How to maximize your Microsoft 365 Business subscription


Is your business already using Microsoft 365? If so, you’re one of over 731,000 companies in the United States that already have a premium business subscription. However, it’s not uncommon to find yourself using other SaaS tools, like Slack for internal communication, Basecamp for managing and collaborating on documents, and Calendly to schedule meetings. These additional subscriptions add up, and what’s worse is that they may be redundant because Microsoft 365 already comes with tools with the same functions and more. 

So ask yourself, “Do I really need to be using external tools to do things that could easily be done with what I have available in my Microsoft 365 subscription?”

Microsoft 365 Business packs a bunch of powerful productivity tools into one package. These tools are integrated with one another, allowing users quick access to and usage of data across apps. Having all your tools in one system helps increase your team’s efficiency and productivity. And you can be assured of industry-grade protection with top-of-the-line security from Microsoft.

If you want to maximize your subscription’s ROI, then you should go beyond using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Exchange and other familiar Office apps. These six applications, available as part of your Microsoft 365 Business subscription, can replace redundant external applications and bring you efficiency:

  1. Microsoft Teams
  2. SharePoint
  3. OneDrive
  4. Microsoft Bookings
  5. Yammer
  6. Microsoft Forms

A versatile chat-based communication tool

Efficient, effective communication is key to making teams cohesive, and Microsoft Teams will help you achieve that. It’s a chat-based tool that allows team members to easily communicate amongst themselves as well as with other teams in the organization. But it offers more than just instant messaging; its other features include sending and receiving documents, video conferencing, screen sharing, and hosting online meetings with up to 10,000 participants. And with additional licensing, Microsoft Teams’ audio conferencing allows anyone to join an online meeting via phone. Teamwork will be a cinch with Microsoft Teams.

Use it instead of the following Microsoft Teams competitors:

  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Webex
  • Jabber

Document and data management on a web browser

It’s a secure, cloud-based service where you can store, organize, and share data using any desktop or mobile device. To access it, you only need a web browser. SharePoint allows you to manage huge amounts of data easily and more efficiently, as well as control who can access which data. What’s more, you can automate workflows for easier, more efficient collaboration, and integration with other Microsoft 365 software will still be seamless.

SharePoint can replace its competitors:

  • Google Workspace
  • Huddle
  • Box for Business
  • Basecamp

Safe, scalable storage in the cloud

OneDrive is a cloud-based storage solution that’s included in your subscription. With OneDrive, you can safely store and access your files in the cloud using any number of devices. This allows you to access your files. What’s more, OneDrive syncs your documents, pictures, and other files. This means any changes you make to your data will be automatically reflected on all your devices.

OneDrive also allows you to choose specific locations in your computer to be backed up to the cloud. For example, you can automatically back up files in your Documents folder or images in your Pictures folder to OneDrive. This way, you ensure that you always have a copy of all your critical data. And the size of your cloud storage can easily be scaled up or down, depending on your business needs.

You’ll find OneDrive to be a great alternative to the following:

  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • pCloud
  • Box

Calendar management made easy

It’s an online and mobile application that lets you schedule and manage appointments in a snap. The advantage of Microsoft Bookings is that it’s already integrated with the other tools in your Microsoft 365 Business subscription. So, it makes more sense to use the Microsoft appointment scheduler instead of competitors such as Calendly or Setmore. 

You can customize Microsoft Bookings to fit your team’s needs. Specify your booking requirements, appointment details, and service providers for an easier booking experience for you, your customers, and your clients. Furthermore, because Microsoft Bookings is also an app within Microsoft Teams, you can create calendars, schedule new meetings, assign staff, and have a virtual meeting without leaving Teams.

You can replace the following with Microsoft Bookings:

  • Calendly
  • Setmore
  • GoToMeeting
  • Acuity Scheduling
  • TimeTap

Better employee engagement within your office’s social network

Social media has profoundly changed how humans interact. If Facebook and Twitter let you socialize with family, friends, and followers, why not have something similar in the office for you and your colleagues? 

Enter Yammer. When Microsoft acquired the platform in 2012, the tech giant redesigned Yammer to resemble the more familiar social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Yammer allows you to socialize with your colleagues in fun, engaging ways. It connects leaders and staff, encourages colleagues to create communities, and facilitates knowledge sharing across the entire organization.

Is Yammer the same as Microsoft Teams? Short answer: they’re not. Here’s how to distinguish between Yammer and Microsoft Teams, so that you’ll know when to use which one.

  • Yammer accommodates larger groups. Microsoft Teams can accommodate only 10,000 users. Yammer has no limit to the number of users who can join a group, so even big corporations can have conversations involving everyone. Company-wide concerns and issues can be discussed on Yammer.

  • Yammer allows for discovery. Microsoft Teams limits the number of members in a channel, and only channel members can access content shared there. But with Yammer, you can create public groups, allowing others to discover and access them. Employees can share their interests and hobbies, create social groups, and even post an item or two for sale!

  • Yammer helps create and mold the corporate culture. Because of its public nature and wide reach, Yammer can be used for delivering company-wide announcements or getting feedback on corporate initiatives. For example, introducing a new employee to the whole company can be done through Yammer. In contrast, Microsoft Teams is more suitable for introducing a new employee to their specific team.

Say goodbye to these Yammer competitors:

  • Facebook (e.g., a private FB group with a Company Message Board)
  • Workplace from Facebook
  • Zoho Connect
  • Google Workspace

Collecting data with surveys, polls, and quizzes

Data is the currency of today’s businesses. With Microsoft Forms, you can create surveys, quizzes, and polls designed to capture important information that’s useful for your business. 

Creating different forms will be a breeze with Microsoft Forms. And you can invite respondents using almost any web browser or mobile device, see the results in real time, and quickly analyze the responses using built-in intelligence. Plus, since you can integrate Microsoft Forms with other Microsoft 365 products, you can expand your reach across different teams.

Use Microsoft Forms instead of the following:

  • Google Forms
  • Typeform
  • Zoho Forms

Maximize your investment in Microsoft 365 Business

With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you have several best-in-class tools that seamlessly integrate with one another, so you and your staff can work with greater efficiency and productivity. Microsoft also guarantees industry-grade security. So if you want to maximize your ROI, drop redundant tools that are just a waste of money. Should your Michigan business need our expert advice or help, contact us today.

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MBM Technology Solutions
MBM has 35 years of experience providing business IT solutions. Our mission is to provide seamless technology integration and managed services for cloud access, hardware infrastructure, cabling, and print.