Over the last two decades, Microsoft has seen its ups and downs. Productivity software packages have managed to change the way we work, but they’ve also managed to draw some unwanted attention to bugs. Office 365, though, is an evolutionary step. Through a constant process of adapting to the demands of the user, Office 365 is targeting a seamless interface.
Appealing to What Users Want
Office 365 has responded to the likes of Apple and Google by moving beyond their standby method of building stand-alone software. Office 365’s rolling release brings a host of features that individuals have come to demand if not expect.
The Cloud is, of course, the centerpiece of this usability. These days, workers expect the ability to access all of their open projects on any device at any time. Taking aim at Google’s series of programs, Office 365 offers mobile-ready versions of their software and email hosting for any type of device in addition to extensive storage space on SharePoint’s OneDrive. The former is essential to Office 365’s success since it lets go of the need to fully install any single program or set of programs, offering instead instant usability.
Office 365 is also adding a new level of updates with a process that requires fewer time-consuming overhauls. Instead, like most apps, Office 365 pulls in the most current updates automatically to minimize interruption or compatibility issues.
Finally, Microsoft has seized on the idea of tailoring use for the individual. Much of the reason for Google’s success has been the openness of the platform itself. Function is determined (and largely controlled) by the user. Office 365 has built in a lot more options and controls for users from email to passwords to storage. The result has been a one-size-fits-all product with a tailored feel from businesses from five people to five thousand.
Naturally, the open nature of Office 365, as well as Google and Apple products, raises both concerns and eyebrows for IT security. The cloud alone makes many hesitate. Microsoft has wisely not gone too far down the road of total freedom for users, but it has managed to make a more user-friendly experience without sacrificing much-needed security safeguards.
As the system has continued to evolve, Microsoft has reached new heights of security, including HIPAA protocols. How? By allowing security experts in businesses to control the exposure of individual devices rather than individuals. This means that users won’t feel the same kinds of restrictions placed on them as they have in the past, improving the long-term experience.
Cook with the Right Food
The major way that Microsoft was able to thread this needle is through adding the right power to their team. At the end of last summer, Acompli was acquired to bring a multi-tiered experience that includes a message system that can fully (and securely) integrate contacts, dates, and attachments as well as information.
Overall, Office 365 is poised to live up to its name and take control of the productivity market once again. This time, though, it’s building from the grass roots up.