It’s Valentine’s Day and this year I’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my relationship with Office 365, which dates to when the cloud was known as BPOS – Business Productivity Online Services. While I’m at it, I also want to communicate a few of the reasons I love other Microsoft collaboration tools.
Sure, it sounds corny, but when I can solely attribute my income, piece of mind, job satisfaction, and family life/work balance to a single product – that’s a good relationship. Office 365 powers the modern workforce and allows us to think beyond the traditional 9-to-5 job approach and being anchored to one physical location.
Enough about why I love Office 365. Let’s talk about why I think you should love Microsoft collaboration tools too.
The early days of Microsoft collaboration
We’ve had instant messaging, voice and video calling, and meetings hosted in the cloud before the iPhone existed. Initially this was built on Office Communications Server and Live Meeting. Both of these were rolled into Lync and then re-branded as Skype for Business. The concept of these technologies in 2008 was still relatively new, and while the execution wasn’t fantastic – they created an opportunity for people to improve their work and communication.
BPOS also brought with it SharePoint hosted in the cloud, accessible to anyone without requiring any servers. This was before the likes of Dropbox and file sharing systems came along. But while SharePoint offered more than document management, back then it took a lot of work to get there.
Now Office 365 is hardly recognizable, compared to its old self. While some of the functionality hasn’t changed – it is still completely new to many people.
My ‘a-ha moment’ when I became a believer in Microsoft collaboration tools
In late 2014, I, along with my wife and two very young daughters (ages 2 ½ years and 8 months old at the time), moved to North America for three months. We bounced around to Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I point this out because we live in Australia and I was running a company . So, being out of the country for so long is generally not practical.
With Office 365, I was able to continue running my business as if I was still back home. I remained just as connected to my staff, partners and clients as if I was back in Melbourne. Our collaboration and productivity were unaffected. All around, I was pleased with the Office 365 capabilities.
Why you should love Microsoft collaboration tools, too
When I show people (not organisations, but real users) the potential of Office 365 and how to use the collaboration tools – the ‘a-ha’ moments are profound.
One thing I find fascinating is when I show people basic functions in SharePoint such as document versioning and sharing, creating a list and then filters based on the columns to create a better file and data experience. Or, when I show how Skype can reply to an email with an instant message that escalates to a call, then a video chat, then a screen sharing session – all within a few sentences.
In a single moment, their work life flashes before their eyes, as they realise how they can change almost everything about their job from basic conversations through to complex workflows and reports.
- Save time
- Improve customer experiences
- Automate repetitive tasks
- Better collaborate with peers
- Establish a flexible work location and schedule, for work/life balance
Don’t underestimate the power of these ‘a-ha’ moments people discover what Microsoft collaboration tools can do for them. Microsoft collaboration tools like Office 365 make a big difference to organisations. They make an even bigger difference to the people inside those organisations.
Many people still go to an office every day, send emails, work with file shares, and talk using the phone on their desk. They also go to physical meeting rooms and write minutes & tasks in a paper notepad with an ink-based pen.
I love the fact that I haven’t worked like that for 10 years, and that my job is to help people realise they don’t have to either.