Office 365 Collaboration Confusion

A couple weeks ago, Microsoft held their annual Ignite conference and I would usually be blogging about all the cool new things coming to Office 365. This year has been a bit a different experience altogether, not for a lack of features announced from Microsoft though…there were plenty of awesome new features announced. We’ve spent the past couple weeks fielding questions on Office 365 from existing customers and folks looking to make the move or at least understand the options available.

For many small to mid-size organizations Exchange Online has been the “gateway” to Office 365 and they are overwhelmed by the number of options available beyond Exchange Online so they have remained stagnant on Office 365 adoption.  In our little corner of the Office 365 consulting world it seems like those small to mid-size organizations that we work with are now at a tipping point. They know the value is there but are just not sure how to take advantage of everything available and are looking to clarify things.

This point of confusion regarding what to use and when is highlighted in the ZDNet article written by Mary Jo Foley titled “Microsoft tries to stem its self-made collaboration-tool confusion”.  I would highly recommend reading through this article and checking out the corresponding Ignite session which is now available online here.  The slide referenced in the ZDNet article “Where to Start a Conversation” is discussed at 1:07:19 of the session if you want to get to the specific content and skip through the Microsoft 365 portion of the session…more on Microsoft 365 and Office 365 at the end of the post.

While this clip of the session does not give you coverage on all the applications available in Office 365 it should help you understand how Microsoft views the collaboration options intended usage.  To cap it all off you can check out the Productivity Library for Microsoft 365 to get a feel for how your users might benefit from Office 365. Which leads me to the greatest irony of spending the last 5 – 6 minutes of a Microsoft 365 Ignite session attempting to clarify collaboration tools in Office 365. Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are not the same thing…Office 365 is a part of the Microsoft 365 package😊.

Microsoft 365 is a collection of offerings sold by Microsoft as “A complete, intelligent solution, including Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely”. You do not have to purchase Microsoft 365 to get Office 365 although you get Office 365 when you purchase Microsoft 365 and almost all the content in the Productivity Library is applicable if you only have Office 365.  Hopefully that makes things a little clearer than mud.

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