The best improvements to Office 365 at Microsoft’s end-of-year conference

The annual conference and tech party, Ignite by Microsoft, is arguably the blue chip of all global tech conferences, thanks to the merging of the tech giant’s best events into one space. Each year, it’s safe to say that tech-lovers and IT professionals can expect exciting news from the Microsoft team, with the 2016 year-end event being no exception after news of huge improvements to its flagship Office 365 programs.

Spanning across Word, Excel, Powerpoint and more, the changes come under an umbrella mission to improve productivity, enhance collaboration, and ensure top-quality security measures for all users — all made possible by the further integration of intelligent technology to push Microsoft’s mobile and cloud-first vision. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

Guaranteed productivity boost

It’s now easier than ever to make presentations and reports visually stunning, thanks to new features across the Office 365 suite. The Tap feature, for example, allows you to drag items like images, charts, and slides from existing files into your current Word or Outlook document without needing to click off the page. You’ll also have easy access to documents frequently used by you and your colleagues, making it easy to whip together a quality presentation from existing information.

The addition of Quickstart and Designer to Powerpoint and Sway helps boost your creativity and hack writer’s block by offering starter slides and design suggestions relevant to the topic you’re working on. The former works as a springboard to kickstart your project, and the latter helps you fine-tune the information you’ve added with design suggestions.

Speaking of visually presenting information, geographic data can be converted into a visual map thanks to the new Maps feature in Excel. This comes in handy when using information to present global trends and insights.

While these new features help to boost productivity, Microsoft’s MyAnalytics feature tracks your progress. You’ll be able to track how you spend time at work, from the number of emails read to the number of hours spent on a task. Better yet, you can set private goals for yourself to measure your progress, too.

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Better collaboration, more connections

With its growing cloud-first, mobile-first system, working away from the office no longer has to mean you’re out of the loop. Microsoft has introduced various improvements in its Office 365 programs to help teams work together. For instance, the cloud-based collaboration tool Sharepoint sees the addition of the OneDrive central file storage, which allows teams to share documents and news efficiently through a single platform.

Similarly, the new integration of Yammer into Office 365 means that creating groups on one program will sync it to the other, along with a OneNote notebook, document library, and task management planner to help with team organization.

Teamwork is also streamlined with improvements to Skype for Business, which now has new translation and transcription capabilities to help meetings run smoothly, while the newly improved Microsoft Staffhub helps managers organize shift schedules and team announcements.

Powerful security measures

When it comes to top-quality security against malware threats, Microsoft continually steps up their game. The announcement of Advanced Data Governance for Office 365 means you can easily archive, preserve, and classify important data, while automatically eliminating duplicated data. When combined with the brand new Threat Intelligence feature, which helps you uncover and protect against advanced threats through data points and deep cybersecurity insights, there’s not much left to worry about.

On top of these new features, improvements to the already impressive email security program, Advanced Threat Protection, bring the likes of a link scanner “URL Detonation” and email attachments scanner “Dynamic Delivery” to the board. The former quickly scans links in all received emails for any suspicious behavior, with a warning pop-up provided if the process is not complete. The latter removes attachments from received emails to assess their behavior.

There’s even more good news for email security. Outlook is now powered by Microsoft Cloud when used with iOS and Android. With that, mailbox data is never cached outside of Office 365, guaranteeing best-in-class security. Better yet– it’s all already automatically updated, meaning you don’t have to do anything to enjoy the improvements.

All in all, these are just the top highlights from a huge array of improvements and new additions to the Microsoft Office 365 suite. There are also many exciting things in the pipeline that promise to further enhance the experience for all users in the near future. Until then, it’s time to play around with these new tools!

For the latest developments on Office 365 and burgeoning cloud technologies, contact the team at Dyrand Systems today.