Why Microsoft’s office insider may be good for your business – By Bob Milliken

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Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Microsoft continues to enhance their flagship Office 2016 / Office 356 suite with new features almost every month.  Last year, there were several additions to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that further enhanced user experience.

You can stay on top of this stream of new Office features and experience the advantages yourself before they go mainstream by joining the Office Insider program – (@OfficeInsider) | Twitter.

Early access – 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.

MicrosoftOnce an Insider – Here’s Some of What to Expect

  • 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 –This past January Microsoft 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.
  • Competitive advantage – 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 — and 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.

Feedback – 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.

Take-Away …

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 on the inside with bleeding edge tech innovations?” To find out, give us a call.

Bob Milliken is the TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com specializing in helping businesses with their IT needs. Discover how great local IT services can be.  604.270.1730.