Should Office 365 Consultants be recommending Office insider?
Microsoft churns out new Office 365 features for users almost every month. Last year, there were several additions to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that further enhanced user experience. This year, Microsoft will likely introduce new features that can benefit businesses. Microsoft offers a program called Office Insider that allows you to stay on the bleeding edge of updates. But should your Office 365 consultants be recommending this to your business?
Similar to the Windows 10 Insider program, the Office Insider program grants users early access to new features, security updates, and bug fixes months before they are available for the general public. Office Insider is available on two levels: the fast ring, where updates are rolled out more frequently but tend to have more issues, and the slow ring, where features are released slower but have little to no software bugs.
The features you have to look forward to this year include:
- Calendar.help – When you sign up for the Office Insider Program you are immediately eligible to beta test Calendar.help, a machine learning feature that uses Cortana to schedule important calls, meetings, and events. When you need to set up an appointment over email, you can simply list your contact, add Cortana to the Cc: line, and state your meeting preferences.
- Outlook – In January 30, Microsoft has increased Outlook 2016’s collaboration options. Insider subscribers can upload locally saved email attachments to OneDrive and collaborate with other employees.
- Surface Pen – Surface device users in the Insider program can resize, rotate, and move objects in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with the Surface Pen.
Because you’re getting early access to new applications, you’ll have more experience with the features compared to companies who wait for the general availability update. For example, you can test updates like PowerApps — a feature that allows businesses to create software without knowing how to code. With this headstart, you can decide whether it’s right for your company months before other general users have worked with the product.
In other words, when your business can access and take advantage of Office 365 Insider features early, you’re essentially setting your company ahead of the competition since ‘late’ adopters will need to spend time getting acquainted with the new patch.
Bugs and Downtime
You may be reading this and thinking, “Why haven’t my Office 365 consultants recommended this for me yet?” One of the reasons may be the bug potential. If your business is time critical, introducing new and untested programs can cause issues. Issues can lead to downtime and lost work. Also, some programs my not become available in the long run. Should that happen, you business may have lost a powerful tool that you have grown accustom to using. This could cause hiccups in the business flow.
If bugs are your concern, the final benefit of the Office Insider program is that you get to voice your opinion on the upcoming features, raise awareness to certain software issues, and provide ideas on how Microsoft can make things better. With this crowd sourced power of review and design, Office 365 can expand and grow at a much more rapid pace than if it was produced in a lab environment.
Overall, enrolling in the Office Insider program can open up your company to a wide variety of productivity-boosting features. The only question you have to ask yourself now is: Do I want to be at the bleeding edge of tech innovations?
Contact your Office 365 consultants today to find out how you can get on the Insider track and upgrade with the latest in Office updates or if you want to learn more about Office 365.