Microsoft 365 popularity keeps growing. This accelerated growth can be attributed to its wide range of products available to commercial users. Microsoft reports that over 120 million active business users are subscribed to the business plan, with more users subscribed to at least a single Office product.
However, not everyone is using their subscription plans as best as possible. You may have a whole suite of Microsoft 365 products but only use Outlook, Word, and Excel. If this is the case, it’s about time you discovered new ways to maximize your Microsoft 365 subscription. Read on.
Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular and widely used business apps offered by Microsoft Office. It’s one of the leading communication software suitable for teams of more than 10,000 users. Microsoft Teams is often confused with similar collaboration tools such as Skype and Yammer.
However, according to testimonials from users plus multiple reviews, Teams comes across as the most collaborative and productive of the three. Also included in the Microsoft Teams subscription is the Kaizala app, a basic messaging app like WhatsApp and Signal. However, Kaizala doesn’t have the same benefits of sharing files and integration that Teams provide.
Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaboration platform with document sharing, online meetings, and many other extremely useful features for business communications. It is ideal for any business with a large team as it helps improve staff collaboration and productivity. Microsoft Teams is included in Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium.
Notable competitor apps which you can replace with Teams include:
- Slack: Slack is a newcomer, but it has gained considerable adoption and popularity among users. It’s also a free online app for businesses with a large file storage capacity and an unlimited number of teams. However, it does not have a robust support system, guest access, channel meetings, and integration features found in Microsoft Teams.
- Zoom: Like slack, Zoom is a new industry player, a group video conferencing platform. However, it doesn’t offer the benefits of internal collaboration between teams, something that Microsoft Teams provides.
SharePoint is a document and data management platform on a web browser. It’s a cloud-based service that allows users to store, organize and share business data on any device. To mean that with Microsoft SharePoint, you can securely and conveniently share data across multiple devices, be it mobile or desktop. And you only need a web browser to access this effective Microsoft 365 software. SharePoint is included in Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium.
With SharePoint, you can manage unlimited amounts of data efficiently and effectively and control who can access the data. SharePoint also enables you to automate workflows to ensure efficient team collaboration and integration with similar Microsoft 365 tools. Due to its effectiveness, SharePoint performs much better than other known competitors, including:
- Google Workspace
- Box for Business
OneDrive is Microsoft’s safe and scalable cloud-based storage platform. It comes as part of your Microsoft 365 subscription package. You can utilize OneDrive to store your files in the clouds using multiple devices safely. You can also use a mobile or desktop device to access the files. OneDrive syncs your documents, images, and similar files so that any changes you make to them can be reflected on other devices. OneDrive is also included in Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium.
With OneDrive, you can choose any location on your computer as a backup for the cloud. For instance, you can back up your data in the Documents folder to the OneDrive the same way you can back up photos in your Pictures folder to the cloud. This way, you get to retain a copy of each critical data. And you can choose to scale up or down the size of your cloud storage to meet your business needs. When you start using OneDrive, you’ll find that it makes for a better alternative to:
As the name suggests, Power Automate is a Microsoft 365 software that allows you to automate your workflows either on your favorite apps or other Microsoft 366 apps. This automation tool also helps you synchronize files, receive notifications, gather data, etc. Power Automate is included in Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium.
You can utilize Power Automate to boost productivity by automating data entry and similar repetitive tasks, synchronization, scheduling, etc. And you can still create automatic workflows between Power Automate and other third-party apps such as Salesforce, Oracle, and SAP, not necessarily Microsoft products. Notable competitor apps that Power Automate would give a good run for their money include:
- Zapier: Zapier is one of the top-ranking and widely used automation tools. It’s also more popular than Power Automate, yet they are designed to serve the same purpose with similar benefits and functions. However, since Power Automate comes as part of your Microsoft 365 subscription package, you can also use it to save on the extra subscription fees you’d make for Zapier.
- Integromat: Integromat is yet another software similar to Power Automate with impressive reviews from its users, thanks to its inbuilt APIs and integrations with most Google apps. However, just like Zapier, it’s not cost-effective and is online software, meaning you cannot access it as an app.
- Workato: Waikato is not as popular as Zapier or Power Automate. It’s also a low-cost automation app, and this may make users opt for it, especially users that don’t have Microsoft 365.
Bookings are by far the most straightforward app in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. It enables businesses of any size to schedule appointments or meetings and comes with additional features. These features enable you to share your availability for a meeting or appointment and send each appointment with personalized questions. Microsoft Bookings is included in Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium.
You can also integrate Bookings with the calendar and email support in the Microsoft Outlook app. Calendly is Microsoft Bookings’ closest rival. However, Bookings is specifically ideal for small businesses, while Calendly can work well with any business of any size and even freelancers.
As a result, Calendly is more popular but may not be suitable for you if yours is a small business. Other similar competitor apps that you can forego and use Bookings include:
- GoToMeeting: One of the leading call bookings apps available. It comes with a wide range of features. Although GoToMeeting is quite pricey, it can work for larger companies than MS Bookings would.
- Setmore: This is an online platform that users can access for free. It’s more suitable for freelancers or small businesses and has considerable features and functionalities. However, its benefits are limited compared to Bookings.
- ScheduleOnce: This software is good if the online reviews are anything to go by. However, it comes in two separate versions, and you’ll need to pay extra to access the full version that comes with a few advantages over Bookings.
Yammer provides better engagement within the company’s social community. Social media has given human interactions a whole new meaning. You can use Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends, family, and the rest of the world. Similarly, you can use Yammer to connect with your colleagues and staff.
Microsoft acquired Yammer in 2012 and re-designed it to give a familiar social media look: something that would resemble Facebook and Twitter. Today, companies can utilize Yammer to connect with staff and colleagues, facilitate sharing industry knowledge, and encourage staff to create communities.
However, most people often confuse Yammer with Microsoft Teams. These two apps are completely different in that Yammer can accommodate large groups of users, unlike Microsoft Teams which can only accommodate up to 10,000 users. Yammer also offers unlimited access to many people, making it suitable for bigger companies.
Microsoft Teams has a certain limit on the number of members who can be part of a single channel or access content within a specific channel. However, Yammer allows users to create public groups, making accessibility and discovery more straightforward. Employees can share anything on the platform, from hobbies to social groups to marketing posts. Yammer is included in Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium.
Yammer helps promote the corporate culture due to its public nature and the many users who can access it. You can use Yammer to share company news, make announcements, share feedback, and company initiatives.
For example, when onboarding a new employee, you can introduce them to the entire company on Yammer. But with Microsoft, you can only introduce an employee to their respective team or department. Given these many advantages that Yammer can bring to your business, you might want to ditch these competitors in the app’s favor:
- Google Workspace
- Private Facebook group with a Company Message Board
- Workplace from Facebook
- Zoho Connect
Microsoft 365 subscription package also comes with software that you can use to create online tests and surveys. This software is called Microsoft Forms. It’s a straightforward and intuitive way to create and distribute surveys on customer satisfaction, questionnaires, and even feedback from staff.
You can use Microsoft Forms for business and integrate it with other Microsoft 365 tools like Outlook and Excel. It’s also compatible with multiple devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Google Forms is another similar tool to Microsoft Forms since they both function the same way. However, Google Forms is free and supports multiple question formats within a single form, while Microsoft has better features like graphic themes and excellent QR code support. You can use Microsoft Forms instead of Typeform and Zoho Forms, similar tools with lesser functionalities than Microsoft Forms. Microsoft Forms is included in Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium.
How IT Authorities Can help
Most Microsoft 365 users do not know that their subscriptions include other useful applications. This has seen many underutilize their packages and miss out on the benefits of these extra tools. If working with these multiple tools is quite an effort, we can make things less complex for you by rolling out these applications strategically to create a simplified Microsoft 365 implementation process. Our approach includes staff training through detailed Q&A webinars.
We can identify redundant apps in your Microsoft 365 ecosystem and consolidate all projects from different departments into a single common platform to increase productivity. Our IT solution will ensure that your staff makes the most of all Microsoft 365 tools productively, securely, and cost-effectively. Contact us to learn more.