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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Microsoft's Office 365 to become smarter through the cloud

Microsoft is one of the biggest names in business productivity in the world. The company's high-tech solutions have been beloved for decades by those in the workforce because they're reliable and effective. This is especially true of the Microsoft Office line of products, which are used in just about every industry and sector. 

That said, just because something works doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. This drive toward innovation has been a major tenet at the Redmond-based tech giant, and it's behind the company's most recent announcement. During the Ignite Conference hosted by Microsoft, the organization stated that Office 365 was going to be getting some major improvements in the future. This development would rely on cloud-based technologies, and is meant to help businesses work smarter. In fact, Microsoft devoted an entire blog post to this exciting new venture. 

Efficiency is important for every enterprise, so let's take a quick peak at what this announcement holds for the platform. 

"There are few bigger productivity killers than a lost file."

Tap for Word and Outlook

There are few bigger productivity killers than a lost file. You may be chugging along writing up a report, and it can all come to a stop when you need to insert a graph that you haven't seen in months. In the past, your only option here was to comb through your saved files and hope that you remember what you named it. Not only does this take you out of the application you're working on, it diverts your focus. Even when you do eventually find the content, your train of thought has been derailed and you have to start all over again. 

These kinds of mishaps are what brought about the new Tap feature for Word and Outlook. This function basically allows you to quickly and efficiently find exactly what you're looking for. When selected, Tap creates a sidebar that has a collection of content that was created by you or one of your co-workers within Office 365. When you're writing a Word doc or even an email in Outlook, all you have to do is scroll through these options and choose the one that you need. 

The reason that this is so amazing is that you never have to leave the application that you're currently in to find the file that you're looking for. Tap even has a search function that doesn't force you to exit out of your current work, making the entire process a smooth and effective way to share and utilize resources within the company. 

PowerPoint Designer

The sad reality of the business world is that many people doze off during vital meetings. Getting the attention of your listeners is of the utmost importance, and Microsoft is here to help. The company has just created the PowerPoint Designer tool, which is meant to help you create presentations that catch the eye and attention of your audience. 

This new system was created by Microsoft with the help of designers, whose expertise – combined with cloud-based technology – will give you a variety of "blueprints" to choose from when you select an image for a slide. The system has more than 12,000 outlines to suggest to the user, which enables you to create the most eye-popping presentation possible. 

MyAnalytics

When people start focusing on what you're working on, they very often forget about how they're working. Understanding your flow while in the office is crucial in order to improve overall efficiency, but doing so is obviously a lot easier said than done. There are all kinds of factors you need to account for, and doing this on top of your actual workload simply isn't an option. So, Microsoft decided to do the job for you with MyAnalytics

Time management is important. MyAnalytics is here to help you stay on top of your time management.

This tool basically follows your workday and tells you where you're spending the most time. The company states that MyAnalytics tracks everything from emails to what they call "focus time," all of which can help you better plan for future projects. You can even set goals for yourself and see how effectively you've used your time in order to accomplish them. However, one of the most interesting developments here is how MyAnalytics looks at your meetings.

Although getting together with colleagues and outside partners is certainly a necessity, doing so is often a major time sink. Not only are you losing the time you actually put into the meeting, you're also leaving behind the focus you had directly before you had to stop what you were doing. With MyAnalytics, you can work on improving your efficiency in this area. 

Clearly, Office 365 has a lot to offer businesses, and the value of having skills with this platform is only going to grow as Microsoft develops it. It only makes sense to begin building out your Office 365 knowledge through coursework and certification programs to take advantage of the growing demand for this skill set.

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