New in Office 365 and getting work done

As anyone who follows the Microsoft world and in particular, Office 365, SharePoint and Yammer, change and new things are pretty much a constant. Keeping up to speed with it all is almost a challenge in itself. SharePoint 2016 has been released as a beta so there is quite a bit of attention on that but because it is more of an upgrade compared to the huge changes between 2010 and 2013. A different animal altogether with a focus on hybrid on-premises and working with the cloud.

Yammer is ticking along with changes to the User Interface (UI) being the most visible change but there is lots of tinkering going on all the time.

And then there is Office 365. Which just seems to generate new things at a rate of knots. It probably isn’t but it just appears that way.

So there were two updates over the past few weeks that caught the eye.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned the mega release of Office 2016 either. Nothing to add on that yet.

Right back to the two for O365.

First up was Office 365 Planner. Call it a lite version of Microsoft Project. A very lite version. Anyway it’s a way of linking and coordinating project teams in Office 365 with mail, calendars and tasks.

“Office 365 Planner, which offers people a simple and highly visual way to organize teamwork. Planner makes it easy for your team to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress.”

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Think Trello – nice online Kanban project tool. (www.trello.com) but with the connections and collaboration of Office 365. Cards, boards and an altogether very visual way of working together. This new tool in the Office 365 armoury could be very interesting and useful for project teams and all of us who work in teams. Best of all? It looks simple. And user friendly. Microsoft have totally changed the way they think and manage the User Experience (UX) and it sure is good. Have a look at Christian Buckley’s view of it here.

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Next up was the Windows Phone version of Outlook Groups. Or Office 365 groups even. It’s also available on iOS and Android. It allows you to work with Groups in Office 365. Groups, despite its name, has enormous potential for collaboration in Office 365 and this app will go some way towards that. I like it, yes. Its connection with Outlook of course means a close integration for teams as they share documents, tasks and emails. On Windows Phone it does look very nice and it’s great to see Microsoft actually supporting their own bloody operating system much earlier. It will certainly help to Get Work Done – Andrew Gilleran.