Microsoft 365 is the name for Microsoft’s most popular suite of products and services, which include the tenured apps, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as a number of other applications which, altogether, fulfil most of the essential requirements the average organisation has for day-to-day functionality. Recently, Microsoft announced that they were re-branding the app and portal – which until now has been known as the Office hub – as the Microsoft 365 hub.
There is some significant history behind both the Office brand and the Microsoft 365 brand – and it appears now that Microsoft are looking to consolidate their branding. We discussed this with TechQuarters, a Microsoft Partner based in London, who has been working with the tech giant for over a decade – in fact, the managed IT services London businesses receive from TechQuarters are closely interlinked with the Microsoft Cloud. When we asked TechQuarters, they went into the history of Office and Microsoft 365, as well as what the new Microsoft 365 hub will mean for companies, and what new features it will have.
History of Office / Microsoft 365
Microsoft Office is one of the most well-known, and well-trusted product suites in the tech world. It has been so ubiquitous for the last three decades that some of the apps included in it are considered to be the de facto example for their program type – for example, Excel is the standard spreadsheet program across most industries, and the same can be said for Microsoft Word.
Around eleven years ago (June, 2011) Microsoft launched Office 365 – a new way for individuals and organisations to access the Office apps. According to TechQuarters, this was one of the earlier examples of consumer Software as a Service (SaaS), where users paid a nominal monthly fee to access software, rather than having to pay a larger upfront fee to own the software.
The New Microsoft 365 Hub
Office 365 has grown and evolved significantly over the years, into a multi-platform solution that receives rolling updates, and offers unbeatable flexibility. As an Office 365 consultant for many years, TechQuarters has seen the suite’s development over the years. Just a few years ago, in 2020, Microsoft changed the branding for their Office 365 for Business plans, so that they were now known as Microsoft 365 for Business. However, the Office 365 brand remained the same for certain plans aimed at larger enterprises. Furthermore, even in the Microsoft 365 for Business plans, the online portal through which users would access their files and applications was still known as the Office hub.
Now, however, it seems like Microsoft are looking to fully commit to the Microsoft 365 branding, as they are replacing the Office online portal with the new Microsoft 365 Hub for both web and desktop.
New Microsoft 365 Features
So, the new Microsoft 365 Hub will contain all the features that users are familiar with from the Office portal and app – such as the ability to create new documents, view a list of recently accessed documents, and view and access both local and cloud content. However, the new Microsoft 365 Hub will also have the following features…
- New Feed – A new feed that features a card-based list format will enable users to view trending content, shared content and more, in a straightforward format.
- Apps Module – Traditionally, users would have to click on the app they wanted to use from a side-menu in the Office portal, and if they were using a desktop, selecting an app would mean the application would open in its own interface. With the Microsoft 365 Hub, however, all the Office apps will be accessible from a single interface – meaning users will be able to easily switch between Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more, without having to deal with multiple windows.
- Tagging – For years, Microsoft have been working on their enterprise search capability for Microsoft 365. With tagging, users can take advantage of enterprise search to make it even easier to organise and search for content across multiple locations. When a file is tagged, the user just needs to search for the tag in the Microsoft 365 Hub and, no matter where the file is stored, it will show up in the results.