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3 Lesser-Known (but Powerful) Apps in Microsoft 365

Many businesses subscribe to Microsoft’s cloud-based office suite, Microsoft 365, because it’s the best way to keep up to date with some core Microsoft apps, like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Chances are, your company does, too. But what you may not know is that Microsoft is trying to kill the password and it has been steadily adding new apps to Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365, and just Office Professional before that) for going on a decade now. In fact, it’s added so many new tools so quickly, that many businesses don’t use more than half of them. To be fair, not every app is as essential or robust as Word or Outlook. Still, quite a few of the lesser-known Microsoft 365 apps are worth a closer look. Many of them can improve efficiency, collaboration, and quality of life for a wide range of businesses. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be covering 10 of these lesser-known yet still incredibly powerful apps tucked away in Microsoft 365. We’ll start today with just three: Bookings, Whiteboard, and Planner.

Bookings – for Automatic Appointment Scheduling (Internal and External)

Bookings is a powerful appointment scheduling app built into Microsoft 365, which means it offers integration into other Microsoft calendars, such as your Outlook calendar. Now, you can already schedule meetings in other apps, like Outlook or Teams. But what makes Bookings different is its universality. Use Bookings to schedule appointments with clients, contacts, customers, teams—anyone, really. It works with people both inside and outside your organization, and it’s perfect for when you want to let the other person set the time. Your client or customer can set the schedule, which syncs up with your existing calendar and doesn’t offer any conflicting times. Then, when the other person selects a time, the meeting automatically loads into your and their calendars.

Whiteboard – For Simple Digital Brainstorming and Collaboration

Whiteboard is a simple digital brainstorming tool within Microsoft Teams and 365 that allows individuals and teams to share ideas with each other in real time. Whiteboard works well with mobile devices as well as PCs and is at its best when using a stylus for sketching. Whiteboard can automatically recognize and convert shapes and tables, and all users with access can add their own sticky notes and drawings, and even pasted web content (text and images!). Of course, there are other apps out there offering collaborative whiteboard functionality. But none offer the level of integration that Microsoft Whiteboard does. You can import Whiteboards into a wide range of Microsoft 365 products. For example, you can set up live whiteboards within a channel on Microsoft Teams, share Whiteboards over OneDrive, and so forth.

Planner – For Microsoft-Integrated Nimble Project Management and Planning

Microsoft offers a few project management tools, including Microsoft Project for full-powered, highly complex project management and scheduling. And in recent years, several much more nimble competitors have emerged, like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. These offer a lightweight and much less burdensome experience, but they’re also light on features and don’t integrate with Microsoft 365 (at least not all that effectively). Planner is Microsoft’s answer to these lighter and more nimble project planning tools. It’s much easier to use than Project, and it also integrates with the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite, allowing for direct file sharing and native calendar support. For more on these or other apps within Microsoft 365, or to see how a properly configured Microsoft 365 deployment could benefit your business, Blue Ridge Technology is here to help. Reach out today to find out more!