Microsoft 365 – Overview.
(Information supplied by Microsoft – Fundamentals of Microsoft 365)
Microsoft 365 is a cloud first platform (Cloud First – is a strategy that prioritizes the cloud as the default option) enabling users to work —wherever, whenever, however).
Microsoft 365 is designed to create a modern-day working environment by allowing access to all the digital tools needed to for users to connect, collaborate, communicate, share and perform, i.e., increase productivity in a secure hybrid environment.
Core features of M365 - Connected, Communicate and Collaboration
Tools in M365 such as Teams, SharePoint, Viva and more, create an environment where employees can be as productive as if on-premises from anywhere:
M365 is a Cloud Based platform which enables users to stay connected from anywhere in the world and at any time, allowing access to:
Microsoft 365 includes Office 365
The package includes all the necessary applications for productive work: including Access (PC only), Excel, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher (PC only), and Word.
All the applications can connect with services such as Microsoft Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.
Additional M365 Management tools - streamlines work management through a set of purpose-built tools that add structure to all elements such as tasks, status updates, schedules, projects, etc. that go into delivering quality business results.
These tools include:
Project – designed for web project management and is Microsoft most recent offering for cloud-based work. It is capable of handling complex work effort while maintain control, for example assigning tasks, regular updates while keeping each team member fully informed as to the progress of the project.
Microsoft Project is fully integrated with Teams for enhanced communication and collaboration. Project allows the ability to tackle anything from small projects to large initiatives. Project managers and team members can use Project for the web to plan and manage work that may require dynamic scheduling, subtasks, and/or dependent tasks, regardless of team size.
Power BI uses powerful interactive dashboards - a highly advance dashboard allowing for comprehensive visualization of the project, its components and progress. Power Platform can easily integrate all other apps and data required to complete the project.
Microsoft Planner / Bookings / To Do /Lists These applications are there to assist in planning, assigning tasks setting deadlines, notifications to team members in order for the project to meet the desired outcome and by adding a "Tasks by Planner" tab, use @mentions in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to assign tasks, and add your tasks to your calendar in Outlook or Microsoft To Do.
In addition, Bookings creates the ability to “Book”, schedule and manage appointments. Booking can be used for the project team, include client interaction and integrate with Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business to support virtual appointments and Bookings calendar management through the Bookings app in Teams.
Additional apps included in M365 to improve productivity:
Endpoint modernization, management concepts, and deployment options in Microsoft 365
The modern workplace must cater for a multiple of devices connecting to the environment using a variety of different OS (referred to as endpoint devices). Microsoft Endpoint solutions simplifies the management of these devices. The solutions Microsoft offer is primarily concerned with network security, management and control of endpoints connecting to the environment, whether the device is a machine of a Virtual Machine (VM) and connecting remotely, on premises or both (Hybrid)
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based unified endpoint management solution. Primary functions:
Configuration Manager is an on-premises management solution:
Co-management combines your existing on-premises:
To manage a combination of both cloud and on-premises endpoints – Cloud Attach uses both Intune and Configuration Manager.
Endpoint Analytics - a cloud-native service that provides metrics and recommendations on the health and performance of Windows client devices.
Windows Autopilot is a cloud-native service that sets up and pre-configures new devices, getting them ready for use.
Azure AD is a cloud-native service that's used by Intune to manage the identities of users, devices, and groups. The Intune policies created are assigned to these users, devices, and groups. When devices are enrolled in Intune, users sign into their devices with their Azure AD accounts.
This admin center is a one-stop web site to add users and groups, create and manage policies, and monitor policies using report data and more.
Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop – Important sidebar.
Both Windows 365 and Azure VD are Daas, however there are important differences to be aware Of. Windows 365 is a new type of Virtual machine know as Cloud PC designed for organizations of all sizes which securely stream the full Windows experience including, apps, data, and settings, from the Microsoft cloud to any personal or corporate device.
(Windows 365 is available in two editions: Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise. To learn more about these editions, see Compare Windows 365 Business and Enterprise.)
Windows 365 offers the following: Stream your apps, data, content, and settings from the Microsoft cloud to any device and pick up where you left off.
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a modern and secure desktop and app virtualization solution that runs on the cloud.
AVD allows users to connect to a Windows desktop running in the cloud. It's the only solution that delivers multi-session on Windows.
AVD gives you the ability to access your desktop and applications from virtually anywhere. Azure Virtual Desktop offers the following functions:
Windows-as-a-service (Waas) - a new way to work with Windows Desktop
The WaaS model is designed to make life easier for both users and IT professionals by simplifying. The deployment and servicing of Windows client computers and maintains a consistent and current Windows experience for users. (To learn more about WaaS - click here)
Azure Virtual Desktop on Surface
Run Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) on a Surface device.
AVD on Surface blurs the lines between the local desktop experience and the virtual desktop, where touch, pen, ink and biometric authentication span both physical and virtual environments.
Comparison between WaaS and Azure AVD
Microsoft for Enterprise plans and pricing. Compare Microsoft 365 for Enterprise Plans and Price (E3, E5 and F3 – Frontline). For a detailed breakdown of the M365 plans for enterprise – review here.
Conclusion - Microsoft 365 – Hype or a business necessity?
In conclusion, before OAS offers any comments on Microsoft 365 in answering the question -hype or a necessary business tool, OAS suggests the following important considerations before implementing any new technology.
OAS - Microsoft 365 review.
From a digital transformation perspective OAS believes that Microsoft 365 is a necessity for any size business. M365 combined with Office 365 offers organizations all the necessary tools to create a highly effective working environment whether remote or Hybrid and is designed to enhance user experience, offers the best-in-class security and readily available for use within a extremely short period of time.
The pricing models are extremely competitive, therefore overall M365 does offer an attractive return on investment and can accommodate third party solutions already running on the network, further reducing costs.
However, as OAS is a Microsoft Partner the above opinion could be considered bias, therefore below are reviews from various publications and Gartner Peer Review Insights 2023, giving the reader the opportunity to draw their own conclusion.
“Whatever the size of your business, Microsoft 365 offers up the most comprehensive and secure set of productivity applications on the market. You have a best-in-class spreadsheet tool, the best word processor on the market, seamless cloud support for sharing and collaborating, and the best note-taking app ever created.And the best thing about Microsoft 365 is that it ALL works brilliantly together, as a seamless platform. This means it can plug straight into your business and begin making positive changes right away. The apps are flawless, and they work cross-platform on all types of devices.OneDrive is a brilliant feat of engineering too. It effortlessly glues everything together, making collaboration, sharing, and file management a breeze compared to similar options from Microsoft’s competitors.”(Read complete review-knowyourmobile)
“There’s no denying the accomplishments of Microsoft 365. It is an unrivalled collection of features and tools packed into applications often seen as the flagships of office productivity. While online tools aren’t as smooth as the competition, it’s a minor flaw in an otherwise incredible user experience.”(Courtesy LapTop Mag)
Gartner Peer Insights– Office 365 review in brief (Full review) Rating summary:
Gartner - Office 365: "Incredible Tool for Content Service Platform"Submitted
5.0 Overall User Rating Product(s): Office 365
A Reviewer Comment – sums up the overall view of Office 365.
"Microsoft office 365 is all in one tool for organization if we talk about content service platform. It has great features and functionalities that helps the employee to the daily office work in efficient manner. It helps to create documents, excel sheets, presentation through a single application called office 365.
Moreover, every application or we can software that is available inside office 365 have great customization capabilities. Documents can be modified, saved according to user choice, animation and 3D effects can also be added in presentation. Excel come with great mathematical formula that helps in accounting and sales part. We can work together by connecting different employees, so it is great tool in terms of collaboration. Integration and deployment is pretty easy and straightforward and it go as planned because there are only few dependencies from network side.
Microsoft is a brand in the market and is extremely stable in terms of providing the service."
Reviewer Profile (Invited by Gartner – email /event account rep)
Network Security Engineer – Services industry – IT Security and Risk Management.
Deployment Architecture – Hybrid Cloud and On-premises