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For young businesses, particularly startups, there is generally no such thing like office hours. Working on-the-go requires them to collaborate anywhere, anytime and on any device. And there are quite a few business productivity apps that seek to make everything seamless. However, there is hardly any tool that offers the power-packed mix of business intelligence, collaboration and mobility to give business process and productivity a whole new meaning in a world led by mobile and cloud technology. Office 2016, launched in September by Microsoft (MS) Office, brings in that mix.
Globally, 1.2 billion people use MS Office business productivity apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. However, there is always a question on its collaborative practices for teams to work together in real time, whether it is about students working on different college projects, professionals working on spreadsheets or entrepreneurs finalising their business plans. Collaboration, hence, is fundamental to the new Office 2016 that helps people team up like never before. No doubt, Office 2016 is Microsoft’s most intuitive set of office applications by far.
"Office 2016 focuses on effective collaboration and communication. Apps like Yammer help communicate with people efficiently. For example, when we use Yammer's hour session called ‘Yammathon’ on different topics with multiple teams, we make around 60 people communicating at one place. Otherwise, one need to meet them one-on-one, which will be time consuming," says Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India.
What differentiates Office 2016 from its predecessors is that it offers a set of tools that help businesses perform a consistent and effective teamwork anytime by integrating into it day-to-day discussions and interactions whether among teams or just two people. Real time co-authoring, which Office had in its online version since 2013, is now available in its native apps.
It allows you to look at what other users are writing and editing in Word in real time. Office 2016 also offers Skype in-app integration in the client apps for instant messaging, screen sharing, voice or video calls within your document. Teams can stay connected with Office 365 Groups, which is now a part of Outlook 2016. Moreover, Office 365 Groups can even create public or private teams with a shared inbox, calendar, cloud storage for group files, and a shared OneNote notebook for each group.
"Today, work is no longer the place you go to, work is in the particular device that you have that makes you more productive wherever you are to connect as a team and that’s why collaboration is so remarkable in the new Office 2016," says Tyler Bryson, General Manager, Marketing & Operations, Microsoft India. More importantly for entrepreneurs who have multiple roles initially in their start-up journey, Office 2016 is their best growth companion.
"For start-ups, who do multiple tasks simultaneously: creating a business plan, presentations for investors, sharing documents and information, etc, all these activities can be done in a collaborative manner now with Office 2016," further says Bryson.
Developing a correlation between increased productivity with minimum resources and time is always complicated for businesses. Office 2016 has incorporated innovative changes in its apps that allow you to work in a simpler, quicker and better way. Features like Tell Me points users to a particular tool which otherwise seem tough to locate in Excel or Word. Smart Lookup brings information from the web pertaining to the selected text in the document on the same screen.
"Office 2016 makes it easy for users to discover features, which was not the case earlier. For example, if a user wants to add a pivot chart in the document, he/she can type it in the 'Tell Me' bar and he will get it right there," says Alok Lall, Director, Apps and services marketing, Microsoft India.
Moreover, there is an integrated publishing support to Microsoft business intelligence software programme Power BI and enhanced chart templates for users in Excel 2016 that make data much more comprehensible and attractive. Office 2016 is available across Windows, Android and iOS platforms.
Mahesh Murthy, Founding Partner, Seedfund, a VC firm, and Founder, Pinstorm, a digital ad agency, shared his learning for start-ups during the launch of Office 2016.
Marketing: Focus on creating a product that makes noise among customers, i.e. word of mouth. The general assumption is that spending on advertisements can make your brand big, which is completely opposite to the fact that a good product doesn’t need advertisement. Ideation: Search for an idea that you believe will become a big opportunity in around three years or so. If you are working upon an idea, which is already known to people and businesses, you are already late.
Team Building: You must get people in your team who are comfortable with ambiguity and are “Jugaadu” in nature, so that they can think and take decisions good enough with limited information in any situation.
Data analytics: Customer insights and business intelligence have to be central to your growth strategy. Make sure that you understand what your customers want by reading and analysing their data. Sairee Chahal, Founder, SHEROES, a career platform for women, discussed what’s driving women in business, while speaking at the launch of Office 2016.
Connectivity: Technology has helped women to become increasingly efficient, thanks to the "connected economy" we are living in. Automation technology is integral to business strategies, and women are open to it as devices become simpler and intuitive.
Social Acceptance: More women are getting acceptance in board rooms of big and small businesses globally. Women are increasingly overcoming social barriers, gender orientation and barriers to diversity in workplaces.
Women Market: Today, women do not form a homogeneous market, but they are more demanding and open to experiments. Crowd Sourcing: Women-led ideas have realised what crowd sourcing can do to business. It is easy to seek a help and improve upon according to the suggestions coming from different verticals.
Crowdsourcing: Women-led ideas have realised what crowdsourcing can do to business. It is easy to seek a help and improve upon according to the suggestions coming from different verticals.