Posts Tagged ‘office365’

Underutilized Features in Microsoft 365

Posted on: September 29th, 2020 by jiml | No Comments

The two largest competitors in the corporate email and office suite spaces have been Google and Microsoft for many years now. Microsoft has been steadily eating into Google’s market share with Microsoft 365 and continues to do so by adding value to is subscription service. If your business is just using Microsoft 365 as an email service, you probably are not getting the full value from your subscription.

It is important to note that there are many different types of subscriptions of Microsoft 365, each containing different components, so it is imperative to start by understanding the licenses you have.  What does not help is Microsoft propensity to continual rebrand not only products but also licenses. What used to be called Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium, as an example, is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard and the product formerly known as Office 365 Business, is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium.  So, what used to be called Business Premium is now a completely different license than today’s Business Premium license. (Microsoft rebranded the entire product line from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 as well to make matters even more confusing)

Once you understand what licenses you have, you can see what products are available to you.  Almost every subscription has Microsoft Teams.  Certainly, this product has been gaining traction rapidly and the remote worker push from COVID-19 only accelerated that curve.  We would argue that Teams is still under utilized by many businesses. It is not just an instant messenger and meeting platform. It can perform those functions surely, but its value is in the collaboration components, the Teams and the channels. We have found, here at Colden Company, that simply downloading Teams for users is not a recipe for success. Success comes with a planned rollout with a project champion on site who can help make the business case for the tool. Find a project where Microsoft Teams can be of value to the business and roll out a pilot program. Make sure your pilot users are using the tool (Take away other options if need be) and see the value it brings.  A successful pilot will be a starting point for future Teams within the organization.

Beyond Teams, another component utilized but perhaps not as effectively as it could be is OneDrive for Business. This tool can be utilized in a few different ways one of those ways being a desktop and document backup for users. For those users with simple needs, this may be a great way to backup important files without increasing your costs.

There are many other components, some also recently renamed.  Flow, which is now Automate or Power Automate, is a handle tool for automating workflow.  Power BI is part of the Power Apps and is a highly rated business intelligence tool.  (See our webinar on the topic in case you missed it)

Microsoft Planner is a free application that can help organize and manage tasks.  It ties in nicely to Microsoft 365 by sending email reminders of due and overdue tasks and can even be integrated into Microsoft Teams as a tab on a Team site. Microsoft To Do is a simplified version for personal to-do items as well.

A newly released app is called Microsoft Lists. This can be a great checklist type app for your organization. This can also be integrated into Teams which many will find handy.

You can see the central theme here with Microsoft. Teams is becoming the hub for where employees will go to work. Microsoft is heavily invested in Teams and continues to make improvements as they compete with Slack and Zoom.

Not getting the full value out of your Microsoft 365 subscription?  Contact us today at (888) 600-4560 or email us at

Using OneDrive for Business

Posted on: April 24th, 2019 by jiml | No Comments

Microsoft’s cloud file storage solution is called OneDrive. It is their competing product to Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud. There are many advantages to having file storage in the cloud including, data accessibility. Files store in OneDrive can as easily be modified from home as in the office. OneDrive is integrated with Microsoft’s Office365 product and there are some important distinctions that must be clarified before rolling out to an enterprise. First and foremost, OneDrive Personal and OneDrive for Business are not the same. Many people assume OneDrive is one entity, either OneDrive Personal or Business, and do not understand they may not be getting the feature set they are expecting.

OneDrive for Business has much more capacity than the personal OneDrive. It comes with a terabyte of storage per user as opposed to five gigabytes for personal. OneDrive for Business offers end-to-end encryption with files securely stored in the cloud, OneDrive personal does not. OneDrive for Business has some additional features like version history, data loss prevention (depending on the plan) and advanced search options that are not available in the personal edition. Click here for more on OneDrive from Microsoft.

How do you know which version you have? There are a few key indicators. First, your OneDrive for Business icon in the system tray will be a blue cloud, whereas the personal OneDrive will be a white cloud. If you are still unsure, right click on the icon and choose the “Settings” tab and you will be shown the amount of available storage. If you see “1 TB”, you have OneDrive for Business, if you see “5 GB” you are using the personal.

Before rolling out OneDrive to your enterprise, there are a few key considerations that must be determined. Data accessibility and data security are often at odds. Take a good look at your data and think long and hard before putting any kind of protected data in the cloud. Data that businesses have a legal obligation to protect may not be a good fit for OneDrive. If you do decide to put protected information in the cloud, make sure you spend the time to properly secure it. There are ways to secure that data in OneDrive, but it requires some planning and configuration. OneDrive also has syncing capabilities so files and folders can be in the cloud but also synced down to local clients. This is another area where careful consideration must be given prior to rollout. If you allow syncing to local clients and have large amounts of data in the cloud, it can easily cause local hard drives to fill up prematurely.

Finally, we recommend looking at the entire Office 365 suite of products and decide which are the best for your business to utilize. Perhaps Teams is a better place to store data than OneDrive for certain test cases. Perhaps you already have SharePoint savvy users and may want to choose SharePoint Online over OneDrive. A holistic look at your business and the tools available is recommended so the best decisions can be made.

These are just a few of the considerations that businesses must plan for prior to a rollout. Careful planning ahead of time will likely determine whether your business deployment of OneDrive is a success or a failure. In the words of great American Ben Franklin, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.

Interested in hearing more?  Please click here for a recording of our webinar on OneDrive for Business or call us at (888) 600-4560.

Email us, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.


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Options for Purchasing Microsoft Office Licensing

Posted on: January 30th, 2017 by jiml | No Comments

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you are already familiar with Microsoft Office 365. At its core, it is a cloud email solution. Microsoft Office licensing can be bundled with it, or even purchased as a standalone product without email should you already have an email solution you are pleased with. For now, Microsoft still allows customers to purchase Office licenses as you have in the past, with retail, volume, or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) versions where you pay a one-time fee and are delivered that specific version of Microsoft Office. Let’s give you a quick description of these.

Retail: Retail or FPP (Full Packaged Product) licenses are licenses that might come in single-user or multi-user licenses and will have a license key specifically for those exact amount of licenses. A three-user license may be installed on three different computers, as an example.

Volume: Volume licensing is slightly more expensive, but allows a single key to be used across installations and allows licenses to be easily moved from machine to machine. Licenses can be added as needed to a volume license agreement.

OEM: OEM licenses are preloaded versions of Office that are installed on computers for sale by the manufacturer. Companies like Dell and HP pre-install OEM versions of Office that are tied to the computer. These licenses are the cheapest of the bunch but also the most limiting as the license will die with the computer it is tied to it.

Any of these methods may be the right method for your business depending on your individual needs. Today, Microsoft Office licensing can also by purchased using Microsoft Office 365 plans. At its core it is a software-as-a-service model or subscription-based pricing. Your business is charged a monthly or annual fee for the license. While this may not be appealing to some of you reading this, let me explain the advantages. The licenses are user-based licenses and can be installed on up to five devices. For example, I have a work laptop, a backup PC, and a tablet. I am utilizing the same Office license on all three devices. This results in savings for my situation over the traditional licenses.

Another major benefit is the ability to upgrade to newer versions without requiring any repurchasing of licenses. When Microsoft released Office 2016 in the fall of 2015, I simply upgraded my Office 2013 software on each device to the new version as I was ready. Patches and fixes are also made available continually and without any additional costs, so your software stays up-to-date, secure, and productive for you. After all, they don’t call Microsoft Office a productivity suite for nothing.

There are many ways and places to buy Office 365 licenses. No matter where you go, the pricing is dictated by Microsoft and should be the same. We encourage you to purchase through a registered Microsoft Partner, like Colden Company, who understands the different licensing options as well as what options are available for your business needs. There are many different Office 365 packages that include Office licenses, hosted and secure email, and even more tools to help your business.

Did you know that under certain circumstances you can short-change your license period by renewing before your old license expires? We have helped several customers who thought they were saving money by trying to navigate the Office 365 environment themselves only to discover the landscape is complex. Save your time and your money by partnering with an expert like Colden Company who can guide you through the process.Contact us today at (888) 600-4560, email us, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Two-Year Countdown to End of Support for Windows XP and Office 2003

Posted on: April 13th, 2012 by billp | No Comments

Microsoft divides its support lifecycle into two phases: “Mainstream” and “Extended.” In the Mainstream phase, software receives free security updates, bug fixes, new or improved features, etc. In the Extended phase, only security updates are provided.

Windows XP and Office 2003 are currently in Extended support until April 8, 2014. After that date, they’ll cease receiving even security updates, leaving anyone still using that software vulnerable to viruses, malware, etc. that are designed to target remaining weaknesses.

Windows Vista and Office 2007 will be in Extended support from now until April 2017.

Upgrade Today: Two-Year Countdown to End of Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 (Windows for your Business Blog)

If you’re still running Windows XP or Office 2003, now is the time to start planning your upgrades. Windows 7 and Office 2010 are mature and reliable products that are ready to support your business needs. Or are you ready to take your business into the cloud with Office 365? Do you want to plan a migration to any of these products? If so, contact us for help at (888) 600-4560,, on Facebook, or on Twitter @coldenco.

Email: Into the Cloud!

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by jiml | No Comments

There has been a lot of discussion about cloud computing in recent years and major companies like Google and Microsoft are investing millions of dollars into competing for that space. At Colden Company Inc., we are often asked about the cloud and whether or not our clients should consider the move into a cloud environment. The answer to the question “is the cloud good for my business?” is, of course, “it depends”. It is important to review what line-of-business (LOB) applications that your business relies on and whether or not cloud options are available and an improvement over traditional on-premise applications. Obvious benefits to cloud solutions include improved business continuity, less upfront hardware expense, and fewer ongoing maintenance expenses, while downsides include reliance on a stable Internet connection for access to data and perhaps decreased performance of certain applications.

In general terms, we prefer our data files stored locally, but backed up to the cloud. This insures fastest access and the safety of having a backup in the cloud, protecting against a site-level disaster. We prefer our email in the cloud for reasons will we discuss shortly and we prefer to examine our LOB applications on a case-by-case basis. Let’s focus on email since we feel it is a great cloud application.

Cloud applications rely on Internet connectivity so having a solid connection is vital. In today’s mobile computing world, email comes not only to PCs and laptops but also to smart phones and tablets. These devices often use 3G or 4G connections which are really separate Internet connections than the office network, providing a layer of redundancy in case the office Internet goes down. Secondly, email is not an application that requires a 100% persistent connection and is not as large a bandwidth user as many LOB applications. These two points make email a natural fit for the cloud.

Many people think that cloud email will only offer a reduced feature set as was evidenced by Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access for many years. This is no longer the case. Microsoft Hosted Exchange, Office365, and Google Apps for Business offer fully functional and web-based feature sets compared to on-premise solutions. With both the Microsoft and Google offerings, you can even continue to seamlessly use your local Outlook client while realizing the benefits of the cloud. Reduced functionality is no longer a reason to stay out of the cloud.

Email is just so critical to business today that having the guaranteed up-time that many cloud services provide is a great way to ensure the reliability of this critical business tool. Google and Microsoft both commit to a Service Level Agreement (SLA) of greater than 99.9% for their business cloud offerings. Cloud email is secure and reliable, making it a great fit for such an important business tool.

Finally, no evaluation would be complete without considering costs. Studies have shown that cloud email has less up front cost and in many cases, lower long term costs for the business as a result of less maintenance and fewer lost hours in productivity. With a cloud-based solution for your email, expenses are stable and predictable – both very attractive traits to business owners.

Are you interested in hearing more about how your business can migrate its email to the cloud? Contact Colden Company Inc. at (888) 600-4560,, see us on Facebook or Twitter @coldenco.

Microsoft announces Office 365

Posted on: November 30th, 2010 by jiml | No Comments

Microsoft announces Office 365, a new service that brings familiar applications, including Office desktop software and Office Web Apps, together with SharePoint, Exchange and Lync in the cloud, for the first time.

In October 2010, Microsoft unveiled a new product offering called Office 365. While the Office 365 brand is new, the actual products behind it are not – Microsoft Office (the most popular productivity software in the world), Microsoft Exchange (email, calendar, contacts, collaboration, etc.), Microsoft SharePoint (web-based collaboration), and Microsoft Lync (instant messaging, conferencing, telephony, etc.). The most important distinction is that Office 365 is a cloud-based solution and offers options that are a good fit for businesses of all sizes. In Microsoft’s words, “Office 365 is more than a new brand. It’s a progressive approach to cloud applications,” said Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division. “We designed Office 365 to work for a business of one – or a business of one million and one.”

Office 365 is not the first time Microsoft has provided cloud-based productivity solutions. BPOS, Business Productivity Online Suite, which included Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, and Office Communications Online is Microsoft’s current cloud business productivity suite.  Office 365 will be Microsoft’s marquee cloud solution, updating the technologies in BPOS, Office Live Small Business, Live@edu (hosted email, calendar, and contacts for educational institutions), and Office Web Apps. The key difference in Office 365 is that Microsoft is consolidating these formerly disconnected services under a single brand and a single scaling pricing and licensing structure. From a customer’s standpoint, Microsoft is simplifying their menu of options while increasing the flexibility that customers have in choosing the package that is right for them.

Microsoft has been working to move their business productivity solutions into the cloud for years, all while dealing with rapid advancements in the cloud space by competitors such as Google (Google Apps) and IBM (LotusLive). Cloud solutions offer huge benefits to Microsoft and its competitors. Cloud solutions reduce the cost of producing software products because there is no physical product to manufacture, ship, sell, etc.. Cloud solutions improve the ability of a software developer to make incremental changes and improvements (particularly security patches) to their software without maintaining a costly infrastructure to deliver updates to locally-installed software products. And, of course, cloud solutions offer a source of recurring revenue to software companies because they now charge for software on a subscription basis.

The benefits of cloud solutions are not only for the manufacture; customer can reap huge rewards as well. With Office 365, Microsoft can provide their technology to customers on a more frequent basis, while customers save money at the same time – typically anywhere from 10-50% when considering licensing, administrative costs, etc. Today, the average mid-sized company only upgrades Office every six to seven years.  With Office 365, they can always be on the cusp of the next wave in productivity-boosting technology.

Consider a small sample of the benefits of cloud solutions.

  • Less in-house IT infrastructure reduces cost, complexity, and risk.
  • Reduced burden of tracking software licenses; you only pay for what you need, and all licenses are tracked based on your online purchase.
  • Lowered administrative burden of locally-installed software; you no longer need to worry about when or if you should upgrade Office to the next major version, how much the upgrade will cost, how much of an impact and downtime the upgrade will impose on your staff, whether or not you have all the latest security patches applied, etc.
  • Your data is protected, private, and secure at all times. Consider this: is your data more protected and secure on a server in the office with tape or disk backups, or in one of Microsoft’s geo-redundant industry-leading data centers at multiple locations across the globe?

Microsoft understands that customers want choices.  With Office 365, Microsoft offers a range of options from basic email for $2 per user per month to a complete enterprise solution for $27 per user per month that includes full Office Professional Plus desktop software, along with Office Web Apps; the most advanced versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online; 24×7 phone support; advanced IT administrative controls; and on-premises use rights for voice. Microsoft is not limiting customers’ choice by restricting higher-end options to a minimum license purchase; even sole proprietors can opt for the enterprise-level Office 365 and enjoy all its benefits.

Office 365 is currently in very limited beta. Microsoft Partners, such as Colden Company, are learning about the service and rapidly getting up to speed on behalf of their customers. When available, Colden Company can assist your business in migrating to Office 365 and administering it on an ongoing basis, allowing you to focus on your business and less on your technology. For more information, visit the Office 365 website or read the Office 365 press release.

If you’re interested in Office 365 or any other Microsoft technologies mentioned in this newsletter, Colden Company can help. Please contact us at 518-885-2857, toll-free at 888-600-4560, email to, or on Twitter for assistance with Microsoft or any of your business computing needs.