How To Use Microsoft Office As A Collaboration Tool

Microsoft 365 (what used to be called Office 365) is a service offered by Microsoft that provides users access to all Microsoft programs, including Outlook, Excel, SharePoint, Teams, and Word. Remote work is probably here to stay, and more companies are relying on collaboration software to get things done. Microsoft Office can be an excellent collaboration tool for the office, if you know how to get the most out of it. 

Do I need Microsoft 365? 

For many companies, the offerings of Microsoft 365 have become standard. That doesn’t mean that others offer similar programs (like Google Drive). But in reality, Microsoft has made it so easy that it’s the default for most businesses. 

How can I use Microsoft Office as a collaboration tool? 

Microsoft 365 includes OneDrive, a cloud storage service that, like a shared drive, can be accessed by multiple employees. It also includes Microsoft Teams, a way for your employees to chat with each other

Can I use MS 365 to share documents? 

MS 365 includes data storage per user on OneDrive. If you are paying extra for storage on another service (like DropBox), you might be paying for storage you don’t need. Whether you are using Excel, Word, or another Microsoft program, you can easily share documents inside and outside your team. You can even work on them collaboratively at the same time.

Can I use Microsoft Teams to call people? 

MS Teams collaborators have the ability to chat internally, use video conferencing software, have voice calls, and share Microsoft Office documents using SharePoint. If you’re paying for a communication tool like Slack or Zoom, you have the same capabilities through MS Teams. 

However, if you don’t have an Office365 subscription, these services are not free. 

MS Teams offers VOIP for internal company users. This includes features such as call answering, call forwarding, and hold, like any VOIP service. However, missing from Teams is e911 management, faxing, caller ID, advance call routing, hunt groups, call recording, enhanced contact center features, intercom and paging. You also cannot use their phone system for external calling without additional expense.

Can I use Microsoft Teams to replace my phone system?

Yes, you can use Microsoft Teams to replace your phone system, but it is complicated. 

First, if you buy Teams-only phones, they will not work with any other hosted VOIP solution. 

As many users of Microsoft know, they don’t offer managed services and don’t want to be a phone service provider. You can’t talk to a customer service or technology support person whenever you need to. 

To get Microsoft 365, many businesses opt for a DIY approach. But, this means you basically have to be your own support and IT team, and even buy equipment to make it work right. This is a heavy lift. 

And, if you want these regular phone features (like caller ID, call recording, etc.), or to call outside of your organization, you need a UCaaS integration. With a UCaaS integration, you get all the benefits of Microsoft Teams with the added benefit of enhanced VOIP features and enhanced customer support.

Figuring out what services MS Teams offers–and what those services cost– can be complicated. Contact us to learn more about managed Microsoft 365, or schedule a phone call with me. 

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