Microsoft logo in front of building
While none of the releases are groundbreaking, the goal is to aid personal productivity PHOTO: Robert Scoble

Microsoft is not resting on its laurels despite the success of Office 365 in the face of competitors like G Suite. 

Consider the figures. G Suite claims 3.5 million paid businesses, according to Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky, while Microsoft says it has more than 100 million. 

"But some of those [Office 365 users] could be companies that only use email,” he told CMSWire, adding the number of educators who also use Office 365 could easily counterbalance anyone falling in that category. 

In any case, the Redmond, Wash.-based computing giant is releasing new features and tools at a rate that surpasses many startups — and some of them are not only useful, but cool.

Make Me Look Smarter

Consider that Outlook now leverages Microsoft Graph to provide better suggestions and even photos of the individuals to whom you are addressing emails. And the Outlook iOS app now not only shows more of your discussion, but also makes it simple for you to pick up conversations from where you left off. 

Outlook iOS
Outlook iOS

Like many recent updates, these aren't game-changing, but they will improve your productivity — which is the whole point.

Microsoft also added a Read Aloud tool to the Review tab in Office 365. Designed as a learning tool and an aid for those with dyslexia, it might also be helpful when proofreading your own work, to hear redundancies you might otherwise not notice.

Remove Hassles

Microsoft StaffHub, which is used mostly by first line workers (those who are the primary points of contact between workers and customers), now allows you to assign, manage and complete tasks from co-workers and managers.

Microsoft StaffHub
Microsoft StaffHub

Users who spend time in PowerPoint might appreciate its new timeline tool which digs through your presentation slides and times, dates and topics to effortlessly create timelines. By providing a set of dates and choosing Design Ideas from the Design tab, it quickly generates a clean and attractive timeline.

Give Me Shiny and New

And finally for anyone who wants to upgrade their Microsoft Surface, Surface Pro or even Surface Hub as often (maybe even more often) as they do their phones, provided you keep them in good condition, Microsoft now offers a plan that lets you switch them out every 12 to 18 months.

The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum  

Lepofsky told CMSWire that "All of these additions are in line with Microsoft's theme of reinventing personal productivity. Microsoft is extremely focused on providing tweaks and enhancements via automation that improves the way people create and share content."

It's worth noting that a steady stream of updates can potentially be hard to manage. Earlier this year CMSWire contributor James Robertson offered some tips on how to manage a flood of new features.