Microsoft Office 2016: what's new for businesses? Skype for Business, analytics and security features update

Microsoft launches Office 2016 off the back of Windows 10 with new collaborative apps and advanced conference calling, analytics and security features available through the top E5 enterprise tier


Now Microsoft Office 2016 has officially launched, ComputerworldUK takes you through the features your business needs.

Many businesses began on Microsoft’s suite of office apps. Since its first release in 1990, the product has adjusted to both workers' changing needs as well as the maturity of technology. Office 2016’s release combines the storage and collaboration benefits of the cloud with the business applications your employees are accustomed to.

Microsoft's sway 'story-telling' app
Microsoft's sway 'story-telling' app

Microsoft's dev team have worked to make the release, which follows Windows 10, “the most secure Office” so far. Enterprise Data Protection is available for Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 and for desktop apps early next year, allowing secure sharing within corporate boundaries.

More importantly, Microsoft has included a host of collaborative, intuitive features that could change the way projects are managed and your employees work together.

What's new in Office 2016?

Office 2016 has new versions of Office desktop apps for Windows, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Project, Visio and Access.

By subscribing to Office 365, customers have access to OneDrive online storage, Skype for Business, Delve and Yammer. The track for enterprise users has a 12 month testing window so IT pros can decide what features they'll be turning on - and off - once it has been tested in the wild.

Top features in Office 2016 that employees will love

Tell me

Excel functions can be difficult to grasp. Now you can ask your spreadsheets how to work themselves out through a search bar. Excel 2016 also includes integrated publishing to Power BI and new modern chart types to make data visualisation simpler.


Office Mobile apps on Windows 10 work with responsive Continuum so your employees can use their phone like a PC. During demos of Office 2016, ComputerworldUK noted that most demonstrators were using iPhones. This new suite recognises the fact that employees aren’t using Windows phones, and has adjusted the UI to ensure it works seamlessly across iOS phones and devices.


Microsoft pulls data from all of its apps so that you can get the full picture on how projects are progressing and how productive teams and individuals are being.

Power BI is now an integrated part of the Office 365 suite. The analytics dashboard visualises data from multiple data sources, including third parties like salesforce and Mail Chimp, and internal Microsoft data from Dynamics CRM and Office products like Excel.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about Delve analytics in November during his keynote at the Future Decoded conference in London. Delve shows how you spend your working week, allowing managers to monitor their personal and team efficiency.

Microsoft is also looking to simplify eDiscovery by adding machine learning, predictive coding and text analytics to help businesses sort through big data.

Skype for business

Microsoft rebranded it's Lync product to Skype for business, which facilitates instant messaging, video enabled conference calling and collaboration.

Towards the end of 2015 Microsoft announced changes to its Skype for business offering by adding real-time co-authorship of documents and broadcasts for up to 10,000 Skype end point users.

Also, as part of the premium E5 enterprise tier companies can integrate offline dialling with new PSTN (public switched telephone network) and PBX (private branch exchange) capabilities in the cloud.


Microsoft’s answer to Siri, Cortana, connects with Office 365 to help with tasks such as meeting preparation and quickly accessing key business information.

Easy share

Forget saving a document to a PC and then attaching it to an email - now employees can instant message while completing a document and send it over using OneDrive instantly. Microsoft have put Skype in-app integration across the Office online and rich client apps so employees can screen share, talk or video chat while editing a document - which now comes with instantaneous co-authoring which mimics Google docs.


Sales made easy. Instant annotation of documents allows you to quickly remove confidential information and send it to the appropriate person.

Intuitive email

Microsoft’s email algorithms detect more than just junk mail. Outlook has advanced to reading who is the main subject in an email, and who is simply CC’ed. This allows it to filter emails from those who are either more senior, or who you interact with more, freeing up your inbox for the most important messages.


Powerpoint has a place in every office - like it or not - but this new storytelling application allows teams working on projects to easily manipulate content from different sources and present and share it with ease.

And for the IT pros...

OneDrive for Business

IT pros will be glad to know that new updates for enterprise will be announced this month - including a new sync client for Windows and Mac, increased file size and volume limits per user, a new user interface in the browser, mobile enhancements, and new IT and developer features, Microsoft revealed today.


Microsoft announced additional built-in Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in December to reduce the risk of sensitive data leaks. IT admins have access to tools to centrally create, manage and enforce policies for content authoring and document sharing.

As well as data loss protection and encryption, the premium E5 Office tier brings Customer Lockbox, so that data can be securely held in the cloud with the relevant transparency and approval rights.

Email attachments are also in the crosshairs with Advanced Threat Protection, which “detonates” all attachments to check for malware and other invasive code. 

Multifactor Authentication ensures secure access to content anywhere when employees are away from the corporate network.

It’s also adding Information Rights Management to Visio.

Additionally Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) in Windows 10, with support in Office Mobile, secures corporate content sharing across corporate managed apps and network/cloud locations, preventing content inadvertently being shared outside corporate boundaries.

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