Office 365 Review

I like the release planning feature and their notifications about upgrades.

What is most valuable?

I love this tool. I like the release planning feature and their notifications about upgrades; it makes me feel like an inside partner rather than just a customer.
Some valuable features are

  • SharePoint
  • Yammer
  • Microsoft Planner
  • Office 365 (Excel, Access)

How has it helped my organization?

Yammer and SharePoint’s social collaboration features have transformed our work style and the way we collaborate with the clients. There’s less of emails tracking and more moving the conversations forward, with greater context in terms of supporting the documents or issues being discussed.

Furthermore, the way that Excel has grown into a data analytics tool/engine with monthly updates is a pleasant surprise.

What needs improvement?

Task management needs to improve. There still doesn’t seem to be a unified view of my tasks that follows me around from SharePoint to Groups to Yammer to Planner.

Planner seems the best model in terms of functionality, but tracking my personal responsibilities still seems the tiniest bit soiled.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since 2013.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues. On some occasions, the service health status reports have indicated issues and resolution timelines, but I don't seem to recall ever feeling, that my services as experienced were either degraded or underperforming.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalbility issues so far. However, ours is not a large scale enterprise.

How are customer service and technical support?

The ticketing process is simple and they are responsive. Sometimes they have to get back to me with findings (at times i’ve been surprised having not to expect it to be as complicated enough in order to warrant research) and then the phone tag can begin. Unless the problem is mission-critical or urgent, I let it slide. They might want to consider adding an asynchronous Yammer-like channel for customer support. I know I need a problem fixed, but commandeering time from my day instead of going back and forth about it. It would be really helpful to move the discussion forward without having to have my undivided attention on the support rep and that might be worth investigating into.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I had used Office Professional Pro without the cloud backbone. So, it doesn’t really seem comparable to this product. I have also used and still use the G Suite which is fine, but frankly it doesn’t seem as robust or exciting as the Office 365. I maintain both because some clients are Google people or otherwise have an aversion to MSFT while there are others who know and seem to love the Office 365 solution.

How was the initial setup?

The non-changeable primary tenant was not explained clearly to me back then. I wound up opening a few instances, instead of adding multiple domains to a tenant. But what still has not been resolved are the branding issues, i.e., if your brand-expressing domains are not intuitively related to each other. For example, there is no yammer network b/c my primary domain is succelleratorsaas. If one legitimately owns the domains, one should not be locked into decisions about brand primacy that may have applied at that time but don’t today.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The number of SKUs and the varied configuration that MSFT offers is evidence, that they are segmenting the offers meticulously well.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Google Apps for Work/G Suite that I have used and like as well. I just think that MSFT Office 365 is appreciably a more powerful, detailed and granular tool.

What other advice do I have?

First of all, I was an enthusiastic and an early adopter of this product. Microsoft has made the onboarding process impressively robust and my learning pains back then, would not be those experienced by someone arriving new/fresh today. Still, the primary domain is something that one should give some consideration to, as it’s a lock-in decision.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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