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How to Get the Most Out of Office 365: Microsoft Planner

In May, we talked about the underutilization of Office 365. It’s something we have observed for several years now and was only made more apparent over the last year and a half.

Thanks to the pandemic, businesses scrambled to find solutions to their new needs – remote collaboration, seamless file-sharing, digital planning, tasking, and accountability, etc. This resulted in significant growth for a few companies that offered these types of services. Think about Zoom, Slack, Dropbox, etc. These companies grew in leaps and bounds as businesses desperately sought ways to keep their teams running in remote settings.

The problem is that many of these businesses were already paying for Office 365 licenses for all of their employees and, with Office, every one of their needs were met through different applications that were already set up to work together seamlessly for them!

Perhaps you’re thinking this is too good to be true. Like, maybe Office 365 offers these services, but how could they be as good as the individual companies you’ve chosen to invest in? How could Slack (or Asana, or Trello) gain so much popularity if an equally useful and capable tool already exists and is accessible to most businesses?

“Introducing” Microsoft Planner

We’re scratching our heads a bit on that last question too, but we’re not lying or exaggerating. We’re not here to sell you anything – just save you some $$$!

Microsoft Planner is included with your Office 365 suite. You might find that you like Microsoft Planner more than your beloved Slack. It will also reduce your cost because you’ll only be paying for one license, rather than two! It’s more than just a tool that’s available to you – it’s a tool that will allow you to project manage small and large projects (inside and outside of your organization), create timelines, assign people to various tasks, create a collaborative and intuitive environment for your team, and more.

Integrating Microsoft Planner

This is a critical, but simple point. If you are an Office 365 user, then you can’t overlook the benefits Microsoft created through the integration of their applications within the 365 suite. Everything just connects so well! By creating a seamless integration between Outlook, Teams, and more, you can save yourself and your team miscommunication, disjointed communication, time, and energy!

In Conclusion…

We chose to highlight Microsoft Planner this week because of the widespread use of other planning, management, and communication tools that compete with it from a budget standpoint. We’ve observed this tool as one that falls under the umbrella of “underutilized applications offered by Microsoft”. Plus, it’s a tool that we’ve personally benefited from!

If you have questions about Microsoft Planner or Office 365, just let us know. We’re here to help people (like YOU) – it’s the ABS Way!

Author: Ray Strothman

This article was written by Ray Strothman, Chairman at Strothman+Co. Ray founded the firm in February 1983 and, as Chairman, plays an integral part in the firm’s management. Ray’s passion is to be a trusted advisor for the clients of the firm. He has experience in all areas of public accounting, providing financial statement preparation, and tax and management advisory services, for business owners, business investors and nonprofit organizations.
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