Pagoda Blog

Office 365 Features and Benefits for Your Small Business

August 15, 2019

Microsoft’s Office 365 Business combines the familiarity and reliability of cornerstone applications like Word with newer tools like OneNote and Teams to help you collaborate effectively with your team and clients and stay on top of all your projects. We recommend starting with the Office 365 Business Premium which comes with a business email and additional applications like Teams (the updated version of Skype). If you’re not a fan of Microsoft, check out Google’s suite of productivity applications, G Suite.   


Office 365 Business versus Microsoft 365 Enterprise 


Microsoft offers two subscription options for businesses: Office 365 Business and Microsoft 365. Enterprise Both include all Office applications (for example Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Teams, and OneDrive for Business), file storage and sharing, and interactive reports and presentations with Sway. Office 365 Business offers cloud-based options for nearly all its applications and basic security features. Microsoft 365 Enterprise  is entirely cloud-based and has more robust security and compliance features geared towards larger corporations. 


For a small business, Office 365 Business gives you access to everything you need to manage your data, improve productivity, and leverage the flexibility of cloud-based storage and collaboration. Microsoft is continually releasing new applications and updates to improve your ability to run your business online but there are a few standards that stay mostly consistent over time. Here’s what each one includes and how they can help you streamline communications, securely manage your data, and grow your business. 



 Outlook is Microsoft’s desktop-based business-class email software. It also includes personal management services such as your calendar, contact manager, task manager, and address book. Outlook offers professional, on-brand emails with custom formats and an email address with your domain name. (Every business owner should have an email that matches their company name. For example: You can also send messages up to 150MB, use 100GB of storage, and improve security with anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering that minimizes the risk of falling prey to blackmail and phishing scams. Outlook is powered by Exchange, Microsoft’s email server that stores and manages all your emails, messages, and tasks in a centralized database.  



Microsoft Word is considered by many to be the gold standard of word processors that most other processors are modeled after. Word offers advanced table formatting options, graphic and image implementation, a better interface for organizing your documents, and more flexibility with fonts and text styles compared to Google Docs. Creating outlines and bulleted lists is also easier in Word.  You can also collaborate with others on any document (or in an Excel spreadsheet or a PowerPoint presentation) with the co-authoring feature.   



Excel allows you to create spreadsheets to track and organize your company data. Use formulas to automatically calculate specific data points in each row or column and leverage advanced features like conditional formatting to quickly pull out critical information without wasting time combing through every data point. Although more expensive than G Suite’s Google Sheets, Excel offers a more robust interface with more advanced functionality, complex formulas, and customization options. It can also handle significantly more data (over 17 billion cells versus Google Sheets’ 5 million) and allows you to create whatever kind of chart you need to visually present your data.  Check out these top 10 Excel features to ensure you’re taking advantage of this foundational Microsoft application.  



PowerPoint presentations are still the go-to method for sharing updates, new pitches, and project progress at both in-person and remote business meetings. Design branded presentations with your company logo, colors, and fonts, add animation and audio, and use the built-in notes function to discreetly stay on track when speaking to an audience. While Google Slides is easier to learn to use and has more powerful collaboration abilities, it doesn’t offer audio import, and has a more limited number of file export options and special effects.



Capture all your ideas in one place from any device with OneNote. Highlight important concepts, annotate throughout, and organize into color-coded sections and pages. The sharing and collaboration features lets others comment and add to your notes for group projects and tasks. 



OneDrive is your cloud storage platform. With OneDrive, you can automatically backup your files to the cloud and access them from anywhere. Organize all your data with shared and private folders, making it easy to collaborate with team members while also maintaining restricted access where you need it. 


Related Post: Should You Move Your Business to the Cloud?: Part 1



Microsoft Teams is your collaboration software for video conferencing, sending secure messages to team members, and for sharing and collaborating on content in real time. Teams is similar to Slack and Google Hangouts Chat and has replaced Skype for Business.  


Ready to try Office 365 Business? 

Office 365 Business has everything you need to improve productivity, streamline your processes, and migrate all or part of your business to the cloud. For more information about using this suite of tools for your business, get in touch for a free consultation or and receive the latest tips and resources by subscribing to our newsletter.  


Related Posts: 


14 Windows 10 Tips & Tricks to Optimize Your Workflow

7 It Mistakes Your Small Business is Probably Making

How to Use Technology to Improve Collaboration in the Workplace


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