Microsoft 365 (formerly branded Office 365) is Microsoft's expanding family of client productivity applications and cloud services offered on a monthly or annual subscription basis. Microsoft 365 applications and cloud services are available in a variety of product bundles, or subscription plans, targeted at markets ranging from students and households to global enterprises.
Most Microsoft 365 applications can be installed on multiple computers and devices such as PCs, Macs, tablets, iPhones and Android smartphones. Multi-device apps include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook. PC-only applications include Access and Publisher. To accommodate users with multiple devices, many subscription plans allow you to install Office apps on more than a single device. For example, Microsoft 365 Business and ProPlus subscriptions permit Office to be run on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five smartphones.
Microsoft 365 applications require Internet access for installation, activation, account management and updates. Most subscription plans include a desktop version of Microsoft Office, which allows you to run applications offline, the same as with a traditional perpetual Office license. When you go back online, your cloud-resident documents are automatically synchronized and updated. Microsoft 365 services include Exchange Online hosted email, Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business web conferencing, and OneDrive cloud-based storage and collaboration. All Microsoft 365 cloud services require online access.
Progent offers fast and easy online access to consultants with expertise in Microsoft, Mac, Apple iOS, and Android technology. Progent can help you evaluate the many subscription plans available with Microsoft 365 and integrate your information network with Microsoft 365 in a way that delivers maximum business value. Progent supports cross-platform networks that include Windows, macOS or OS X, and Linux technology. Progent can also help you build and manage hybrid networks that seamlessly combine local and cloud-based resources.
Core features of most Microsoft 365 applications can be installed on multiple computers and devices
Microsoft 365 Applications and Cloud Services
Microsoft 365 subscription plans are available for a broad range of markets including business, education, government, home, and nonprofits. Some plans, such as Microsoft 365 Business Essentials, includes no applications but only cloud services. Other plans, like Microsoft 365 Business, includes applications but only the OneDrive cloud service. The high-end Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 plan includes seven applications and seven cloud services. Progent can help you select an Microsoft 365 service plan that makes sense for your business, assist you to migrate from older versions of Microsoft applications and locally hosted Windows servers, and show you how to unify the management of Microsoft 365 and other network resources to create a cost-effective, secure and productive IT environment.
Microsoft 365 Client Applications
The obvious difference between Microsoft 365 applications and their corresponding Office applications is that they are subscription based rather than perpetually licensed. In addition, traditionally licensed Office applications can be installed on only one PC or Mac and are not updated automatically or replaced with a new major release for free. For example, moving from Word 2013 to Word 2016 or Word 2019 requires that you make a new one-time purchase of Word. Incremental updates to Microsoft Office apps are made available to Microsoft 365 subscribers sooner than to users of perpetually licensed versions. Also, Office suites purchased with a perpetual license do not include any of the cloud services bundled with Microsoft. Client applications available with various Microsoft 365 subscription plans include:
Microsoft 365 Word introduces the ability to view and edit Office documents across Windows, Android, Mac and Apple iOS devices while maintaining a common look and user experience. You can also co-author documents, see which colleagues are working on various shared documents, and see the edits made by team members in real time. As with Microsoft 365 Excel and PowerPoint, you can instantly share from within your documents. In addition, you can review who has rights to access a specific document and who is currently working in the document. For your own documents, you can easily change authoring permissions. Learn about Progent's Microsoft 365 Word consulting services.
Microsoft 365 Excel now allows subscribers to use the industry-standard Exponential Smoothing (ETS) algorithm to create forecast charts for predicting future trends based on historical data. New linked data types that access online sources in real time include Stock and Geography. The Stock data type retrieves the current stock price, change in price, and other equities data. The Geography data type allows you to designate a country and extract specified demographic or economic data such as population or gas price. As with Microsoft 365 Word and PowerPoint, Microsoft 365 Excel also supports Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files. These images can be rotated, colored, and resized instantly without any loss in image quality. Find out about Progent's Microsoft 365 Excel consulting services.
Microsoft 365 Excel includes new data types like Stock and Geography that link to online data
Microsoft 365 PowerPoint supports 3D models and includes an expanded library of animation effects like swinging, jumping and turning. As with Microsoft 365 Excel and Word, Microsoft 365 PowerPoint allows you to convert drawings into standard, uniform shapes for flow charts, diagrams and other objects. Microsoft 365 PowerPoint for Mac adds the ability to embed and format movies from inside PowerPoint. The Media Browser provides easy access to a broad selection of media sources including iPhoto albums, iTunes playlists, and iMovie libraries as well as shapes, Clip Art, and other graphical content.
Microsoft 365 Outlook offers improvements to previous versions of the Outlook email and calendar app by introducing features like the focused Inbox, audio cues, automatic downloading of OneDrive cloud attachments, visibility of responses to a meeting request to people who are not meeting organizers, simplified email sorting, plus easier group creation and calendar sharing. In addition, Microsoft 365 Outlook subscribers can have their messages read out loud while the sections being read are highlighted. Conversely, with Office intelligent services enabled, Microsoft 365 Outlook allows subscribers to create emails via dictation. Microsoft 365 Outlook for Mac now supports push email, online archiving, the ability to suggest a different meeting time in answer to a meeting request, and multiple calendar display. Full Screen Mode permits multiple open messages and allows subscribers to run two Outlook instances in split-screen view. Learn about Progent's Microsoft 365 Outlook and Outlook on the web consulting services.
Microsoft 365 OneNote for Windows 10 is included in most Microsoft 365 subscription plans, pre-installed in Windows 10, and available for download as a free mobile app. The earlier OneNote 2016 version, which has some features not currently available in OneNote for Windows 10 such as Record Video, is still freely available but is no longer being updated with new features. OneNote for Windows 10 features a new customizable interface consistent across Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android, and Web. Other features available only on OneNote for Windows 10 include enhanced ink-to-text capability, a notification center that shows changes in your open and recent notebooks, automatic transformation of freehand drawings into standardized shapes, and a virtual ruler to draw straight lines and measure distance.
Microsoft 365 Access, available only for PCs, allows you to use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and a rich template library to automate business processes and create modern-looking forms and reports. Microsoft 365 Access includes the connector library to integrate data from a broad range of business applications and popular data sources for generating aggregated graphics and reports from within the familiar Access interface. The ability to store Access data in both SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL provides an enterprise-class back end and SQL syntax for Access applications deployed either on premises or in the Azure cloud. Microsoft Access now includes an updated Linked Table Manager, allows you to add new charts forms and reports, and lets you link or import data from Salesforce and Dynamics 365. Find out about Progent's Microsoft 365 Access development and training services.
Microsoft 365 Publisher, available only on PCs, is a popular entry-level desktop publishing system that leverages the familiar Microsoft Office interface to provide an intuitive platform for creating and sharing professional-looking small documents that require precise object placement. These include brochures, flyers, mailers, datasheets, newsletters and training guides. Because documents can be saved to the cloud, you can share a document simply by sending a link. Publisher's popularity and simplicity make it possible to meet deadlines on critical projects without having to depend on the availability or mood of a single desktop publishing guru for implementing last-minute edits.
Microsoft 365 Cloud Services
Microsoft 365 cloud services allow you to leverage Microsoft's vast cloud infrastructure to host business-critical servers like Exchange and Skype for Business. This provides high levels of availability and security while saving the significant upfront costs and management effort associated with setting up and maintaining complex on-premises datacenters. For situations that require some servers to be located on-premises for regulatory or performance reasons, most Microsoft 365 server platforms can be deployed using hybrid architectures that combine local and cloud-based resources.
Microsoft 365 Exchange Online offers email hosting and supports user mailbox sizes ranging from 50 GB to unlimited. Key features include custom email domain addresses, shared calendar and contacts, web version of Outlook, single-click archiving and easy creation of collaborative groups. The web-accessible Exchange admin center allows you to manage email settings for your organization and gives you full control over crucial areas including permissions, security and compliance, mail flow, mailbox creation and limits, collaboration, address books, sharing, Voice mail and Unified Messaging, monitoring, and backup. Learn about Progent's Microsoft 365 Exchange Online integration and management consulting.
Advanced calendaring in Exchange Online can capture events like flights and reservations from email
Microsoft 365 OneDrive is Microsoft's popular file sync and share platform. Microsoft 365 subscription plans typically include 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, allowing you to store, access and share files across Windows, Mac, or your mobile devices. By automatically syncing your files to your desktop, OneDrive lets you revise documents even when you are offline. OneDrive simplifies sharing and co-editing, tracking all file updates to help avoid inconsistency issues. You can begin a co-authoring project on any device and switch seamlessly to other devices at any time. For enhanced collaboration, an array of tools allows you to annotate, highlight, and comment on documents. Advanced search and discovery tools allow you to locate files quickly, and analysis tools provide information like how many people viewed or shared a file.
Microsoft 365 Skype for Business provides cloud-hosted voice, video and conferencing. Online Plan 1 offers instant messaging, presence, peer-to-peer VoIP and HD video, plus Skype connectivity. Online Plan 2 adds scheduled and ad hoc conferences with audio and video calling as well as desktop and application sharing on Apple iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, PCs, and Mac computers. For hybrid environments that combine an on-premises Skype for Business Server with Skype for Business Online cloud services, you can create a seamless solution using a Split Domain deployment. Learn about Progent's Microsoft 365 Skype for Business Online consulting services.
Microsoft 365 SharePoint Online combines content management with intranet publishing to allow organizations to broadcast and share content and to enable teams to collaborate. The SharePoint admin center now includes interactive usage reports, Message Center posts and a Service Health dashboard designed to streamline administrative tasks. In addition, you can now connect current SharePoint team sites to Microsoft 365 Groups, enhancing existing SharePoint sites with shared conversations, calendar and Planner. Features to support cloud coexistence now include hybrid taxonomy and hybrid auditing plus an updated client-side development model to create SharePoint solutions on-premises, in hybrid deployments, and in Microsoft 365. Find out about Progent's Microsoft 365 SharePoint Online integration and development services.
Microsoft 365 Teams is the replacement for Skype for Business, providing a single hub for conversations, contacts and content with persistent threaded chat, file sharing, plus integrated voice and video conferencing. Microsoft claims the modern cloud infrastructure supporting Teams can deliver faster meeting join times than Skype for Business and facilitates integration with Microsoft Cognitive Services such as transcription, translation, speech recognition, and AI. Progent can help you test Microsoft 365 Teams to assess the benefits of deploying this platform in your specific environment. Find out about Progent's Microsoft Teams planning and migration services.
Microsoft 365 Yammer is a social network platform designed to be used within an enterprise and limited to users with a valid and verified company email address. Postings can include files, links, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and SharePoint content. The Discovery feed helps you find content that relates to your work or interests based on groups you belong to, conversations you participate in, and people you communicate with. You can find conversations, files, groups, followers, and other information associated to a specific co-worker. Group Insights show you how posting, reading, and liking activities are trending over time. Notifications alert you about pertinent activity such as updates in your groups, input to your conversations, and new followers.
Microsoft 365 Power BI is a set of online services integrated with Microsoft 365 that allows non-IT experts to create and share dashboards and reports that provide insight into your business. You can import data from multiple internal and external sources such as Excel and from your on-premises SQL Server Analysis Service, the Azure cloud, or other popular databases like QuickBooks, Salesforce, Google Analytics and Zendesk. Dashboards and reports created by Power BI can be continuously updated via data streaming. You can save and share your visualizations in the cloud using OneDrive. Native Power BI Mobile Apps are available for Windows, Apple iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. Learn about Progent's Microsoft 365 Power BI training and development services.
Key Planning Activities for Microsoft 365 Migration
Progent offers the services of a Cloud Solutions Architect to help you plan an efficient migration to Microsoft 365 tailored to your environment. Prior to proposing this migration plan, Progent's cloud expert will conduct a series of information gathering exercises that include running utilities such as the IdFix Tool, the Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA), and custom scripts for reviewing your Active Directory, messaging, and Mobile Device Management (MDM) environment. Critical information that cannot be discovered using these methods will be found via interviews with your IT staff.
Key activities performed by Progent in developing an optimal Microsoft 365 migration plan include:
How Progent's Experts Can Help Your Business with Microsoft 365
- Hold a Project Kickoff meeting with your IT staff to confirm project objectives, services to be procured/provisioned, customer and contractor roles, timelines, etc.
- Develop a Risk and Issue Tracking document.
- Develop an Exchange Hybrid migration strategy explaining how new services and necessary changes to the environment will be made.
- Review the existing Azure Active Directory Connect Identity Management configurations and identify any gaps.
- Identify and develop a plan for mail-enabled applications such as multifunction printers, monitoring systems, and other systems that currently submit SMTP messages.
- Develop end-user communication to be sent out by your Service Desk.
- Identify current Exchange mailbox sizes and item counts to help plan for email migrations.
- Review your network bandwidth reports to verify there is adequate bandwidth and nominal latency to support Microsoft 365.
- Review your current Mobile Device Management solution to ensure it will align with the Microsoft 365 service offering and capabilities.
- Run Microsoft's IdFix Tool to identify potential AD issues and detect duplicate email (SMTP) addresses and user principal names (UPNs), invalid characters and formatting for object attributes, and UPNs that have non-routable domains.
- Perform an Architecture review session with your IT staff to identify issues that might block a successful migration.
- Develop a plan to allow mail to be sent to Dynamic Distribution Groups.
- Provide a list of ports and IP ranges for firewall rules.
- Work with you to identify any mailboxes that have been granted elevated rights to another mailbox.
- Develop an implementation plan that details the tasks involved with migrating to Microsoft 365.
For organizations looking for expertise with any aspect of Microsoft 365 integration, Progent offers a comprehensive range of services including planning, configuration, troubleshooting, application development, management, and training. Progent's Microsoft-qualified support professionals, Cisco-certified network engineers, macOS and OS X support professionals, iPhone and iPad experts and Android consultants can help you integrate your network with Microsoft 365 applications and services to create a reliable, secure, manageable and productive information system.
Progent's ProSight family of outsourced network management services includes a variety of security monitoring services and data leakage protection services that guard all your endpoints that use Microsoft 365 applications and services from malicious attacks including ransomware and other modern cyber threats. Progent can also deliver a broad range of Microsoft Exchange support services including system design and integration, maintenance, security, remote connectivity, performance tuning, availability, disaster recovery planning, plus spam and virus blocking.
ProSight DPS 365 Total Backup Services for Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 provides rudimentary archiving but does not include native support for vital data protection capabilities such as Exchange backups or greater than 30-day point-in-time recovery for OneDrive or SharePoint. Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup delivers a full-featured BDR solution for programmable backup and rapid restoration of all your organization's M365 mail, Microsoft Teams Chats, SharePoint sites, OneDrive files, and content on Windows endpoints. Progent is an authorized Hornetsecurity/Altaro partner and offers ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup to deliver comprehensive managed services for Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup product. ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup provides a budget-friendly backup-as-a-service (BaaS) alternative that protects M365 components against data loss or corruption resulting from user or system mistakes, malicious sabotage, and cyber assaults like ransomware. To find out more, go to ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup solutions for Microsoft 365.
Get in Touch with Progent for Microsoft 365 Integration and Support
If you are trying to find a Microsoft 365 consultant, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.