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Office 365 ProPlus – Why Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough Anymore

Many Microsoft customers feel that Office 2010 and Windows 7 are “good enough”, but that’s simply not true anymore. Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus introduces capabilities that are impossible to perform on those older systems.

We recently sat down with David Branscome, Microsoft Partner Technical Architect, for an AgileIT Tech Talk discussing Office 365 enterprise licensing as well as some of the distinguishing features of Office ProPlus. Below is a summary of that discussion outlining just a few of the great features of ProPlus.

The Short Story

Windows 7 will reach the end of its support on January 14, 2020, while Office 2020 reaches the end of its support on October 13, 2020. That means that after October of next year, you won’t be able to receive security updates for Office 2010. With Windows 7, you’ll be able to get an extended support package, but there will be significant costs associated with it. If there are vulnerabilities discovered in Office 2010 after next year, the odds are high it won’t get fixed. That’s why the switch to Microsoft ProPlus is urgent.

So what’s the next step?

What Do You Need to Do?

The recommended path is to move to Office 365 ProPlus. One alternative is to upgrade to Office 2019, but this is more of a fallback option. These are two separate packages. They have similar functionalities in many ways, with the same core products included in the two suites. But there are significant differences as well.

Can’t I Just Upgrade to Office 2019?

You can just upgrade to Office 2019.

But, there’s a catch.

With Office 2019, you have a static set of features. From a licensing standpoint, you’re limited to one PC to use the product.

With ProPlus, you have many more capabilities. Here are some of the added benefits:

  • You’re always up to date. Every time you start ProPlus, the system will check for updates to ensure you have the most current code, features, and security updates. IT admins don’t have to worry about rolling out these updates to their end-users. However, if you’re in an organization that requires a manual rollout, you have the option to do that as well.
  • Realtime collaboration. 
  • Exclusive security.
  • It works for mobile devices, PC, Mac, and through the web.
  • Many of the features are infused with AI-powered creativity (more on some of those below).
  • It also has the capability to provide data-to-AI-based insights.

But how do you make the transition from your current system to ProPlus?

How Do You Get There?

Transitioning systems can often be difficult, but not with ProPlus. Microsoft has provided multiple tools meant to make the transfer seamless. These include:

  • An Office Readiness Toolkit. This will assess your system’s compatibility with ProPlus.
  • Windows Analytics. This will help you get started while measuring your current compliance as well as the overall health of your device.
  • Desktop App Assure service from FastTrack. If you’re having issues with any applications, FastTrack takes a closer look to examine the problem. It works with you to make sure those applications can be moved over and that they’ll work correctly.

Is Office 2010 Good Enough?

ProPlus features multiple capabilities that you cannot perform on Windows 7 or Office 2010 that really make it stand out as a better option.

Excel

Let’s say you’re on a train and have been handed a set of documents. You don’t have your laptop, just your phone. On this document, there’s a table that needs to be inserted into an Excel spreadsheet. With ProPlus, you can do this with your mobile device. Excel provides users with the ability to input tables via pictures.

You can activate the camera on your phone from Excel and take a picture of the existing table. Excel will determine the boundaries of the table, convert the data, and create a new table in Excel.

Excel also gives you the ability to use AI to make the data within your spreadsheets even stronger and more comprehensive. As an example, imagine you have a spreadsheet listing the top 30 media markets in the U.S. You may want more information about them to see how you can better market to those areas.

To find out more information, simply highlight the column where the cities are listed. You can then go to the “data” tab and convert it to “geography.” This will connect the app to Bing, which in turn provides information about different states. You can then add additional data about each state (i.e. state capital, median household income, number of people in the civilian labor force, etc.) and add them as their own distinct columns.

Features like this make the Excel app in ProPlus much more valuable.

Whiteboard

Whiteboard is a great collaborative app. For another example, say you were at a meeting in which there was a whiteboarding session. Often, people will take a picture of the whiteboard and email it to the other meeting attendees. That serves as the meeting’s sole source of documentation.

With ProPlus, you can do better.

Whiteboard, an app available in Windows 10, allows you to take a picture of your whiteboarding session and add it to the app. It will convert the image into an editable picture. You can then send it to OneNote or post it in Teams, giving others the ability to edit or view. It also has the ability to make rough drawings of shapes like circles and squares look cleaner.

PowerPoint

Microsoft Office ProPlus

It’s common for organizations to have PowerPoint slide decks with their distinctive branding built-in. ProPlus allows you to capture this while tweaking the design of your overall slide deck with a feature called “design ideas.” It gives you the option to view different designs for your slide while maintaining the established branding. You can look at different perspectives to determine which one fits best with your brand.

In this version of PowerPoint, you can also use AI to enhance the slides based on your text. It allows you to look through the words you’ve listed and creates recommendations for images to insert into the presentation. This makes it much more visually compelling to look at than just standard text.

If you have slides with dates, it may involve a timeline. With ProPlus, it can turn dates into an actual timeline within the presentation that makes it clear how events will progress. AI will then tell you what’s going to happen on the days it’s scheduled to happen.

With ProPlus, you have the ability to add captions in various subtitle languages. It can also translate your presentation as you move through it. Your organization may have a functional need for this. Accessibility requirements in some sectors see to it that subtitles are turned on for the language in which the presenter is speaking.

You also have the capability to insert 3-D models into your presentation. If you have a 3-D model from an online source, either animated or stationary, you’re able to insert those into your slides. If you have a product people will need to see from different perspectives, you can create your own 3-D model using the Windows 3-D modeler, then insert them into your presentation. You can change the perspective within the model itself or change it so that the model itself can move.

Word

Word also features the ability to insert 3-D models into your documents. This version of Word also lets you translate and insert the translations into your presentation.

One other component not featured in previous versions of Word? The “Focus” feature. If you select “View”, then select “Focus”, you’re given a view of nothing but the text, clearing all other features, elements, and components in Word. This allows you to zero in on the document itself without external distractions.

ProPlus also allows you to turn Word documents into web pages. To do so, just select “File”, select “Transform”, then select “Sway”. This will convert the document into its own Microsoft Sway you can then manage in your Office 365 account.

Clipboard

ProPlus has the capability to copy multiple items on your clipboard you can then paste as opposed to a single item.

Summary

Take advantage of ProPlus. The features discussed above simply scratch the surface of what this system can help you do. There are many more features that help distinguish it as a significant upgrade over Windows 7 and Office 2010. ProPlus uses AI to enhance your user experience, but it uses it simply, in ways that are easy to navigate and understand.

About Agile IT Tech Talks

Agile IT Tech Talks are weekly sessions where we bring in subject matter experts for short, highly focused educational segments, followed by up to an hour of open Q&A where Agile IT clients can discuss their own environments with our engineers and a group of peers. While we release the demos and sessions on our blog, the Q&A benefit is only available to Agile IT Managed Service and Cloud Service Customers. Agile IT is a four-time cloud partner of the year and offers fully managed security as a service. To find out more, schedule a free call with a cloud service advisor or contact us today.

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