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In a recent article about the importance of explaining the cloud to users, CIO.com writers Kim Lindros and Ed Tittel point out the fundamental knowledge gap in the ordinary consumer. “Even though our smartphones are set up to auto-save pics to our online accounts, we enjoy hours of streaming videos and music, and we regularly use online email, a lot of people don’t know where all this information is stored. They just know it’s ‘in the cloud.’”

“Helping a typical employee understand the cloud can go a long way toward protecting sensitive data and keeping files in house,” they write.

Similarly, when you provide your users with a suite of powerful tools like Office 365 and tell them that it’s designed to help them “work better together,” how can you expect them to benefit if you don’t show them precisely how?

Here are three ways Office 365 can make your users more efficient, and, consequently, improve your bottom line.

Goodbye version control nightmares, part 1:

Collaborating on documents by sending them back and forth via email and appending a succession of version numbers to the end of the filenames are bad habits. They’re hard to break too. With Office 365, you don’t have to attach anything ever again (well, almost never). With OneDrive for Business, users can send a link to a file that’s stored in a secure location. Users work with one file, that’s backed up and accessible from almost any device.

A SharePoint Team Site.

A SharePoint Team Site.

Goodbye version control nightmares, part 2:

SharePoint, although a veteran of the Office suite, can be intimidating to the typical office worker. With a bit of training and practice, employees can use SharePoint technology to transform chaotic projects into beautifully organized processes. A SharePoint site, for example, enables teams to keep content in one spot. Sites can include shared notebooks, newsfeeds, document libraries, task lists, timelines and more.

A note about OneNote:

OneNote didn’t become a standard part of the core Office install until recently, so it’s not as familiar as Excel or Word. Push your users to give it a try. Offer training. Hand out cheat sheets. It enables users to collect notes from many sources and in almost any form — handwritten, typed, doodled, video, audio, web sites and more. Notes can be shared, collaborated on, and synced easily.

Use OneNote to keep Outlook meeting notes organized.

Use OneNote to keep Outlook meeting notes organized.

One of the easiest ways to begin using OneNote effectively is via Outlook, and, in particular, during meetings. Instead of taking notes by hand, or in a Word or Excel file, users can open meetings in their calendars, select the Meeting Occurrence tab and click the Meeting Notes button (see screenshot). They can add notes to a shared notebook (if the meeting organizer has created one), or create their own notebooks. Users will quickly realize the application’s utility beyond Outlook.

  • Read OneNote 2013 Top Things, in which our director of training shares his favorite features of the application.
  • Get more information about OneNote from Microsoft.

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