Introducing Microsoft 365, The New and Improved Office 365 – and what it means for customers

Whilst we have all been in lock-down; and without as much fanfare as I am sure they would have liked, Microsoft have re-named and improved their office suite, reflecting their desire to provide its customers with a single, comprehensive productivity platform.

Over the years, Microsoft’s Office 365 service has served exceptional value for Office users. Its functionality and usability are in a class of their own – and its 38 million subscribers+ are a testament to that.

In the spirit of innovation, the company announced some enhancements and changes to the service. These modifications include a brand new name (well, sort of!) : Microsoft 365.

What’s happens for existing Office 365 customers?

If you’re an existing Office 365 subscriber, your plan will have automatically shifted to Microsoft 365 as of April 21st. You shouldn’t have experienced any disruption – just the enhancements. (Enhancements are exclusive to Microsoft 365 subscribers).  The latest update was issued on 14 July 2020 which fixed some minor bugs, but was essentially a security update.

Never heard of Office 365?

Office 365 was previously available on two plans for home users: Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home. Now, Office 365 Personal has become Microsoft 365 Personal and Office 365 Home has metamorphosed into Microsoft 365 Family.

Both include the latest versions of Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint, plus Access and Publisher on Windows only. Additionally, you get 1 hour of Skype credit, and 1TB of OneDrive storage each month.

As the name denotes – Microsoft 365 Personal covers one person across all devices. While, Microsoft 365 Family covers up to six people in a household, on all devices.

There is of course Microsoft for Business which comes in various subscription levels depending on your business. The name changes are as follows:

Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic

Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft Business Premium

Office 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Apps for business

Office 365 ProPlus is now Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise

These all include the four crucial tools as above and even the most basic version includes their collaborating platform Teams. (If you aren’t using this – it’s definitely worth a try).

What does this mean for me?

Mainly, it’s the name that has changed and you won’t have seen a huge immediate difference if you are a subscriber.  The importance is rather in that it signals a shift from Microsoft to fully align to this one platform approach.

It’s a great time to check the suite and subscription level you have is the right one for you.  Here is a snapshot of the available business options – but of course, do contact the team here at SCS who will advise you on which one is best for you and your business; and supply you with the right platform for your needs.A few new features to look out for

1.    The Presenter Coach tool in PowerPoint

The enhanced Presenter Coach tool in PowerPoint helps you better prepare for a presentation; perfect for those who fear public speaking! Alongside letting you know if you talk too fast, or ‘Umm’ or ‘Arr’ a lot, the coach offers real-time feedback on your voice, regarding monotonicity. So, if your presentation is sounding less entertaining than it should – it’ll give you suggestions on how to improve. The coach feature will also offer advice on grammar and phrasing; leaving you looking like a confident and astute presentation aficionado.

2.    Money in Excel

Enabling you to connect your bank accounts to the software means you can import transactions. This feature allows you to easily track your financial comings and goings – giving you better control of your money.

You’ll also enjoy an array of personalised support, such as alerts and advice when you incur a bank fee, and when subscriptions increase in price.

3.   Microsoft Editor

Microsoft editor has enjoyed a significant expansion.  This AI-powered service is available in more than 20 languages, and is now available across Word and Outlook.com. It’s also accessible as a standalone browser extension for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

The Editor helps you write clearly and concisely; so, even if your writing skills aren’t your superpower – you’ll be able to craft well-written articles, letters and emails.

The essential Editor capabilities, i.e. spelling and basic grammar across Word, Outlook.com, and the web, are available to everybody with a Microsoft 365 subscription.

For example, the inclusive language critique will suggest a term like “craftsperson” in place of “craftsman” to help avoid unthinking bias. Also, on those days when the words aren’t flowing, but you know what you want to say – Editor allows you to highlight a sentence and right-click for Rewrite Suggestions.

Also, Editor’s similarity checker offers enhanced plagiarism-checking capacities to support writers in creating original content and, when necessary, insert relevant citations right into their document with just a click.

SCS Technology Solutions are proud to be a Microsoft Gold Partner, and we are here to support your businesses IT needs. Please give us a call on 01522 883636 and we will be able to assist you.