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3 Productivity and Security Tools that Make Office 365 Even Better

4 minute read

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Lately, Microsoft has opened up their business in a significant way, with a more flexible and collaborative approach than ever before. This means that third-party developers have been able to create tools that extend the capabilities of Office 365.

With these tools, IT can provide better service to their end users, leveraging Office 365 as a platform rather than a static suite of applications provided by Microsoft.

Today we’re exploring three tools we’ve discovered that enhance the value of Office 365 for business. By integrating with the core functionality of Office 365, these tools improve common processes for many types of users, from sales managers to IT admins.

1. Track Contacts and Details Inside Outlook With Insightly

What does it do?

Insightly is a CRM that goes beyond simple contact management (although it does that well, too) with features like an Outlook email app, project management tools, sales tracking, and detailed reporting. There are also additional customization opportunities with other services; for example, you can integrate Insightly and Quickbooks Online to view customer payment history and status directly from your CRM. The CRM itself is browser-based, and you can install an Office 365 component that integrates with Outlook.

For busy business owners and sales professionals, Insightly can save time by being the one spot where all details about contacts and communications are stored. There are multiple types of plans with a variety of feature sets to serve different sizes and needs of businesses. You can create an Insightly account from their site and install the app for Outlook from the Office Store.

How does it work with Office 365?

Insightly’s web-based CRM integrates with Office 365 email via an app for Outlook 2013 or 2016. From Outlook emails, you’ll save contact details and message history, which become indexed and searchable inside the CRM. The process is intuitive as you go back and forth between your email and the CRM: click to save an Outlook contact, go to Insightly to add notes or log tasks, then go back to your email or next task.

How to Save a Contact and Email History in Insightly:

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2. Monitor and Manage Office 365 Tenant Performance With BetterCloud

What does it do?

With a management and security tool that provides monitoring, auditing, reporting, and automation services across an Office 365 tenant, BetterCloud used to be Google-centric. Now, a version has been released that works with Office 365 to provide those same features. BetterCloud surfaces relevant details and insights so you can manage your Office 365 tenant with more information at your disposal.

The product is in public beta at the moment, so now is a good time to try BetterCloud for free and get a sneak peek of what will appear in the production version. In the beta version, you’ll be able to monitor customizable alerts in the categories of directory, collaboration, email, and licenses. BetterCloud is ideal for IT admins across all industries, and it covers hybrid configurations as well as tenants that are 100% in the cloud.

How does it work with Office 365?

Global admin privileges are required to install the application on a tenant. BetterCloud connects with Office 365 data through a browser-based application, so the setup is quick.

BetterCloud’s front page is the Domain Health and Insight Center, which provides a high-level snapshot of domain health; you can see in the image above that the domain health is represented as poor with a red bar across the top! (Note: This is a test Office 365 tenant, so I have multiple users with global admin permissions and users not in security groups.)

Each section includes alerts that can be clicked into for details, and a settings page allows the admin to modify alerts. Since this tool is still in beta, some alerts aren’t “actionable” (i.e. you can’t take the action of assigning a license after you receive the alert that you have available unassigned licenses) but those features may come in later releases. BetterCloud was included in Microsoft’s announcement about the Office 365 Management API, so we’d expect more feature updates around that as well.

How to Modify an Alert in BetterCloud for Office 365:

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3. Get Signatures Quickly and Securely With DocuSign

What does it do?

DocuSign is familiar to many as an eSignature tool, a platform for legally binding and secure signatures in an all-digital format. It’s used by both individuals and businesses, and can save a lot of time (not to mention paper!). When documents are sent out to be signed, many layers of authentication are put in place to ensure the security of the doc. With the partnership between Microsoft and DocuSign in place, Office 365 customers are able to take advantage of the eSignature and Digital Transaction Management (DTM) solutions that are offered. It’s a great tool for any business that uses Office 365 and deals with documents such as NDAs, sales contracts, registration forms, and beyond.

How does it work with Office 365?

DocuSign has a free app for Office 365 that integrates with SharePoint, allowing users to send out documents for signature directly from the ribbon in a SharePoint or OneDrive for Business library.

There’s also a convenient status page where document statuses are reported and automatically updated, so you can keep track of what you’ve sent out. Once a document is signed, a PDF will be stored in a DocuSign folder within the originating document library.

How to Request an eSignature in Office 365 With DocuSign:

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