10 Office 365 Features You Aren't Using: #1 - Planner

If you have Office 365 you are probably using the service for e-mail, maybe a little Onedrive for your personal documents and for sharing with outside participants, and maybe you even use Skype for Business for some light instant messaging within the office - But chances are you haven't been racing to use the new features Microsoft seems to be adding on a monthly basis.   Trust me when I say, Office 365 is like an Easter egg hunt - Look hard enough and you'll find another sweet little morsel!

We recognize the reality that not all clients we encounter need all of the features within Office 365, but we find more often than not that most businesses haven't adopted them for one of two reasons:  1. They didn't know they ever existed, or 2. No one ever took the time to show the value of the tools by demoing the functionality for them. 

With our client-base we have found that when we bring to light new technology features - whether it be Office 365 or any other technology - as long as it solves a specific business need or improves process, product delivery, or overall collaboration, it is worth the effort.  We ask the questions for you:  What benefit does this feature have for our existing clients and potential prospects?  How will this feature help our clients deliver better products and/or services to their clients or customers? 

So whose responsibility is it to bring new technologies to light for you and help you leverage what makes sense?  We believe it is your technology provider's responsibility to do so, and that's what we do for our clients!  If your current provider hasn't brought any of this to you yet, we should talk.  We would love to become your own personal productive technology Easter bunny…

All kidding aside, in this series we wanted to share with you some common use-cases for Office 365 tools that, chances are, you are already paying for.  The first tool on the list is Office 365 Planner:

Planner was added to Office 365 back in June, 2016.  It's been around a while.  The overall purpose with Planner is project or task management.  The beauty of Planner is the fact that you can use it for yourself, or for groups of people within your company to organize a project or set of tasks, assign to team members, then track the progress to completion.  To do this you can create "cards" for each task, assign them in groups of tasks if desired, label them using colors for easy viewing, create boards for each category of tasks, and track everything with simple charts.  Within each card you can attach files, enter notes, have separate checklists for larger tasks, etc. 

Planner is social.  When you add a new Plan, you are given the option to make it public to your entire company, or to allow only users that you add yourself.  You also have the option to subscribe the invited members to alerts and reminders related to Planner, which can help everyone stay on task and ensure your project will be completed on time.  With some basic 3rd party extensions you can also create Planner templates if you have common projects.

The beauty of Microsoft Planner (and all of the Office 365 tools) is that it is built on the Office 365 platform, which means only one login to access your tools, and integration with your calendar, e-mail, contacts and many other aspect of Office 365 that you are already using is there by default.  With Planner being available across the majority of Office 365 license plans, it's a no-brainer to at least give it a try.

Compatible Licenses

Office 365 Business Essentials

Office 365 Business Premium

Office 365 Enterprise (E1, E3, E4 and E5)

Office 365 Education (E1, E3, E4 and E5)



InsITe helps businesses and manufacturing companies get the most out of current and emerging technologies with a customized IT approach to maximize growth, efficiency, insights, and productivity. InsITe is not a typical IT company selling products for short-term, short-sighted fixes. We invest in long-term solutions for a company’s growth by taking the time to learn its products, process, and business goals before bringing tech into the conversation. In this way, we become much like our Clients’ very own internal IT department with familiar faces who understand the business. 

If you have any questions about this post please leave a comment. We read and respond to all comments. Or better yet, give us a call and ask to talk directly to our Founder and CEO Mike Schipper 616-383-9000. 

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