Getting the Most from Office 365

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I started using Office 365 a few weeks ago and I can say I’m currently, for where I’m at, getting the most from Office 365. I’m not using every bell and whistle in the system which gives me the most. There’s a way more I could tap into. What I mean is that I’m motoring along and everything is running nicely all from Office 365.

In essence, I converted my system over entirely to Office 365 from iCloud. I still use components of iCloud where they’re needed but for my core system it is running on Office 365.

My business email address is based on Exchange. All my calendars and contacts are based on Exchange. However, there is much I do that runs from iCloud or the system of the different vendors vis-a-vis sync. This is all happening so seamlessly now, I don’t think about it. I don’t think “oh yeah …..” It just is and so is very second nature to me.

IOS is Completely a Part of this Picture

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In no way is IOS excluded from this party. It participates completely and to such a degree there is no thought given to this scenario. In fact though, if I do think about it, some things simply work better from Office 365.

Mac Office 2011 Works

There’s a problem with Mac Office 2011 which is quite serious. It doesn’t support either caldav or carddav. As such, it has no way of being able to sync any iCloud data.

Some feel that Microsoft is not that important to Apple any longer. I disagree. If you want real horsepower you simply need Office 365. iWork is a great package. It can meet most people’s needs. However, for the power user this is simply not the case. Further, the effort to attempt to try to fill Office 365’s shoes with something else is simply not worth the effort. Just go with Office 365 or the non-subsciption service Microsoft Office.

Considering Microsoft is very important to Apple consumers and Apple and vice-a-versa the advantage of using Office 365 is instead of sync’g using caldav and carddav you use Microsoft Exchange. Sync is fast and seamless.

Now Mac Office works 100% in your entire Mac ecosystem. You have the advantage of the power of Outlook and you can fully access Word, Powerpoint and Excel. You could always use Outlook as an email client but if it were reliant on iCloud’s caldav and carddav you would have to leave this component of Outlook out. Although it is expected in Outlook 2014 Caldav and Carddav support are coming for 2011 if you use Exchange there is no need to leave Outlook out of this picture.

A Quick Word on Subscription vs Non-Subscription Service

Some view Microsoft’s subscription service as expensive at $99. I view it as a bargain. You can enable up to five machines with software. You’re entitled to all the upgrades so you’re always current. This is a bargain if you amortize this over ten years.

Assume so many upgrades as a starter. In my case, I also enable the Windows environment so I now have quite a number of licenses in play. If you were to do this in the non-subscription fashion it would get very expensive. In the end, the subscription service works out cheaper and depending on your deployment of licenses substantially cheaper than the outright purchase scenario.

Enabling Windows 8.1

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This is not essential in in getting the most out of Office 365 but in my case I enable Windows on Parallels. The reason for this is in my career I used Outlook for many years. I also used many other third party Apple and PC information management solutions over the years. I would consolidate all this information in Outlook as I either left the product or the product was abandoned. In essence, I have an Outlook data file that I prefer to keep in Windows that has twelve years worth of data. I would absolutely hate to loose this data file.

Every so often I go into Windows 8.1 to retrieve information from this data file. I don’t really use Windows for any part of my current workflow. I prefer that all left under OSX on the Mac.

Windows 8.1 is a fine environment and there are a few things I could see using and on the Mac there would be zero problem running any Windows application alongside a Mac application. However, I have chosen not to do this as I feel it would only add complexity which I view as unnecessary.

However, if you have a Windows app that you would like to use on your Mac don’t hesitate to do this. Some people simply prefer to run Financial management software on Windows such as Quicken as it is much more robust than that of their comparable on the Mac. I have sometimes been tempted to do this but then realize I am very satisfied with Quicken Essentials for the Mac so I don’t bother.

Windows 8.1 enhances the Office 365 Experience

Being able to run Windows 8.1 on my Mac just enhances the whole Office 365 experience. It opens the doors to potential software I might not be able to get on OSX. It ensures that I’ve got the best of whatever I need.

Further, Exchange ensures my Windows environment is in full sync with Mac environment. Additionally, I could run a piece of Windows 8.1 software that syncs with IOS. This is 100% transparent on the Mac. Sync’g your Windows software with IOS is easily doable.

With everything in sync, I know I’m getting the most from Office 365. However, there are things I haven’t tapped into yet on Office 365. I haven’t taken advantage of Sharepoint and I could build a complete web presence for my business on this system. However, this has been done on another system.

I have not taken advantage of Lync but I really don’t have a use for it. There are other things in Office 365 I haven’t tapped into yet or have just scrapped the surface of these services. There might be a point where I’ll need to tap into Sharepoint. When that day arises I will but not till then.

The Mac as Enabler

I’ve always said the cloud is the enabler of many things now and this is no less true. But when I think about my Office 365 system I also realize that the Mac is the enabler of this very powerful system.

OSX as the Strategic Glue

All the components that make up a powerful system these days such as cloud based services are there. But the real glue that binds this all together is the Mac. It is not my IOS devices though they are important. It is the Mac. And OSX is a very strategic OS for Apple. This glue has never been so important as it is now.

The Most from Office 365

Yes, I am truly obtaining a lot from Office 365. In some ways, I’m not sure how I could manoeuvre without it. It is providing so much now. It provides a solid infrastructure for a sound productivity environment. I am able to capitalize on this significantly.

It simply is working. Mac Office 2011 is working and is in full sync with the environment. All systems utilize Skydrive as necessary. So Skydrive works. iCloud works. IOS works fully in the environment and is in full sync. My productivity apps work such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint. A lot more is available from an apps perspective in my Windows environment. And all my OSX apps fully work.

Are there hiccups. Absolutely. Are they resolvable. Yes. Is there a lot more available to an Office 365 subscriber. Most definitely. However, I’ll say it just one more time. I’m getting the most from Office 365. It is definitely nice when things just work.

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