7 Tips to Consider When Using Microsoft Technologies for Business
Microsoft still leads the way in the operating system market with Windows 10 installed on 1 billion devices. It’s 365 software is the most widely adopted cloud service. With 180 million users, most companies use Office in their daily operations.
But Microsoft offers more than just Windows and Office to help your business.
From team collaboration software to data sharing via the Cloud, Redmond’s finest has an app to do the job. Yet, many managers aren’t aware of the latest Microsoft technologies for business or how they can benefit from them.
Here are 7 Microsoft business apps you can download and start using today. You’ll learn what each one does and get tips on making the best use of them.
As the world works from home, employees need a way to communicate and collaborate.
Microsoft Teams gives your staff a secure way to chat, call, and work together all in one place. Oh, and it’s now free.
For users who haven’t a Microsoft 365 account (see below), the free Teams license offers:
- Unlimited chat with integrated search
- Online meetings with video conferencing
- 10Gb of team storage and 2Gb of personal storage
- Real-time collaboration with Office apps
You can share your screen with fellow employees, host up to 500k users, and share and coauthor your files. Everything’s kept secure before and after you communicate, unlike some other competitor’s software.
If your business has a Microsoft 365 license, then there’s good and bad news. The bad news is Teams isn’t free. The good news is the extra benefits it brings.
Integration with the Office suite is flawless, and you get 1Tb of data per user. Host online and video conferencing meetings events for up to 10,000 people. You can also schedule meetings and record conversations.
Teams is powered by the Cloud so go online and start communicating.
Don’t let the new name fool you. This is Office 365 and includes all your favorite applications like Word and Excel. And because it’s subscription-based, it won’t break your bank account.
There are three license types for businesses: Basic, Standard, and Premium. All include the following:
- Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, Teams, and SharePoint
- Web and mobile app versions
- Real-time collaboration authoring
- Cloud-hosted email and calendar
- 1Tb OneDrive online storage
Gone are the days of CD installations and typing codes. You can download Office software online or better yet, use the web versions.
Word and Excel work just as well on a web app than in a PC window. You can take your files with you on your smartphone. Subscriptions are cheaper and easier to manage too and are priced per user per year.
Staff don’t have time to learn programming, but coders are expensive to hire. Microsoft saw this shortfall and created Power Apps – a simple way to build business applications.
Your team can choose from pre-built templates then drag-and-drop what they need. The components tree offers dozens of options that work on all device types. You don’t need a Windows PC to use your finished app, just a web browser.
Build apps for any industry within hours, not weeks. You get to play with results before going live and save 74% compared to hiring a developer.
Support is available from Microsoft but also consider Powerapps consulting firms. They specialize in developing custom apps and can guide you when creating your own.
Let your staff develop your business app. Power Apps helps grow their confidence and be proud as they build for your firm.
Formerly Microsoft Flow, Automate is part of the Power Platform. It lets your business streamline repetitive tasks using a series of actions.
For example, if an email arrives with an important attachment, Automate can save it in OneDrive. Or it can post a message in Teams when you add a new record in Access.
Like Apps, there’s a simple drag-and-drop interface. Microsoft offers searchable action templates from their website. All MS apps work so you can join the ones you use together with ease.
SQL Server 2019
This enterprise database solution dates back to 1989 but now offers non-structured data querying. What that means is you’re no longer locked to one server hosting your data. And it can even be hosted in Linux.
Microsoft pushes its Azure Cloud platform to take full advantage of SQL Server. Customers get #1 performance and security. AI integration makes things even better.
SQL Server is aimed at the enterprise market but many Microsoft apps for business use it behind the scenes. It integrates with the Power BI analytics software (see below) amongst others. This ensures your data is kept safe and available 24/7.
Power BI offers self-service analytics at an enterprise-scale. In simple terms, it produces charts and reports using your company’s data.
Harnessing the power of Azure’s Cloud technology, Power BI brings your information into one place. You choose what reports to create and the software does the rest. Data is collected in real-time so everything’s synchronized.
The main features include:
- Powerful semantic models backed by AI
- Application lifecycle management toolkit
- Pixel-perfect reports
But I already have Excel so why do I need this app?
Power BI is Excel’s big brother and is designed for large-scale data processing. It also integrates Excel queries and data models so the two work in tandem.
Power BI is part of the Microsoft Power Platform. When combined with Power Apps and Automate, it’s easy to build business applications that automate workflows.
There’s also a free trial available.
If your company uses video consider using Microsoft Stream.
Customers and employees can watch videos using the Stream application on any device. It boasts auto-generated closed captions, facial recognition, and speech to text. You can search and interact with your videos easily no matter their size or number.
Stream offers real-time collaboration and integrates with Microsoft 365. Many companies use this platform for staff training. Perfect for keeping your employees up to date.
Microsoft Technologies for Business
We’ve examined seven Microsoft business apps but there are many more to choose from.