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Office 365 expansion across the world
January 31, 2019

Will Office 365 ever rule the world?

By Simon Gorman

Long gone are the days of creating project plans in Excel and emailing the file around while desperately trying to stay on top of version control. Project management tools are now making life easier for Project Managers. In fact, a 2016 study found that using the right project management tool will positively impact the likelihood of project success.

Microsoft has seen this need for more strategic project management. Thus, they have adopted it into their Office 365 offering. Obviously, this is really good news for users. After all, Office 365 already has more than 155 million monthly active users. Plus, Excel is used by 82% of companies as a project management tool.

Businesses know that the right Office 365 project management tools can be the key to project success. Especially those which can integrate and provide Office 365 project portfolio management.

What is Office 365?

Launched in June 2011, Office 365 combines all of the elements of the Microsoft universe. Think Word, Excel, Outlook, and so on. This allows users to purchase the entire set of software as an ongoing subscription. This model is so popular that Office 365 subscription revenue overtook outright license purchasing in 2017.

It appears Microsoft is forcing the shift of software subscription itself. Those who buy the Office 2016 license will have no choice but to pay to upgrade. On the other hand, Office 365 has a constant stream of free updates built into the price of the subscription.

Why Office 365 has the potential to rule the world

This software allows a business to keep all of their files in the cloud and share work across the entire organization. Beyond that, Microsoft has also moved the project management fundamentals into the cloud. And it’s obvious to see why. By their own definition, Microsoft states:

Whether we realize it or not, we have all become project managers. And to stay on top of the ever-shifting requirements of our day-to-day jobs, we need tools that are simple enough for anyone to use, flexible enough to support any project type, powerful enough to handle initiatives of any size, and transparent enough to provide visibility across the organization.

Think of the day-to-day workload. A lot of it is actually attributed to project management in some way. Whether it’s managing a team or a list of tasks, everyone needs to be able to effectively manage what they’re working on.

Office 365 holds an astounding market share that is growing at a rate of 39% a year. Plus, with the huge financial backing of Microsoft, it continues to prosper with ever increasing popularity. Its primary success sprouts from the continued development of their core products. However, the introduction of cloud-based project management capabilities has also helped.

How to use Office 365 for project management

Microsoft Office 365 project management is a whole job in itself. To combat this, Microsoft includes an Office 365 planner for project management. This offering is—almost too easy to guess— called Microsoft Planner. On top of that, there are third party tools. These can make it even easier to manage projects with Office 365.

What is Microsoft Planner?

Office 365 Planner for project management helps to give a clearer view on managing projects. Plus, it does so without the need for cumbersome Excel docs that need to be versioned. For those looking how to use Microsoft Planner, it’s simple. Users are able to organize team members with boards, cards, task assigning, file sharing, and chat functionality.

Unfortunately, Project Managers with more experience may feel they’re missing out. Planner lacks the ability to track resources, baseline, and costs. This can also become a liability for those who work in smaller businesses where Office 365 project manager jobs aren’t their primary role.

Smaller business need their projects managing as effectively as larger enterprises—if not more so! Getting aspects wrong and missing deadlines can have a much more devastating effect on the bottom line of a smaller business. So, while Microsoft Planner can be effective, integrating with a Microsoft Office 365 project management tool will work even better.

Integration with Office 365 project management software

Project management can be a highly stressful job, especially when it’s being done on top of an employee’s actual job. For those managing projects, it’s important to be able to effectively delegate tasks. That allows them to complete the work they need to do and help those on the project team stay on track.

Project Central makes Microsoft Office 365 project management much simpler. At its core, Project Central is a project management tool for Office 365 that pulls in key features. Project Central combines project tracking and task management. This helps business who rely on Office 365 achieve project success.

Key features of Office 365 project management software

Project tracking is very important to successful outcomes as it keeps everything in one place. Moreover, it keeps things visible across teams and stakeholders in real-time. This is especially vital for smaller teams. After all, research has shown that the small teams make decisions that reach customers quicker.

The right project management software for Office 365 will do two things. First, it will allow smaller teams to remain transparent. Second, it will enable them to make the right decisions. These things are vital for managers who wear different hats. These features are also useful in  places where employees work across multiple tasks and projects.

Within project tracking, task management is a key part of the day today. In fact, poor task management can result in projects failing. Reasons for failure can include lack of planning and resources. Project Central combats all of these things. With visual Project Cards and intuitive dashboards, the whole team can see how the project is coming along. Ultimately, its approach keeps teams motivated and on task.

With tools like Project Central, Office 365 is not far from gaining its market share on rivals. It’s also on the road to becoming the go-to business suite across the globe. Once teams start using it to its full potential, the success of their project management will only increase.