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In our previous article we explored the price increases that Microsoft has planned for 2022. In this article we will explore the tools that you are using now alongside the Microsoft alternatives that will help you get full value from your subscription regardless of the increase in price.

Microsoft Tools and their counterparts

Spreadsheets

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors Suite offered by Google. Its popularity is growing, and its functionality is very good.

Microsoft Excel

We have all heard of Excel. Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android. Excel is very similar to Google Sheets apart from two key details:  it has macro programming language as standard, and it will integrate with other tools in the Microsoft suite. If you are using large amounts of data and doing in-depth analyses in house it is highly recommended.

Cloud storage

DropBox

DropBox is one the most popular Cloud storage systems available today. It is very simple to use and lets users store files without too much additional learning being required. The problem is it is not designed for business use and is not as secure as others. Also, it can be very difficult to implement access permissions on. This – alongside the fact that it isn’t cheap – makes it a bad choice (in our opinion).

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive offers one place to store, share, and sync your work files. OneDrive allows you to authorize access to files and data, meaning you can work on them simultaneously with other members of your team. Not only this, but it also allows you to access your files from any internet connected device (be it a computer, laptop, or phone).

Task management

Trello

Trello is a simple app. It offers a place to organize your day (which can be done from a smartphone, tablet, or computer).

Microsoft To do

Microsoft To Do is a Cloud-based task management app. You and your team can manage their tasks from a smartphone, tablet, or computer. To Do and Trello are both rated highly, so if you already have a Microsoft subscription and aim to get more value from it then To do will be your best option.

Automation

Automation 360 and Blue Prism

Automation 360 is an AI-powered, cloud-native, web-based platform. It provides you with the capabilities to start and scale your automation.

Microsoft Power Automate

Power Automate lets you create automated workflows between your favourite apps and services to enable you to synchronize files, get notifications, and collect data, allowing you to make decisions that are best for your business. Power Automate integrates with other tools in the Microsoft suite, meaning that your work is all inter-connected, in turn enabling you to make them complement one another.

Cloud storage and collaboration

Google G Suite

The Google G Suite includes tools like Hangouts, Calendar, and Docs/Sheets, and encourages you to work with members of your team in different locations. However, it does, unfortunately, lack in security features, so if you handle particularly sensitive information this app is not the one for your organization.

Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint can be used as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. This can all be done on a web browser (such as Edge, Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox). Again, it works in conjunction with all other Microsoft applications therefore allowing your workflow to run smoothly.

Document creation

Zoho

Zoho is a word processor that allows you to type out documents and save them for later use. It comes with a variety of different fonts and styles to assist you in writing effectively and is very similar to the world-renowned Microsoft Word.

Microsoft – Word

Microsoft Word is a word processing program that users utilize for typing out documents. It allows you to create and save them and, like other word processors, it has helpful tools to create documents (such as different fonts and styles, writing formats, and editing and review tools). Word is one of Microsoft’s tools that we are all familiar with, as most of us already use it every day or at the very least have in the past, so your team will probably need very little training to work on it effectively.

Collaboration

Slack

Slack is messaging software designed to create good level collaboration among users in the office and those working remotely. Its capabilities include instant messaging and the coordination of tasks.

Microsoft – Kaizala

Microsoft Kaizala – one that you most probably aren’t familiar with – is still a good tool. It isn’t too dissimilar to Slack, but it can be used in conjunction with other tools in the Microsoft Suite.

Connectivity/Telephony

Zoom or Skype

Zoom and Skype – we have put these together because they are so very similar and are both very popular choices on the market – for home use there aren’t many better options out there. We have all become familiar with them throughout the pandemic, and to some they were the only link between family and friends over the last year, so understandably they hold a place in many users’ hearts. But, in reality, they are not capable of performing at the levels needed for business use.

Microsoft Teams

This is the newest and – in our opinion – one of the greatest additions to Microsoft’s suite of tools. Teams features allow your organization to boost the levels of collaboration, communication, and productivity that your team are able to achieve. Popularity doesn’t necessarily mean quality but, with a daily active user average of over 250 million people worldwide in over 181 countries, there must be something to be said for its capabilities.

These two articles have, hopefully, highlighted the fact that there is a Microsoft alternative to practically every app that you have in your business. Implementing them will ease the annoyance of the price increase and ensure you are getting full value and benefit from your subscription and the tools you have at your disposal.

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