How Office 365 Is Meeting the Content Collaboration Needs of Business

Steve Marsh

by Steve Marsh on 9/17/2014

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Date Revised:

Applies to:
cloud, collaboration, Office 365, OneDrive

Today’s business content isn’t just created. It’s built through collaboration, improved by comments, and reviewed and shared amongst stakeholders. Yet the process around content creation and collaboration was exponentially increasing the amount of labor to create those documents.

Developed with these growing problems in mind, Office 365 merges Microsoft’s legacy of content creation success with the power of SharePoint enterprise-wide collaboration to deliver a powerful content collaboration platform. Office 365 is a business-centric solution that reduces complexity, increases productivity and minimizes the clutter created by too much content.

Let’s simplify what that means. Today’s most-used content collaboration system is email. When you create email, you create content. Emailing a document to five people for review creates five new pieces of content plus five potential documents that will need to be reviewed, tracked or edited. One email has now created 10 times more potential labor. Send that email to 10 or 100 people and the problem gets worse.

Businesses recognize that the smarter way to create and manage content is to follow a different process – content collaboration. For instance, one user creates a single document, stores it on a secure collaboration platform such as SharePoint, SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business, and the user notifies five people that the document is available. Then those five people make their changes to a single document that tracks their changes, comments and alterations in one place. More productivity, less labor and a better result.

While Office 365 is still comprised of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, because it is cloud- or hybrid-cloud-based, it simplifies and encourages the process of collaboration by prioritizing cloud and hybrid cloud solutions first. For example, saving a Word document is no longer a process of where to save it but a question of where to share it for collaboration. Click to save a document in Office 365 and a list of options to save to OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, SharePoint Online or OneDrive are at the top of the list. Saving to your local hard drive is now at the bottom.

Saving content to the cloud is nothing new, but consumers are now storing their content on services such as Google Drive, Box, Dropbox and OneDrive. Dropbox alone reports 100 million business users and Box reports 14 million so far. That’s a huge shift. Enterprises are not training business users to use the cloud to be more productive. Business users are using the cloud to meet their personal storage needs and now they’re asking their enterprises to match that experience.

Storage is just one part of the equation. Microsoft responded by upping the ante by creating cloud-based storage through OneDrive and storage plus collaboration through OneDrive for Business. It also created versions of Office on Surface, iOS and Android with access to these storage services. Even better, Office 365 users can now edit documents on their Surface, iPads or Android tablets. Dropbox and Box can’t yet match that integration. And while Google offers document editing and collaboration, it can’t match Office 365’s level of offline capabilities, familiarity and integration.

Like any new business technology, the power of the cloud is often invisible or confusing to end users. Much of the cause is that IT departments fail to clearly translate the business power of the cloud to their end users. The unfortunate result is that adoption of content collaboration platforms is limited. Office 365 can help enterprises overcome these challenges by offering a familiar suite of tools that allows those users to continue to create the documents they need while slowly exploring the power and the productivity benefits of cloud. Over the course of time, users will begin using Office 365 to save fewer documents locally and share more.

Topic: Collaboration

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