Microsoft Windows Office 365 is a combination of multiple office utilities and other tools integrated into one package and you have all the important services in one place. On top of that, you have all the freedom to configure the whole environment of your office or enterprise using the office 365 admin console.
So it serves both purposes of personal and professional use. You can buy the old Microsoft Office package where you have all the office tools mainly Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and work with them offline. But with the new Microsoft 365, you get all the office tools and other utility software altogether in a single subscription.
In the past, when you buy a Microsoft Office suite you have to pay once to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other office tools but with the new Microsoft 365, you have to buy a monthly or yearly subscription in order to use these services.
And there’s the biggest advantage is within the subscription period you get all the security and feature updates from Microsoft at no extra cost.
Microsoft 365 provides all the productivity tools needed to run a successful business and it’s revolutionized the old way of doing things. For any large or small-scale business, the productivity of its workforce revolves around the basic office suite of email, calendar, word processor, and spreadsheet.
But as the enterprise workforce has become more mobile, the basic productivity toolset has had to adapt and change to match the new requirements. This is why Microsoft updated Office 365 to be a mobile collaborative platform ready to get work done wherever and whenever it happens.
Microsoft 365 is the updated version of Office 365 and with this new approach, they are combining the local and cloud-based services and completely redefined the user’s experience and productivity. It’s one of the most popular software suites in the world, Microsoft Office is used by 1.5bn people worldwide.
What is Microsoft 365?
Launched in 2001, Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based, subscription model version of Microsoft’s popular productivity suite Microsoft Office. It’s a mixture of Microsoft’s Subscription-based services and other productivity tools offered by the company.
So basically in a Subscription-based business model, a customer has to pay a recurring price at regular intervals for accessing a product. This model was pioneered by publishers of books and periodicals in the 17th century and is now used by many businesses and websites.
Microsoft 365 contains the same core applications as traditional versions of Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and more depending on the chosen plan, it also includes other apps and services such as Publisher, Planner, OneDrive, Exchange, SharePoint, Access, Skype, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams.
There are a number of different plans available when licensing Office 365, including versions for personal use, multi-user households, students, businesses, nonprofits, and education institutions.
According to your plan, they offer you services but all the core services are available with every plan (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Onenote, Onedrive, To-Do).
But additionally, you get 1TB of Cloud Storage space with the Onedrive and also have the privilege to access these tools on any Desktop, laptop, mobile, or tablet. Microsoft 365 is also compatible with Mac and Android-based devices.
There are also online- and mobile-only versions of Office (Office Online) available, through which users can get access to feature-limited versions of Office apps for free.
Why it’s called 365?
Especially in terms of technology new features and functionalities are coming out on a daily basis and in order to match up with the pace, you have to upgrade yourself with the future technology.
Now the industry was shifting fast and Microsoft noticed this change and takes the appropriate steps by launching Microsoft 365.
The reason it’s called 365 is that when you purchased a subscription the journey starts from here and along with all the office tools (Word, Excel, Powerpoint,) you immediately get access to all other Utility software, and you would get frequent and constant updates and fixes over your service term.
Microsoft has continued to add more things to your subscription so instead of just word, excel, and PowerPoint now you get a lot more than that. Here you get Forms, To-Do, Family Safety, Onedrive, and other stuff which are unavailable in the traditional office.
So according to Microsoft, they addressed a large pool of services across different platforms and constantly worked every day, month and year to improve the quality of services and also give users frequent updates around the 365 days, Naturally, they called it 365.
A little Bit Of History:
In October 2010 for the first time, Microsoft released a private beta version of office 365 for various organizations, and next year in 2011 they release the public beta version aiming to capture the corporate market.
Office 365 is the successor of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). it’s mainly hosted different productivity software created by Microsoft and supported partners.
After seeing the growth in the Online platform Applications like Google Apps, Microsoft designed the Office 365 platform to “bring together” its existing online services with cloud-based services.
So they integrate their office tools (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) with Exchange Server (e-mail), Sharepoint ( for internal social networking, collaboration, and a public website), and Lync (now Skype for Business) (for communication, VoIP, and conferencing).
Initially, Exchange e-mail, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, web hosting via SharePoint, and the Office Web Apps services are offered to small businesses and enterprises along with the Office 2010 Professional Plus software and 24/7 phone support.
An updated version of the Office 365 platform was launched on February 27, 2013, aiming to expand the service among more customers and enterprises. Onedrive also integrated with Office 2013 suite and it’s a big move towards cloud-based service.
The server components were updated to their respective 2013 versions, and Microsoft expanded the Office 365 service with new plans, such as Small Business Premium, Midsize Premium, and Pro Plus.
For home and family users, Microsoft launched A new Office 365 Home Premium plan aimed at home users offers access to the Office 2013 suite for up to five computers, along with expanded OneDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype calls monthly.
On March 19, 2013, Microsoft included Yammer, a social networking platform that offers a single sign-on between the two services, shared feeds, and document aggregation to replace the SharePoint app. A the same time Microsoft unveiled Power BI, a suite of business intelligence and self-serve data mining tools.
Power BI is primarily incorporated into Excel, allowing users to use the Power Query tool to create spreadsheets and graphs using public and private data, and also perform geo-visualization with Bing Maps data using the Power Map tool (previously available as a beta plug-in known as GeoFlow).
On October 27, 2014, Microsoft announced “unlimited” OneDrive storage for Office 365 subscribers. However, due to excessive chaos and confusion among the general users, the 1 TB cap was reinstated in November 2015.
In June 2016, Microsoft inserted Planner a teamwork collaboration cloud service into Office 365, and in July 2019 they discontinued Skype for Business support and introduced Microsoft Teams as a replacement.
In July 2017 as an enterprise subscription product, The “Microsoft 365” brand was first introduced for business users which combines Windows 10 Enterprise with Office 365 Business Premium, and the Enterprise Mobility and Security suite including Advanced Threat Analytics, Azure Active Directory, Azure Information Protection, Cloud App Security, and Windows Intune.
On April 21, 2020, they rebranded Office 365 as “Microsoft 365” and launched the subscription plans for consumers. For personal and family use they bundled their Office suite with 1 TB of additional OneDrive storage and Personal Vault access,
60 minutes of skype calls per month, integration of Teams, Microsoft family safety, etc.
A couple of third-party services were also added like Adobe (Creative Cloud Photography), Blinkist, CreativeLive, Experian, and Headspace.
Microsoft 365 tools and services:
Microsoft 365 is a package of services that includes Office 365, alongside other business tools. A user can subscribe to Office 365 without also subscribing to Microsoft 365—but all Microsoft 365 users will also have the access to Office 365.
All the services included in Microsoft 365 are available separately, though many businesses may find it more convenient and cost-effective to opt for the Microsoft 365 bundle, especially if they are not existing Microsoft business customers.
All the basic word functionality is there additionally you get some exclusive features like sharing your docs easily and services like an editor. The editor will help you improve your writing by suggesting grammar and spelling checks just like Grammarly does.
In Microsoft excel you get access to money in excel and this helps connect your excel spreadsheet to your banking information. So this way you can stay on top of your finances directly in excel.
In Microsoft PowerPoint up on the home tab over on the far side here too you get access to design ideas. When you created a slide in Powerpoint it intelligently looks at the content of your slide and then it’s identified all the different design ideas for your slide and suggests the best-animated backgrounds and Images.
Also as a subscriber, you have access to lots of Fonts and templates all of these are available for Word and Excel too.
You can perform different tasks like calendaring, task managing, contact managing, note-taking, journal logging, and web browsing using Outlook.
Skype for Business:
It’s a version of the popular chat and conferencing service designed specifically for commercial use. With Skype for business, organizations can access all the telecommunications tools they might need on a daily basis.
This includes sending instant messages between colleagues, utilizing video conferencing features, recording conversations, sharing screens, giving whiteboard presentations, and holding meetings with up to 250 people at a time, from any device.
Sometimes communicating information to a broader audience requires something more permanent and more formal than a presentation at a meeting. The Publisher app in Microsoft 365 provides users with the tools they need to publish professional-looking newsletters, brochures, and booklets.
It’s your basic productivity cloud app. As the workforce has become more mobile, the need to capture information on the go has become increasingly important. Applications like OneNote allow users to take notes on any device and then retrieve those notes from any other device.
It is a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office. SharePoint allows the user’s to
Create, edit, manage and share documents and insights with colleagues through business, department, or team-specific subsites.
Share company news, events, and business updates across selected sites and protect data and content with document-level permissions.
Download and access documents offline using SharePoint Workspace. Also, Communicate with colleagues in real-time from within the SharePoint Online interface.
It’s Microsoft’s cloud-based file storage service. All kinds of files, including documents, images, music, and video can be stored on OneDrive, and these files can be accessed, managed, and shared securely from almost any device, with internet access.
OneDrive is where all files are stored for Office 365 users, and allows files to be synced across desktops, browsers, and mobile devices. All Office 365 business and enterprise-level users receive 1TB of OneDrive storage.
Many companies subscribe to Onedrive as a standalone service and over 85% of Fortune 500 companies use OneDrive for Businesses.
It’s Microsoft’s email server solution. Each Microsoft 365 for Business subscription includes an Exchange Server, which handles all the email management duties.
By default, each user is granted 50 GB of storage for email. Maintenance of the Exchange Server is generally handled at the administrator level. It allows organizations to create their own, independent mail system.
Microsoft Teams, is a chat-based workspace that integrates people, content, and tools into a single platform.
Teams bring together the chat capabilities of Skype for Business, along with collaboration tools like document sharing, useful AI-powered features such as chatbots, and online project management tools, providing a hub for modern teams to work.
Teams were initially launched as a largely chat-based communications platform, and Microsoft is currently working on bringing Skype’s full functionality into Teams.
Yammer is a social network for enterprises that aims to help employees connect and communicate. It provides a communication stream to the staff within an organization.
It’s a Digital message board for the company where anyone within the company shares organization-wide news, announcements, and engagements.
Sway and Delev are the two other collaboration tools that work almost similarly. All these tools allow users to communicate, brainstorm ideas, share documents, and have video meetings while on the go.
One of the most powerful tools any enterprise can have, regardless of size, is reliable business intelligence (BI) gathering applications.
Microsoft 365 for Business, through its Power BI application, provides enterprises with a set of tools for collecting, sorting, and presenting business intelligence data.
Mobile communications are vital to many organizations, and Kaizala adds a secure mobile messaging and workflow app that can be deployed both internally and externally. Employees, customers, and vendors all can communicate and coordinate with each other in a secure environment.
At first, To-Do comes as an additional function along with the calendar app but later Microsoft launched To-Do as a standalone application that integrates with the rest of Microsoft 365.
So all your personal tasks are taken care of by Microsoft you just have to concentrate on your To-Do list.
Flow provides a simple system to manage notifications within Microsoft 365 across all of the applications you use.
The Family safety app creates healthy habits and protects the ones you love with digital and physical safety. Use the app’s content filtering settings to set healthy boundaries, block inappropriate apps and games, and limit browsing to kid-friendly websites using Microsoft Edge on Xbox, Windows, and Android.
Support: Each Microsoft 365 subscription includes full 24/7 web and phone support.
Along with these, there are many tools and applications available based on your subscription type. For Business and enterprise-level subscriptions latest services are included as soon as they are available for use.
What is the significance of Microsoft 365?
Technologies are evolving day by day and to match up with this change companies build their infrastructure accordingly. So they need new productivity tools and ideas to match the current pace.
Great productivity tools help everyone in an organization be more productive, communicate more effectively, and get more jobs done.
The Office 365 suite makes performing essential tasks like finding information, sharing knowledge, communicating with colleagues, processing data, and planning which helps the organization move faster and more straightforward, reducing time spent on administrative tasks.
With the addition of new applications the productivity level increases even more. Some of them are…
- Microsoft Connections, a basic email marketing tool, and customer engagement platform
- Microsoft Listings, a tool to help organizations manage their business information on platforms like Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp
- Microsoft Invoicing, an app to generate and send professional invoices to customers and accept payments on the go
- Outlook Customer Manager, a simple, intelligent customer management add-on for businesses who don’t yet need a full-blown CRM system
- Microsoft Bookings, which allows users to manage customer appointments and schedules
- MileIQ, a mileage logging platform that automatically classifies and submits business travel
- Business Center, is a central access point for all Office 365 business apps, through which users can track metrics like outstanding invoices, email subscriptions, and bookings.
So a cloud-hosted productivity suite gives an organization more exposure to build, grow and flourish far easier than a traditional system.
The subscription-based services are typically more cost-effective, and more flexible. If the business circumstances change, Office 365 does not require any hardware investments.
All infrastructure is handled at Microsoft’s end, reducing the need for IT expertise manage the suite in-house and potentially reducing spending on internal IT services.
What are the Plans Available for purchase?
There are different plans available for specific use and purposes. Categorically Microsoft defined its plans into three sections. The Home and Family plan, small and media Business plan, and Enterprise plan for big to huge workloads.
If you want Microsoft 365 for personal or family use then I recommended you the family pack where you get all the basic apps and tools along with 6TB of Onedrive cloud storage for 6 members. So you get 1TB cloud storage for each user and considering the price point it’s a great deal.
Office 365 is available for individuals ($69.99/year) and households ($99.99/year).
Enterprises with fewer than 300 users can purchase a subscription to Microsoft 365 and download the appropriate applications via the Microsoft website. The Basic version costs $5/user/month, The Standard version costs $12.50 per user per month ($150/year), while Microsoft 365 Premium costs $20 per user per month.
There is also an app-only version available for Business only costs $8.25/user/month. If you purchased the plans on a monthly basis the prices increases. details are below.
For enterprises, there are two plans E3 costs $32/user/month and E5 costs $57/user/month, and an app-only cloud-based subscription is available at $8/user/month. All the prices are applicable for annual subscription purchases.
Enterprise subscription offers unlimited user creation and More expensive enterprise versions of Office 365 add features like voicemail, compliance auditing, rights management, encryption, and Advanced Threat Protection.