As a business executive, you’re always looking for ways to improve productivity and streamline operations. Microsoft 365 is a powerful tool that can help you do just that. It has many features that enable you to work, learn, organize, connect, and create. With it, you can collaborate and create in real time and bring ideas to life with powerful apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. With Microsoft 365’s comprehensive, intelligent, enterprise-grade built-in security features, you can stay secured and productive on any device. 

Microsoft 365 is designed to meet the unique needs of every team, empowering employees to communicate, collaborate, and achieve more with purpose-built, integrated applications. In this post, we’ll take a look at the top used features of Microsoft 365 that come in handy for businesses and are suitable for SMBs so that they can work as a team and drive growth and success. 

  1. Microsoft Teams 

Microsoft Teams is the hub for teamwork where team members can actively connect and collaborate in real time to do tasks together. Teams allows you to have a conversation right where the work is happening. For example, you can start a conversation while co-authoring a document, having a meeting, or while using other apps and services.  

Microsoft Teams enables everyone to meet, chat, call, and collaborate in just one place whether they are at home, work, school, or with friends. Microsoft Teams is available for businesses, enterprises, education and even for personal use at home to communicate and collaborate with friends and family. 

Microsoft Teams for enterprises 

  • Create a more engaging meeting experience as Teams enables to focus on faces, pick up on nonverbal cues, and easily see the speaker. 
  • Dynamic view intelligently arranges meeting elements for optimal viewing. Teams automatically adjusts the layout according to activities during the meeting like when people join, turn on video, or present. 
  • Host engaging and interactive webinars for up to 1,000 attendees with dynamic presenter views, real-time polls, and live reactions. 
  • Classify, protect, and prevent sharing of sensitive content without hindering collaboration with sensitivity label integration and data loss prevention. 

Microsoft Teams for businesses 

  • Designed specifically for small businesses, Teams Essentials helps you engage better with customers and team members, from anywhere. 
  • Chats and files shared before, during, and after meetings are always available, so people can refer to them at any time. 
  • It has free cloud storage included hence, shared files will always be available across your devices, making it easy to work together in real time or in your own time. 

Microsoft Teams for education 

  • Connect, learn, and collaborate securely with students, schools, and the broader community via calling, meeting, and chat, including supervised chat for students. 
  • Create engaging assignments and customized learning experiences for students. 
  • Teams also connects with many Learning Management Systems to help students collaborate. 
  • It enables tracking the progress of individual student and class progress with built-in insights and provides individual feedback on assignments to make learning more engaging. 
  • With Teams, access everything for school—including notes, assignments, calendar, and class materials—from anywhere. 

Microsoft Teams for home 

Image source:Microsoft 

  • Bring family and friends together to call, chat, and make plans. 
  • One app for all your chats, meetups, files, and tasks.  
  • Plan together in chats and assign tasks in shared to-do lists and cross the finish line together.  

Microsoft Teams is available for free* with different Microsoft 365 plans.  

  1. SharePoint 

According to Microsoft, over 200,000 organizations and 190 million people are using SharePoint for intranets, team sites and content management. SharePoint enables teams to share and manage content, knowledge, and applications for empowering teamwork, quickly find information, and easily and securely collaborate throughout the organization across PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. 

Using SharePoint, engage and inform your employees throughout your intranet and improve organizational efficiency by sharing common resources and applications on home sites and portals.  

SharePoint’s rich content management along with valuable connections and conversations in Yammer enable organizations to maximize the velocity of knowledge. 

Use SharePoint to transform business processes from simple tasks like notifications and approvals to complex operational workflows.  

  1. OneDrive 

Microsoft OneDrive for Business comes with the Microsoft 365 package. It lets you store up to 1TB of data securely. OneDrive enables teams to work better together. It allows you to create sharable links for files.  

  • Use OneDrive to easily store, access, and discover your individual and shared work files in Microsoft 365, including Microsoft Teams, from all your devices. Edits made in the files while you are offline, will automatically sync next time you connect. 
  • Create, view, edit, and share files with the OneDrive mobile app. Use the mobile app to scan and save paper documents, receipts, business cards, and printed photos you want to save or share. 
  • OneDrive offers back up and protection to your files enabling you to easily recover files from accidental deletes or malicious attacks. 
  • Its comprehensive security features include file encryption, personal vault, virus scanning, suspicious activity monitoring, ransomware protection among many others. 
  • Setting up a PC folder backup and OneDrive will automatically back up and sync all the files in your desktop, documents, and pictures folders. The backed-up PC folders can be accessed online and, in the OneDrive mobile app. 

OneDrive is available for home and Business.  

  1. Power BI 

Empower team members to discover and share meaningful insights with hundreds of data visualisations, built-in AI capabilities, strong integration with Excel and pre-built and custom data connectors. Leverage the capabilities of Power BI to reduce the added cost, complexity, and security risks of using multiple solutions with an analytics platform. 

  • Use Power BI with Azure to turn your data into a competitive advantage by connecting, combining, and analyzing your entire data estate. Leading data security capabilities, including sensitivity labeling, end-to-end encryption, and real-time access monitoring ensure security of data. 
  • Microsoft 365 can easily connect Excel queries, data models, and reports to Power BI Dashboards enabling to quickly gather, analyse, publish, and share Excel business data in new ways. 
  • Excel being a powerful, flexible tool for analytics, you can combine it with Power BI to get broad data analytics and visualisation capabilities. Create stunning interactive dashboards by easily transferring all of your current Excel queries, data models, and reports to Power BI. Click here to know what ways you can use Excel and Power BI together. 
  • Power BI products include Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro, Power BI Premium, Power BI Mobile, Power BI Embedded, Power BI Report Server. 
  • Power BI Desktop can be downloaded for free.  Use it to access data from hundreds of supported on-premises and cloud-based sources, such as Dynamics 365, Salesforce, Azure SQL DB, Excel, and SharePoint and create interactive reports customized for your business.  

Explore your data, automatically find patterns, understand your data and predict future outcomes. Combine Power BI Desktop and Power BI Pro to collaborate and build reports with your team and then publish and share those reports anytime, anywhere, and on any device. 

  1. Co-authoring 

OneDrive or SharePoint enables team members to work together on a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation. Co-authoring is possible for documents that are stored in OneDrive or SharePoint.  

  • After saving your Office files in OneDrive, SharePoint, or Teams, you can work on them with your teammates at the same time.  
  • Open the document/sheet and select ‘Share’ in the top-right corner. Now you can enter the email addresses of the members you want to share your document and work together. Type any message if required and click send.  
  • The recipients will be able to access the document now and you can work together as a team.  
  • To modify or create documents together, all co-authors must have permission to access and edit the documents. Co-authoring is only supported on modern file formats including: .docx (Word), .pptx (PowerPoint), and .xlsx (Excel). 
  • You can open a shared document in a desktop or mobile app and edit it even if you are offline. Others editing the same document won’t be able to see your changes while you’re offline. However, when you come online, you’ll be notified of any changes that are available and others will also see that you have changes.  
  • While working in Word, the paragraph you’re working in will be locked so that no one can overwrite it. You can also work on the same paragraph as someone else in your group when offline. You’ll see a pop-up message when you save your changes in case there is any conflict. You can then click through to where you’ll be able to sort it out. 
  • If you’re working on a file that’s in a sync folder like OneDrive, it syncs when you are back online, whether the app is running or not. In case of conflicts, you’ll get an alert. 
  1. Microsoft Planner 

Microsoft Planner is a tool that helps with work management. Planner is a part of Microsoft 365 hence, is highly secure like other Microsoft 365 apps.  

  • Microsoft Planner is connected with Microsoft To Do, SharePoint, Power Automate, and other apps for efficient task management.  
  • Use Planner to create Kanban boards using content-rich tasks with features like files, checklists, and labels.  
  • Planner and Microsoft Teams work well together. The Tasks app in Teams combines all your team tasks from Planner and individual tasks from Microsoft To Do. 
  • Planner automatically converts task status into pie and bar charts for you with no setup required.  
  • You can create a plan, build a team, assign tasks, and update status in just a few easy steps. 

Sign in and create a plan>>Add tasks and dates>>Sort tasks into buckets>>Add people and assign tasks to them. 

  • Planner enables you to keep track of your team’s progress and stay on top of your work—from anywhere, on any device. You can view charts of your plan’s progress, view complete tasks and plans, receive email about your tasks and plans and delete a task or plan. 
  • In Microsoft Planner, after you have put a start or due date on your task, you can view it using the Schedule view. You can display your Planner calendar in Outlook. 
  1. Outlook 

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular email services for businesses. This app comes with Microsoft 365 and can also be paired to Exchange, a business-focused server that provides secure delivery as well as priority mail services. 

  • It enables you to stay on schedule through its automated and synced calendar. Other benefits include cloud-based management features plus custom domains.  
  • You can sort your emails, prioritize your work and even share your availability while using Outlook.  
  • It is backed by enterprise-grade security. Outlook protects your data by encrypting data in your mailbox and also after an email is sent. It automatically deactivates unsafe links containing phishing scams, viruses, or malware. It is also capable of detecting ransomware. 
  • Work efficiently with email, calendar, contacts, tasks, and more—together at one place. Office integration lets you share attachments right from OneDrive, access contacts, and view LinkedIn profiles.  
  • Latest features in Outlook include: 

Play My Emails 

Play My Emails in the Outlook app enables you to organize and answer email with short voice responses or simple swipes.  

Organization Explorer 

Organization Explorer helps you visualize and explore your company’s internal structure, its teams, and people. You may search the function to find people and learn more about them.  

To open this feature, select Org Explorer on the left-side navigation bar in Outlook. 

Create and assign color categories 

Assign a color category to a group of interrelated items to quickly track and organize them.  

You can either choose from a set of default categories or create your own and assign the categories to your Outlook items. The category colors are displayed in table views, like your Inbox, and also within the open items themselves. It is possible to rename the categories to something more meaningful enabling you to design a color category system that fits your personal work style. 

Outlook is purchased as a part of Microsoft 365 applications, the plans and pricing of which is discussed later in this blog. 

  1. Microsoft 365 Defender 

Stop attacks across Microsoft 365 services using Microsoft 365 Defender and secure your users with integrated threat protection, detection, and response across endpoints, email, identities, applications, and data. It prevents breaches in your organization and stops possible attacks before they happen. The Defender can automatically detect, investigate, and respond to threats across all types of assets. This will help you return any affected resources to a safe state and automatically remediate any isolated attacks. 

Use Microsoft 365 Defender to: 

  • Manage and secure hybrid identities for simple and secure employee, partner, and customer access. 
  • Protect endpoints using leading threat detection, post-breach detection, automated investigation, and response for endpoints. 
  • Protect cloud services by gaining visibility, controlling data, and detecting threats across cloud services and apps. 
  • Protect all Office 365 emails and documents against advanced threats like phishing and business email compromise. 
  • To help security and IT teams prioritize and address critical vulnerabilities and misconfigurations across your organization. 

Microsoft Defender security products include Microsoft Defender for Endpoints, Microsoft Defender for Identity, Microsoft Defender for Office 365, and Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps. 

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint was the leader in the Forrester Wave™ assessment receiving the highest score possible in 15 separate criteria including endpoint telemetry, investigation capabilities, threat hunting capabilities, user experience, product vision, and innovation roadmap. “Microsoft has made itself a powerhouse in security innovation and EDR… Microsoft has a vision to protect all endpoints through a combination of prevention, detection, and auto-remediation,” wrote analyst Allie Mellen in Forrester report. “Its roadmap includes continued progress on Linux and Mac feature capabilities, IT and security collaboration, and XDR capabilities.” 

With the integrated Microsoft 365 Defender solution, security professionals can analyze the threat signals that each of these products receive to determine the full scope and impact of the threat such as to how it entered the environment, what it has affected, and how it is currently impacting the organization. 

Microsoft 365 Defender has the unique ability to correlate signals across email and docs, devices, identities, and cloud apps, and present attack evidence in a unified form. Incidents significantly improve Security Operation Center (SOC) efficiency and enable investigation and comprehensive response to attacks.  

Automatic correlation across domains 

Automatic correlations enrich incidents by consolidating relevant events and raising new alerts on malicious activities that couldn’t be flagged by any individual product on its own. These correlations paint a seamless attack story across perimeters by building an attack graph that SOC analysts can follow, starting with the earliest initial access,” says Microsoft in its post.  

  1. Microsoft forms 
  • When you want to collect information, you can create a form using Microsoft Forms. 
  • It enables you to create effective forms with easy-to-use tools and clear design suggestions.  
  • Create forms to collect the data you need to run your business, from customer satisfaction to employee feedback.  
  • Easily integrate with favorite apps to connect with audiences where they are and share surveys to collaborate across groups. Multilingual support in Forms enables you to gather required information from more people across regions.
  • Educational organizations can engage their students and track their progress with enhanced lessons, assignments, and quizzes. 
  • To start, select New Form>>Enter the name of your form and a description>> add the first question>>Choose the type of question>>format the options for the question type>>Select Add New to continue adding questions. Click on Preview to see how your form will look. 

You can quickly get started either from scratch or from prepopulated templates. New features are gradually rolling out and only available in https://forms.office.com at present.  

  • Forms enable you to collect the right feedback for your goals, no matter your skill level and its built-in AI and smart recommendations do the heavy lifting for you.  
  • Microsoft Forms enable you to visualize data in seconds with powerful, real-time charts and automatically generated reports. You can easily export forms to Excel for customized, in-depth analysis. 
  1. Easy convert to PDF 

If you have Microsoft Word on your computer, you can easily convert your documents to PDFs. You can either save your document as a pdf or export it as a pdf. To save as a pdf, just open the document you want to convert and then click the “File” tab. Now select ‘Save As’ and you can select pdf from the drop-down and save the document. 

Exporting as pdf 

With Microsoft 365, without any other software or add-ins, you can save or convert your files to PDFs that look the same on most computers and have smaller file sizes that comply with industry format. 

Microsoft 365 enables businesses and enterprises to improve their business productivity and efficiency. Collaborate on projects, store data securely, and configure your IT infrastructure easily. With so many features available, you get everything you need in one comprehensive service.  

Microsoft 365 plans comparison 

Buy Microsoft 365 Business plan 

Microsoft 365 Business BasicMicrosoft 365 Business StandardMicrosoft 365 Business Premium
Chat, call, meet up to
300 attendees
Everything in Business Basic, plus:Everything in Business Standard, plus:
1 TB of cloud storageApps & services included
(Web & mobile versions Desktop version for 5 devices/user)  
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft OneNote
Microsoft Access
Microsoft Publisher
Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Lists
Microsoft Booking
Advanced Threat Protection
Protection against sophisticated threats hidden in email attachments and links.
Remotely wipe company data from lost or stolen devices with selective wipe from Intune.
Control who has access to company information.
50 GB mailbox & calendar
(Up to 150 MB mail attachments)
Security & Compliance
Configure security features and settings on Windows, Mac & Mobile devices.
Simplified controls to manage policies for Windows 10 PCs.
Apply security policies to protect business data on all your devices.
Email protection against spam & malware
Control access with custom permissions, Create password policies.
Meets 1,000+ international security & privacy controls.
Apps & services included (Desktop version)
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft OneNote
Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Lists

Buy Microsoft 365 Enterprise plan 

Office 365 Enterprise E1 Office 365 Enterprise E3 Office 365 Enterprise E5 
1 TB
per user secure file storage and sharing 
1-5+ TB
per user
secure file storage and sharing 
1-5+ TB
Per user secure file storage and sharing 
50 GB mailbox & calendar 
(Up to 150 MB mail attachments) 
100 GB mailbox & calendar 
(Up to 150 MB mail attachments) 
100 GB mailbox & calendar 
(Up to 150 MB mail attachments) 
Audio & video calls
for up to 300 people 
Audio & video calls
for up to 300 people 
Audio & video calls
for up to 300 people 
On-premises active directory sync for SSO On-premises active directory sync for SSO On-premises active directory sync for SSO 
Device & App Management 
Microsoft graph API  
Device & App Management  
Microsoft graph API 
Group policy support 
Shared computer activation 
Device & App Management  
Microsoft graph API 
Group policy support 
Shared computer activation 
N/A Message encryption & data loss prevention Azure information protection Microsoft 365 advanced threat protection 
Message encryption & data loss prevention 
Azure information protection 
Office 365 cloud app security 
N/A Legal compliance and archiving needs For email—archiving 
eDiscovery 
Mailbox hold 
Legal compliance and archiving needs for email—archiving 
eDiscovery 
Mailbox hold 
Microsoft 365 advanced compliance 
Apps & services included
(Desktop version)

Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft OneNote
Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Lists
Microsoft Access
Microsoft Publisher
Delve
Yammer
Stream
Power Apps
Forms Planner
To Do
Power Virtual Agents
Power Automate
MyAnalytics
Apps & services included
(Web & mobile versions
Desktop version for 5 devices/user)
 
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft OneNote
Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Lists
Microsoft Access
Microsoft Publisher
Delve
Yammer
Stream
Power Apps
Forms Planner
To Do
Power Virtual Agents
Power Automate
MyAnalytics

Apps & services included
(Web & mobile versions
Desktop version for 5 devices/user)
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft OneNote
Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Lists
Microsoft Access
Microsoft Publisher
Delve
Yammer
Stream
Power Apps
Forms
Planner
To Do
Power Virtual Agents
Power Automate
MyAnalytics
Power BI Pro

Buy Microsoft 365 today to efficiently streamline your operations and improve your business growth and revenue. 

Image Source: Microsoft