 and 365 are far more numerous than the differences. However, the differences are significant enough that buyers need to put some thought into which version best meets their specific business needs.

What are Office 2019 and Office 365?

Microsoft Office 2019 is a stand-alone software suite, while Office 365 is a subscription service. Both have apps like PowerPoint, Word, and Excel, but the versions differ when it comes to purchasing and payment, updates, support, and access to the cloud. Furthermore, Microsoft’s future Office plans involve one version of Office, but not the other.

Which version is better? It depends on how you plan to use it.

What do I get with Office 2019?

Office 2019 gives users Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. Windows owners get the latest versions of Project, Access, Publisher, and Visio. The suite works on Windows 10 or the latest version of Mac OS. Microsoft has promised five years of support for Office 2019 including security updates and bug fixes. However, it will phase out support by 2025.

What do I get with Office 365?

Office 365 has the same desktop apps as Office 2019, and it has cloud-based email service, one terabyte of online storage space, and productivity features for businesses. You can get a 30-day free trial to the service, and it will work on older versions of Windows, including Windows 8. Microsoft has guaranteed support of Office 365 on Windows 8 through 2023.

Depending on the plan, you can also get to use the application on multiple devices, such as your laptop, phone, and desktop PC with one subscription.

Business users will also get the benefit of online only productivity tools like Teams, and hosted Exchange, again depending on the applicable plan.

How do I buy Office 365 and Office 2019?

As it has been since the 1990s, the 2019 version of Office is a one-time purchase. While Microsoft will offer upgrades for security and bug fixes, it will not provide new features and improvements to Office 2019 owners. If you want new features or functions, you will have to purchase the next version of Office. (Microsoft has hinted at one final version before it fully adopts the subscription model).

Office 365 requires a monthly subscription, but it does not make users wait to get improved functionality and new features. These upgrades are part of the subscription. You can choose to pay for 365 monthly or get a slight discount with an annual payment. Subscriptions are available for home and personal use, and Microsoft also has Business, Educational, Enterprise, and Nonprofit subscription options.

Should I choose based on price or value?

When I make purchases, I always look at the price tag. However, in my opinion, a simple price comparison might not be the best way to choose your version of Office. Instead, I would compare the value that each product provides.

If a business uses cloud storage and benefits from frequent upgrades and enhancements, then Office 365 may be a better investment. However, if your business primarily uses classic applications such as Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint, Office 2019 may be sufficient.

One significant drawback to Office 365 is that if you let the subscription lapse, you will not be able to access your files and data. Microsoft will not delete your files or data, but you will need to pay for your subscription before you can log back in and access everything.

Microsoft 365 offers cloud-based storage to subscribers. Furthermore, as a business user, you can collaborate on documents, presentations, and files in real time even if you are not in the same location as the other members of your team. You can also link to files stored in the cloud instead of attaching them to an email, therefore significantly lowering the size of the email. Microsoft plans to continue developing these features for 365 in the future.

The current and future cloud features are an advantage for Office 365. You should ask yourself: can my business increase productivity if employees work collaboratively on projects at the same time? Will we use the cloud-based storage to share files with co-workers, clients, or third-party contractors? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” an Office 365 subscription could be a good investment. If you plan to use Office for yourself or to create files independently, the Office 2019 may still be the better value.

The future of Office is in the cloud

Microsoft’s long term plans involve switching to a subscription-based business model for Office and phasing out “one-time” versions of the software suite. These plans mean that your business will eventually have to access Office via a subscription (unless you want to use an older, unsupported version). By switching now, you can integrate Office 365 into your business processes.

Office 365 updates frequently, and these updates may affect the way your business handles projects or tasks. The new features can aid productivity, but it may also be confusing if you merely want to use basic apps or if everyone in your business is not on the same page as far as online collaboration.

If you do prefer simple, you are not alone. Microsoft may still release another version of “one-time” Office (Office 2021 or Office 2022) before it turns into a full subscription service.

One more thing to consider is that Office 365 will provide lifetime cloud storage (provided you continue to pay for your subscription). Cloud support for Office 2019 will end in five years, at which time you will have to switch. Again, the sooner-rather-than-later switch might make Office 365 a better option. Each option of Office has its list of advantages and disadvantages. If you want the classic Office experience without any extras, Office 2019 might be your best option. If you have an eye on the future and think your business will benefit from the extra productivity features in Office 365, then that will be the better option.

email

Why choose Office 365 over an on-premises Exchange Server

Why choose Office 365 over an on-premises Exchange Server 1200 1190 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Everything is in the cloud now, and that has a lot of benefits. If you are currently on the fence about whether you should jump to a software solution rather than an on-premises one for your email management there’s a lot to consider.

It can be scary to give up control of your private mail to another corporation, and some companies may be reluctant to commit to a subscription service. However, there are a lot of very good reasons to do so, and it’s almost always cheaper to use a cloud service than to host your own solutions.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the benefits of using Office 365 over an on-premises exchange. You’ll learn how it can save you money and the added benefits you’ll get for using the service which includes awesome tools that can improve your productivity.

Security is easier

While an on-site solution gives you more opportunities for customisation you should stop to ask yourself if that’s really worth the hassle of managing it yourself. When you use a cloud-based solution like Microsoft 365 all of your security concerns are taken care of.

Your IT department no longer needs to worry about performing updates because everything is handled seamlessly by Microsoft with no downtime for your office. There are also better options for user-level security as these applications include easy to use and familiar 2FA authentication to protect your accounts.

Managing a server room is a full-time job, and if you let somebody else handle that work for you then you won’t need nearly as big of a budget for your IT staff. This allows you to cut down on a costly department’s budget.

It’s more affordable

An in house solution sounds great until you realise exactly how much it will cost you to run it. First, you’ll need your own server equipment, and you’ll need a lot of experienced IT specialists to run it.

Don’t forget about the massive power bills required to run those machines and any service contracts you might need for them. Servers run hard and they run 24/7. That means tons of wear and tear on the hardware and constant power burn.

Don’t forget that technology also ages incredibly fast. If you were to host your own solution then you might be looking at replacing that expensive equipment every five years. There’s nothing to replace with a cloud solution which allows you to scratch that cost from your expense sheet.

It’s also much easier to budget a cloud solution because it’s considered opex rather than capex. This allows you to creatively shift your spending while accomplishing the same goal and preserving your cash flow with lower upfront costs.

You get even more useful software

Office 365 isn’t just about Outlook and Word. If you go this route then you’ll also get some very useful software which could help your business. This includes some excellent productivity tools that help you to communicate better and be more productive as a team.

The software bundle for Office 365 includes 1TB of storage with OneDrive, SharePoint for collaborating on projects, Flow for creating automated WorkFlows and Teams for helping your company’s employees to communicate better.

If you don’t already have solutions for some of these issues then subscribing to Office 365 can be a phenomenal deal. Purchasing these software packages from competing providers separately could cost you hundreds per month in subscription fees.

Plus, having a single software bundle for your employees to manage and learn makes things much easier and keeps them more organised. They can get access to their workflows, have video conferences, collaborate on documents and more without ever leaving Office 365.

Unlimited scalability

While an on-site solution might be limited in its capabilities if you use Office 365 there are no limits to how far you can scale your business solutions. Your system can now be as complicated or as simple as you need it to be.

Cloud solutions are extremely flexible, that’s part of what makes them so great. Depending on who actually needs to use this software at your organisation you can turn authorisations on and off with flexible licensing options.

Your users also have the ability to activate the software on their own computers if they work from home so that they can have all the tools they need available to them.

If you need to upgrade an on-premises exchange then you’ll be looking at massive costs in both hardware and software to do so. You’ll also need to pay an army of IT professionals to handle the upgrades and updating your server’s software isn’t cheap either.

It’s more reliable than a standalone server

All computer equipment breaks eventually. That’s just a fact of working with technology. If you don’t have a great server setup then this could end up being very bad for your business.

Even if you have people on staff to handle the emergency it’s likely that you’ll be facing some serious downtime that could slow you down. This could mean a lot of money lost when you’re not selling products to customers or acquiring new leads.

A cloud solution which is managed by a huge corporation like Microsoft doesn’t have downtime. They have so many servers that if one goes down it’s barely a blip on their radar. Their system will route that traffic to a new one and their customers won’t even know.

While you could try to build this kind of reliability for yourself the costs would be quite large, and you can get the same level of protection much cheaper by using a cloud-based product instead.

In closing, Office 365 offers excellent value to its subscribers, and it’s worth a look if wasting valuable time and resources managing servers just doesn’t sound like something your company wants to do.

It’s a particularly attractive option if you require the other software products that they offer with the subscription because it saves you from needing to purchase them separately from other providers.

Office 365 Guide

A Quick Guide to Office 365

A Quick Guide to Office 365 1000 837 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Office 365 allows you access to the usual suite of software that you may have come to expect with Microsoft Office. However, it also comes with a number of other features that you may not be as familiar with. Let’s take a look at the main components of Office 365 and explore how these services can be used for your business

SharePoint Online

SharePoint is a platform which aims to help users share and collaborate on documents more effectively. Some of the exciting aspects of SharePoint include:

Sites

SharePoint allows users to design and maintain simple yet professional websites with their own custom domain name.

Document Libraries

Information can be saved through SharePoint, which will allow others to be able to quickly access data from other employees.

Blogs

SharePoint allows users to easily and quickly set up their own blog

Discussion Boards

Another feature of SharePoint is the ability to set up discussion boards, which can help productivity by providing an avenue for discussion even in large businesses.

Lync Online

Lync Online is a meeting and communication tool that lets you share and collaborate using a number of different rich media, making internal and external communication more effective and efficient. Some of the main aspects of Lync include:

Meetings

Lync gives users the ability to better share information even when meeting remotely. For example, you can share your own computer screen or applications with others, enabling a shared field of view. There are also other useful meeting features, such as a virtual white board and surveys. Of course, there’s easy integration with Outlook, meaning that you can invite contacts to participate in meetings quickly and easily.

Messaging

Lync allows users easy integration with instant messaging services such as Yahoo and Windows Live.

Voice

Lync can be integrated within phone systems, allowing you to carry out functions such as one click calling or sending voicemails to your email and Outlook

Video

Office 365 users can also use the video tool in order to communicate.

Exchange Online

Exchange Online is an email solution that provides secure, reliable access to email from virtually any device. However, Exchange also contains a number of other functions. Here’s a rundown on what Exchange Online has to offer:

Email

Exchange Online works well as the primary email server and can be used with a number of different clients such as Outlook. Not only that, but you’ll get 25GB worth of space for your mailbox, along with the ability to send emails up to 25MB.

Contacts

Exchange allows for users to store their contacts and related information. The best feature of the contact management is the ability to access your contacts anywhere, whether while at work or on the go on your mobile.

Tasks

The tasks feature within Exchange helps you to manage your activities in order to reach maximum efficiency. Since Office 365 works in the cloud, you can get updated information on your tasks from anywhere with an internet connection.

Office Professional Plus

Office Professional Plus contains the core suite of software that you would be familiar with as the essential Microsoft Office Programs. This includes programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, and Outlook. Thanks to the cloud platform, you can edit and share these documents in real time with others, making collaboration easier than ever.

As far as productivity applications go, Office 365 is a great choice that combines familiarity of their traditional offerings with new features which can all be easily accessed and shared within the environment of the cloud. With experience in dealing with Office 365 and other related products, we’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have on Office 365 and explain how it can best suit your business needs.

Is Australia finally ready for Office 365?

Is Australia finally ready for Office 365? 150 150 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

office365On 2 April 2014 an interesting thing will happen.  Telstra will lose its exclusive monopoly to distribute Office 365 in Australia.   While Telstra may have the best mobile phone network, they can be sometimes difficult to deal with.  As such, the IT channel hasn’t been rushing to work with them.  In only a few short months, registered IT resellers will be able to resell Office 365 licenses to their customers, and given the price advantage, we will likely see a rapid uptake.

For those not familiar with Microsoft’s terminology, Office 365 is their answer to Google Apps.  The product combines web access to your office documents, as well as a client for most PC and mobile device platforms. Each license allows you to use Office on up to 5 unique devices, which could include your laptop, smartphone, tablet and even on a terminal server. While the license is more expensive than Google’s alternative, Office remains the standard in business productivity tools.

Clearly Microsoft is betting on its future being in the Cloud, and thanks to price pressures from Google has priced this product aggressively.  From a cost standpoint, the proposition looks very compelling.  Most business customers would see savings of around 40% per month compared to the Microsoft’s traditional subscription model (known as SPLA in the trade) for Office alone.  There may even be other savings in reduced server hardware and licensing costs.  The other advantage is that user subscriptions can be added or removed each month so you only pay for what you use. This will  benefit customers that with to scale up and/or down quickly.

However there are a few trade-off that you should discuss with your IT Service provider:

  1. Return On Investment.  Office 365 is a subscription service, so you need to pay for it in perpetuity as long as you want to access you data.  If you were to buy the equivalent Office 2013 license outright, you would have it paid off in around 3.5 years.  As Microsoft releases a new office version around every 3 years or so, it’s not surprising they set the pricing at this level.
  2. Data Location.  For Australian customers, data stored on Office 365 (or Sky Drive) is actually stored on servers in Singapore and Hong Kong. There is no option to have it stored locally.  This may have implications for customers that need to ensure Data Sovereignty from a legal perspective.  Also, it means that the cloud application may not respond as quickly as it would if the servers were hosted locally. If you’re interested in learning more about this you can find the privacy policy for Office 365 here.
  3. Third Party integration.  Many companies have a line of business application that has plugins to integrate Office functionality.  Applications that are a few years old may not even integrate at all, and all too often customers do not plan for this loss of functionality until it is too late, resulting in lost productivity, or a costly roll back to the original system.  It’s best to check with your application vendor first before embarking on a cloud migration.
  4. End User Support.   Large corporations are rarely known for providing the highest levels of customer service and support, and until April would have been the only option.  Fortunately there is a thriving industry of Managed IT Service providers that will rapidly fill this void.

Given Microsoft’s discounted pricing, we will certainly see many companies carefully considering an upgrade to Office 365. However it isn’t simply a ‘drop-in’ replacement for the other versions of Office, so be sure to have a chat with your IT company or give us a call on (02) 8412 0000 to see if Office 365 is right for your business.