Tying it all together

Occasional Visitor

Hi Everybody!


New here on the Microsoft Community scene.  The organization for which I work has Office 365, but no one really owns it or knows how to use it or what to do with it beyond the very basic Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word usage.  And I mean basic.  I think it's unbelievably cool what Office has morphed into and I'm looking to transform where I work.  Trouble is, I'm not really sure how it all ties together.  In short, what is Microsoft's vision for how all these awesome programs are supposed to work together?  


Any insight is much appreciated!





2 Replies
Microsoft might have a different vision but for me Office 365 provides a suite of products that make up what is coined as a Digital Workplace. The idea behind each product is that it fulfills a business need for most companies and as an eco system stops companies having to buy other software solutions to solve common business challenges. The products are all integrated with one another so work together across Office365.

If you were to collect feedback from your business about their current challenges I bet a lot could be solved by deploying one or more products in a structured and governed way.

@tlogsdon Welcome to Office 365.  The choices are huge and can be complex.  I see you tagged this thread Office 2016 so not positive this is relevant to what you have but I'll try to provide my own example. 


From a very high level, we use SharePoint to house lots of data that people have been keeping in spreadsheets.  We then build PowerApps forms that people fill in; PowerAutomate to handle our workflows and Power BI to do the analytics.   We use Forms a lot for surveys and to get feedback.  Teams is used all over the place for groups of people to work together on something. 


If you can dream it up, there is likely a way for someone-- who is not easily frightened-- to do it with a combination of these tools.    

For example, lots of our work groups want to track requests for help.  We create a SharePoint list that would answer -- Who needs this, what do they want, when do they need it, what category of work is it, etc.


Then we create a form from PowerApps that feeds the list when the client fills out the form. 


A flow we would build in PowerAutomate would then notify the client via email their item had been received and when they can expect a response and the team to do the work would receive that same e-mail so they know an item has been added.


Since people want to analyze their work,so Power BI is often used to build charts and graphs to show how many of a category of work has been received during what year, how many hours they spent working on each request, etc. 


They might then use a Teams to discuss various questions that come up and how the work will be accomplished. 


They may decide to use Planner in Teams to assign tasks related to a client request.


When a project is completed, they may use Forms and Power Automate to send a quick survey to a client.   


Know that some apps are very easy to use such as Planner and SharePoint while others are more complex such as PowerApps or PowerBI but there are lots of resources on the internet to help.  Just be ready to jump in and "learn by doing".  The good news is that your learning will grow exponentially across all the platforms.  The bad news is that everyday there are new things to learn and it can feel highly overwhelming.  

Also, be prepared to be thoroughly confused by the terms "Teams" and "Groups" as you learn all these.  Microsoft, in spite of all their strengths, has done an outstanding job of making their terminology very difficult.  You'll also find shocking limitations that will aggravate you to death but are sometimes resolved or improved in time.  So, Office 365 is still a vital tool to have and you'll enjoy learning and solving business problems. 


Hope this is helps clarify what you were asking!