Getting More From Office 365 – Microsoft Business Centre
Office 365 is a fantastic set of tools for the small business. Microsoft’s subscription-based service is packed with software that can improve productivity and collaboration for businesses of all sizes. However, the majority of users only use a very small percentage of what’s available. In this ongoing series of posts, we look at some of the lesser used elements of Office 365 and investigate them further, so you don’t have to.
If the ‘In A Nutshell’ guide whets your appetite and, if you think that you’d like to learn more, we will go into a bit more detail and provide links to useful resources including further reading, how-to videos etc.
This week we have a look at ‘Microsoft Business Centre’
In A Nutshell
Microsoft Business Centre is a central location which brings Bookings, Connections, Listings and Invoicing together allowing Office 365 customers to have easy access to all of their business apps and data in one place.
It also comes with an unified dashboard which allows you to view key metrics from all the business apps, including total outstanding invoices, the number of appointments scheduled, the impressions across Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp, and the number of new subscribers and sent campaigns.
Who is it for?
Likely to be most suitable for ‘smaller’ small businesses or those at an early stage. However, some elements might be useful for slightly larger businesses.
What’s good about it?
Listings – One of the more difficult tasks for a small business, especially one that is just starting out, is getting your product or service in front of potential customers. Websites, social media, and search engines can help, but it can be difficult to manage your message across all platforms. Listings allows you to create one branded identity and one consistent message and then disperse it to Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp. By establishing an online presence in this way, small businesses can project a consistent brand across all platforms.
Invoicing – The Invoicing app allows business owners to create personalised, professional-looking invoices for clients. Invoicing provides the option to manage invoices online, integrates with PayPal and QuickBooks, and features a mobile invoicing option.
This is a rather useful Business Centre app. In short, the Activity Feed provides an activity summary for all apps, notifying you of any recent developments. How does it work? Basically, you get updates in the form of activity cards. All activity on an application will be recorded on an activity card. If you perform multiple tasks in one app, all of these will be combined together on a single card.
Each activity card presents two aspects of an activity. The first lists a brief summary of the activity. For instance, it may simply state that a client booked an appointment online. The action section of the card is more specific and may list the details of a booking, the name of the client, the time, and other relevant information.
What’s bad about it?
It’s nothing new – the majority of the elements of the Microsoft Business Centre have been around for a while so it’s not offering subscribers any real ‘new’ apps.
It’s fairly basic – it does things reasonably well but there may well be, better standalone options for many of its functions available elsewhere.
Think Microsoft Business Centre might be worth some further investigation?
Then please read on!
As Business Centre brings together several existing Microsoft apps resources for training on Business Centre itself are a little sparse, but Microsoft do provide a short video followed by a comprehensive written guide to familiarise you with the basics of Business Centre.
You can also access ‘learn pages’ for some of the components such as Connections, Listings, and Invoicing:
However, the best thing about Business Centre is its simplicity. The best thing you can do is fire it up and have a go!
We’ve (hopefully!) given a broad, unbiased, view of what Microsoft Business Centre can offer. It’s definitely a piece of software where it’s best to just dive in and have a play around. You should be producing fantastic looking online presentations in minutes!
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For some of the other features we’ve looked at in this series please click the links below: