Microsoft 365 – what is it? 

Microsoft 365 is a Software-as-a-service model from Microsoft. Your organisation or business will get each emplouee a license and depending on the type of license purchased, different combinations of the Microsoft Application ecosystem are available. 

Depending on the Business package you go for you will also get access to many online applications – some of which also have desktop versions.

Included in all the packages are online versions of Microsoft Office Applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. For some of the business packages, online Hosted Exchange is included where you can point your domain to Microsoft and have your email delivered this way, using Outlook both online and on Desktop.

A list of applications included in Microsoft 365:

Admin – if you are the administrator, you will see this – use it to manage how Microsoft 365 and related apps work.

Bookings – Your online booking calendar allowing people outside of your organisation to book appointments directly into your calendar. Set up once and you are good to go.

Calendar – this is your Microsoft 365 Outlook Calendar

Compliance – depending on your license this may be present or may not

Delve – Personal insights across the organisation

Engage – Connect with co-workers and share information, organise around projects

Excel – The spreadsheet program

Forms – create online forms and quizzes for gathering feedback or collating information

Insights – Improve productivity and wellbeing with Microsoft Viva Insights – information about how much time you are spending on different tasks

Kaizala – a simple and secure mobile chat app for work

Learning – Viva Learning can become an in house learning portal

Lists – use Microsoft Lists to keep track of all kinds of things from Asset Management to organising an event to the schedule for next year’s marketing

Loop – Online workspace made up of dynamic elements that can be shared in different ways and updated in real time by different people

OneDrive – personal online storage – store files, images and more here safely

OneNote – Digital notebook

Outlook – Email, schedule and create tasks and events

People – Manage your contacts

Planner – Create plans and assign and share tasks and files

Power Apps – Build mobile and web apps with the data your organisation alraedy uses

Power Automate – Sync files and more to simplify your work

Power Pages – use Co-Pilot to create secure low code business websites with ease

PowerPoint – create stunning and engaging presentations

Project – Develop project plans, assign tasks, track progress and manage budgets

Security – look after your tenant

SharePoint – Share and manage content knowledge and applications and encourage teamwork

Stream – Share videos , recordings of meetings and presentations and training sessions

Sway – Create interactive reports and presentations

Teams – Meet share chat and collaborate

To Do – list and manage your tasks

Visio – Simplify and communicate complex information visually

Viva – explore Viva apps that improve theway you work

Whiteboard – Collaborate on a freeform canvas designated for touch, pen and keyboard

Word – Create documents, share and make real time edits.

A screenshot of the Microsoft 365 dashboard.

Remember it will depend on which business license you choose as to what you see. I have taken this screen shot from my own Microsoft 365 list of applications – I have an Office 365 E3 license.

How many variations are there?

There are four main flavours of Microsoft 365 for Businesses. There are more still for large organisations however the scope of this post is for businesses with up to 300 employees. 

Microsoft 365 Business Basic 

This is an online-only license model.  Get access to secure cloud services and use the applications in the browser. You get a hosted Exchange for your email which you can set up as your own domain and online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook along with Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint. 

Each license comes with 1TB of personal online storage in OneDrive and the ability to have SharePoint sites for shared news and company documents. 

Microsoft 365 Business Standard 

This is the most popular plan if you want to have desktop versions of the Microsoft Applications. It contains desktop web and mobile versions of all the main applications and a desktop version of Publisher and Access both of the latter for PC only.  

Connect your domain and get professional email services including the desktop version of Outlook.  

Microsoft 365 Business Premium 

This version includes everything in the Business Standard plus Advanced Security with Azure Information Protection and Access and Data Control and Cyberthreat detection with Microsoft Intune. 

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business  

This license version includes Desktop web and mobile apps and OneDrive along with Publisher and Access (the latter for PC only). This version comes without any email hosting. You can use Outlook for other email providers but it will not be hosted with Microsoft. You also do not get access to SharePoint with this license model. 

Which Microsoft 365 license is right for you? 

Now that is a very good question to ask. When you are running a business there are so many variables and so many options that sometimes it is difficult to work out what to do. 

It will depend on the size of your business/company/organisation. How many licenses you need, where your people are based and whether they will need access to everything online or if they’ll just need desktop versions.

I always recommend talking to a recommended IT Support company that will not only be able to advise you on which license to get but will also be able to set it all up for you as well. 

My preferred option is the Microsoft Business Standard as it has everything you are likely to need. However, if you are hosting your email elsewhere and have no need for those services the Microsoft 365 Apps for Business might be the one for you.  

Get in touch if you would like a recommendation for an IT Support company as I have a few to recommend.  

To learn more and to purchase Microsoft 365 visit this page from Microsoft – Microsoft 365 Business.

Who is Shelley Fishel?

Shelley Fishel - The MS Office Maestro

Known as The MS Office Maestro – Shelley is the founder of Tomorrow’s VA and the MS Office Maestro site. Specialising in the delivery of Microsoft Applications training Shelley is in demand to provide Virtual Live Training or to speak at online events.

You can also find her self paced courses at and in particular her Essential Office for The Savvy Assistant package which is a comprehensive online learning package for all things Microsoft.

I find Shelley’s training easy to follow and the very best thing is that you can do it all at your own pace and revisit modules if it doesn’t quite sink in the first time round! I have learned so much from her training and continue to do so! She is responsive to my questions and I learn something new with each module. I find Iam hardly ever having to Google or YouTube information now, so it really is saving me time in my work day. Time that can be better used by learning more about the business I operate in!
Thanks Shelley!

Tracey Whitehouse – Executive Assistant

I have been following Shelley on Linkedin for several years, and always loved her hints and tips. In May of this year, I had the opportunity to recommend Shelley as one of our workshop speakers at the annual HMC Heads’ PA Conference in Sheffield.

On receiving the brief Shelley quickly produced content for two IT Microsoft Skills Workshops covering nuggets from Outlook, Word and Excel. Shelley then delivered (virtually) these two fantastic workshops to over 60 PAs at our conference.

From initial enquiry to delivery Shelley is the consummate professional and it was my pleasure to have had the opportunity to engage with her.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Shelley to any individual or group.

Michaela Fletcher – Heads PA

Shelley is THE guru on all things Microsoft.

I love Outlook, use it every day, and think I have a pretty good understanding of it. But every time I attend one of her sessions I learn a lot more. Her knowledge is remarkable. And she delivers her knowledge in a really clear, engaging way.

Thanks Shelley

Kathy Soulsby

I have just spent less than an hour at one of Shelley’s presentations and my mind is truly blown! I thought I was fairly proficient in Outlook, but I had no idea it could do so much more! So many time saving tips and shortcuts to help me – I can’t wait to get stuck in and implement them all! Thank you Shelley – I would highly recommend!

Hayley Rose – Executive Assistant -Dalcour Maclaren

Shelley joined us for the annual HMC Heads’ PAs conference in May 2023, where she delivered two hands-on practical IT skills workshops for over 60 PAs in attendance. Both sessions were warmly received by all participants, and from a personal perspective it was an absolute pleasure for me to work with Shelley both offline in the extensive prep phase ahead of the sessions, and online during the day itself – sharp in subject knowledge, flexible in content delivery and everything executed with a really affable manner and “can-do” approach throughout. I would recommend her services wholeheartedly.

Gareth Johnson – Leader GRE Education

Heads PA Conference

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn. It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney