A few weeks ago, we delivered a webinar looking at Microsoft 365, how the marketing message from Microsoft relates to the product suites and how Microsoft 365 can help you meet the demands of a modern workplace.
Although Microsoft 365 was announced at the Inspire partner conference last year, there has been a lot of press relating to it recently, following this year’s Build conference and the ongoing Inspire conference. This blog is a high-level view of Microsoft 365. The webinar went into more detail, so I recommend checking that out to find out more.
So, what is Microsoft 365?
The simple answer is ‘nothing new’. It is the marketing brand that Microsoft applied to services and products that already exist:
Enterprise Mobility + Security
It’s not the first time Microsoft have tried this approach, but Microsoft 365 instantly has a better ring to it than the former Secure Productive Enterprise. It provides a simpler licencing model by bundling the plans that already exist across these three product sets for:
Enterprise and Firstline workers
What does it offer?
Microsoft promote the vision for Microsoft 365 as:
“A complete, intelligent solution, including Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility plus Security, that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely.”
On the face of it, that sounds like a comprehensive toolset that would be advantageous to any organisation looking to start or enhance their modern workplace capabilities. But it’s high level and very marketing-driven, much like the four pillars below that appear throughout Microsoft collateral.
Built for teamwork
Integrated for simplicity
That’s great, but what does it actually offer?
At Intelogy, it’s our job to break down the fluffy marketing, explain what each of the pillars offer and how they can revolutionise the effectiveness of organisations. Let’s take a closer look at what powers Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 empowers people to be more creative with a toolbox of products and services that are already familiar. Enhancements to the Office suite mean that the apps run across multiple devices and platforms. They provide new, intuitive interfaces to support touch, inking and more gestures.
It’s not just about what’s visible; the Microsoft AI Factory and Microsoft Graph work behind the scenes to enable rich external entities and stunning data visualisation in Excel. Intent matching algorithms for Word and PowerPoint help make authoring appealing content simple. Services for voice dictation and translation with support for new content types like video, 3D objects and mixed reality all add to the ability deliver high impact content, whoever your audience is.
Built for teamwork
A modern workplace should enable people to be better together, wherever they are, and it should provide the right tools for the job. Services delivered through Office 365 provide experiences for email, meetings, messaging, document sharing and co-authoring, helping to remove boundaries across an organisation.
Office 365 Groups, Microsoft Teams and the services that back them are great for collaborating and communicating within small or large teams, both inside and outside the organisation. Reach a wider audience with SharePoint communication sites or Yammer, whilst using the integration points of the platform to embed rich content from Stream or Power BI.
Let’s not forget that Office 365 licences include other services like Delve, OneDrive for Business, To-Do and My Analytics to help individuals be more productive. Automating tasks using Flow, building custom apps with PowerApps, storyboarding with Sway and capturing data with Forms are all part of the offering with Office 365. It’s a consistent, intuitive experience that can be consumed from anywhere, on any device.
Integrated for simplicity
Microsoft refers frequently to the Microsoft 365 Powered Device. This is a concept – it’s not tied to hardware or location, it’s about delivering a complete and secure solution with a compelling experience for both end-users and administrators.
Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S) uses the capabilities of Azure Active Directory, Windows 10, Operations Management Suite (OMS) and Microsoft Intune. The result is a modern management principle, that significantly reduces the time and overhead of provisioning and maintaining devices across an organisation. Whether the devices are corporately owned or untrusted personal devices, Microsoft Intune provides device management for control over compliance, security and risk.
The risk of cyber threats is increasing every day. The idea of protecting an organisation at the boundary behind firewalls or proxies is fast becoming out-dated. Users are the new edge, and that’s where the threat protection services from Microsoft are aimed.
Backed by the Intelligent Security Graph, the capabilities of Office 365, Azure and Windows ensure that first lines of attack, such as identities, are protected with Azure Multi-factor Authentication, conditional access and Azure Identity Protection. Services like Azure Information Protection, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection and Data Loss Prevention protect data inside and outside the organisation, whilst Windows Defender, Azure Security Centre, Windows Information Protection and BitLocker are there to protect devices and infrastructure.
For several years, we’ve seen there’s a new work culture emerging and defining the need for a new modern workplace. Microsoft 365 provides the means to deliver on this expectation. Sure, there are competing products and services from numerous vendors, but I’ve yet to see a complete offering that encompasses the needs of an organisation. Microsoft 365 can help create a productive experience for end-users, with infrastructure that’s secure, easy to manage and offers a much lower TCO.
Iain is the Practice Lead for Platform Solutions at Intelogy, specialising in productivity platforms such as SharePoint, Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. Iain is passionate about delivering technology that enhances productivity and has over 16 years' experience with the Microsoft technology stack. Iain consults with many organisations ranging from SMEs to global enterprises - designing, implementing and supporting secure, robust platforms that deliver business critical operations.