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April 6, 2016

Extend Microsoft Office 365’s Efficiency With These 5 Integrations

Microsoft Office 365 is a useful tool on its own, but did you know there are a number of different tools and programs you can integrate with it to make it even more efficient and helpful?  Many of these tools actually have a free version available or cost very little, which begs the question: if they’re free, why aren’t you using them?  Here are five great tools that, once you’ve added them to Microsoft Office 365, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite has been around for years as a stand-alone program, but in November of 2015, the company announced that a new version of Hootsuite would be integrated with Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and SharePoint to make social media management even easier.  Hootsuite has a history of working closely with Microsoft—the two linked Hootsuite with Microsoft’s Yammer back in 2012 (more about Yammer in a bit).

This integration makes it even easier for businesses of all sizes to do everything related to social media from one program.  There’s no need to visit each social media site individually, nor is there any need to launch Hootsuite on its own now.  With everything in Office 365, your social media marketer has a go-to program for a large chunk of his or her work, making it easy to create and schedule posts, reply to comments, add photos, and do everything needed to maintain a strong social media presence.

Hootsuite does have a free option, but most businesses will want to go with either the Pro or Business plans to get the most out of the program.

2. Egnyte

Egnyte is a file sharing program that allows users to save files online, access them anywhere, and share them with others.  With their integration with Office 365, users can open their Egnyte files directly in Office Online to view and edit them, then save the changes directly to the app.

Cloud-based storage has become all the rage recently, especially for businesses with branches located in different cities or countries.  There are a number of major advantages to storing files in the cloud:

  • They can be easily shared and edited by multiple employees.
  • There’s no need to pass around a file through e-mail.
  • Only employees with the correct access can edit files.
  • Employees can open files on the go no matter where they are, untethering them from their desks.

By tying Egynite more closely with Office 365, the company has removed a number of steps, making it easier to use the service.

Egynite offers free trials of its Office, Business and Enterprise versions.  Once the trial is over, you’ll actually pay per employee.

3.  Dialpad

Tired of missing phone calls because you weren’t at your desk?  Dailpad is another way to untether from your desk and work wherever you want.  It’s a cloud-based phone system that allows you to take calls anywhere by routing your number through the Internet.  You can use a laptop, tablet, desktop, or Smartphone to take calls just as you would a normal phone.  All you need is a microphone and speakers or a headset.

But there’s more—because it’s a cloud phone with Microsoft Office 365 integration, Dailpad lets you use your Outlook e-mail directory as your phone contact list, view your calendar while on the phone, and even look at your call history and other records, all within Microsoft Office.  It’s everything you could want from a cloud phone, and now it’s all in one place.

Dailpadoffers a 14-day free trial after which it will cost a flat $15 per month per user.

4.  Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a way of managing your projects online, which means your team can work together no matter where the individual members are.  This tool has a number of different great features, such as dividing projects between team members, showing status updates, and more.

When Smartsheet integrated with Microsoft Office 365, it became even easier to share files and work together.  Smartsheet and Outlook work together, allowing team members to edit tasks in Smartsheet and then work on those tasks without even leaving their inbox.  You can also send Office files straight to Smartsheet or import/export Excel and Project files.  With the ability to work on spreadsheets together in real time, there’s no need to ever merge separate files again.

Smartsheet has several different pricing options.  You can go with the basic account, which is for individuals who coordinate projects.  For more users or for enterprises, there are differing costs and levels.

5.  Yammer

Yammer, as mentioned earlier, is a Microsoft tool that lets users collaborate, chat, and share files from any location.  It’s perfect for large companies or for those who are often working out of the office.  Since Microsoft has integrated Yammer and Office 365, Yammer can access all of your files and has a number of advanced editing options.  You’ll be better able to manage projects and your teams, and each member will be able to work faster and more efficiently.Yammer comes with SharePoint Online and with Microsoft Office 365, so even if you’re not using it yet, chances are you have it already.

A basic Yammer standalone account is free, but if you need the Enterprise version, you’ll pay $3 per month for each user.  This account was once $15 a month per user, but Microsoft has since changed their pricing structure for Yammer.  Upgrading to one of the SharePoint Online plans or for the Office 365 E Plan all costs more, but even the most expensive plan is only $24 a month.

By integrating these five programs with Microsoft Office 365, you’ll find that you’re much more efficient when working.  All in all, the price for these different programs is all very manageable; even small businesses can afford many of these programs.  But there are more than these five programs out there.  Which ones have we left off the list, and how does their integration with Office 365 work?  Let us know so we can share them with others.


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Elianna Hyde has been a freelance writer since 2009. She has attended the University of California and graduated with masters in mass communication. She loves watching TV shows, movies and has a keen interest in sharing her views on business and upcoming technologies.

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