I wanted to create a list of my top five features of Office 365. Some of these you may know about and some you may not. I hope this article gives you some good ideas on how you can make better use of Office 365. I will be doing some write ups on each of these individually soon, but this is just a quick list of my top five features. Tell me what are your favorite parts of Office 365.
1.Office 365 Groups
◦This has to be my favorite feature of Office 365. With the release of Office 365 groups, there should never be a reason you use distribution list again. When you create an Office 365 group, it will automatically create an email address.
The email address will be formatted as Groupname@domainname.com. By default, the group will only accept email from inside your organization’s network, but you can check a box that will allow people from outside your origination to send email to the email address.
When you first create the group, it will not go to the user’s mailbox like a traditional DL does. You can check a box in the settings that will send the email to a user’s mailbox, and then this will make the group function exactly like a DL does.
Now, the best part about what Office 365 groups do that DL’s do not is that when you add a new user to the group, let’s say six months later, the user can go into the group and view all the old emails. If you were using a traditional DL, then you will have users searching their mailbox to forward all the emails to this new user. Doing this takes up so much time and the user will have to repeat this process for any new user they want to add to the group. That is why even if you just wanted to create some DL’s, just use Office 365 groups instead.
Also, it does not hurt that an Office 365 group comes with its own OneDrive for Business, OneNote, Calendar and last, you can add Connectors to the group. This is a great way to have programs connected to the group, like RSS or Twitter.
◦At the time of this article, Microsoft has just purchased a new streaming service called—you guessed it—Stream. You can read more about Stream here.
With Office 365 Video, you can setup your own company video portal. It’s kind of like a private YouTube channel just for your company. When you upload your video to Office 365 Video, the video actually gets uploaded to Azure Media Services and it creates several different resolutions. This is great because you can use the Office 365 Video app on your mobile device, or you can use the Web browser, from any location in the world and view your company videos.
With the extra resolutions, the service will monitor your connection to make sure you are not slowing down and if your bandwidth gets to start looking slow, the service will change to a lower resolution so you do not buffer. You can also grab the embed code from the video portal and paste that code in SharePoint.
◦This is only for customers on an E3, but if you are on an E3, you get unlimited OneDrive for business storage. When your account is first created, you have 1TB of storage. You can run a PowerShell command to increase that to 5TB. The PowerShell command is:
◾Set-SpoSite -identity https://YourSharePointUrl-My.sharepoint.com/personal/Users_Account -StorageQuota 5242880
◦Once you use the PowerShell command to increase your ODFB storage quota to 5Tb, if you use up 90% of it, you can open a support request to Microsoft and they will add you another 5TB and the cycle continues as you use it up. So, you get unlimited, but it appears in 5TB increments.
◦Planner is a new app that just got released to the public. Planner will help you keep track of your task and project management. It has a great interface that lets you see charts and graphs of plans (projects) and the task associated to those plan. Planner actually integrates into Office 365 groups which was the first item I spoke about in this article and is my favorite feature of Office 365. With Planner, you can assign task to users and once a task is assigned to a user, that user is added to the Office 365 Group.
◦Delve is probably one of the most underused application on Office 365, yet it is one of the best applications you should be using. Delve is powered by the Office graph. It’s a self-learning system and it only gets better as you add more content to your sites and libraries.
I have included a link to the Office Graph so you can click it and read all about it. It is truly amazing.
Anyways, back to Delve. Delve lets a user see all his documents he has access to see in one place. No matter if the file is in your own OneDrive for Business, any of the team site document libraries, any of the Office 365 groups libraries, any of the Office 365 Video files, or even any other users OneDrive for Business.
The last one is very important because at the time of this writing, there is no way for a user to see files that are shared with them from others OneDrive for Business folder unless they log into the browser and click the “Shared with me” button. Microsoft recently released a Delve app for Windows 10. You can read my blog on that app here.