Introducing Microsoft 365 as groupware! Features and recommended plans

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An increasing number of companies are using groupware to share information within the company and assist communication during telework.

Cybozu and desknet’s are famous for groupware, but did you know that Microsoft 365 can actually be used as groupware?

Comparing the functions of each company’s groupware, you can see that Microsoft 365 is a very cost-effective service that is comparable to other services and also comes with Office apps.

Even if you have never used groupware before, if you switch to Microsoft 365 at the same time as purchasing a new Office license, you can get Office and groupware at the same time.

We also introduce Microsoft 365 plans that are recommended for use as groupware, so please refer to them.

Main functions of groupware


Groupware is a general term for tools that activate communication within a company and promote operational efficiency and productivity.

Rather than specific functions or services, it refers to tools for internal information sharing and communication, or packages that are a set of these tools.

In this chapter, we will introduce some typical functions that are commonly associated with the word “groupware”.

In particular, recently, attention has been focused on online communication assuming telework and information sharing in the cloud.

Schedule management/sharing

A calendar for sharing schedules among employees.

A feature of groupware is that you can not only manage your own schedule, but also check other employees’ schedules and make bookings.

When you hold a meeting, you can check the free time of all participants and create a schedule, so you can schedule efficiently without having to check the schedule by communicating with each person. .

group chat

Business chat is attracting attention as a communication tool between employees working in remote locations.

In particular, group chat, where multiple people can talk, makes it easy to post even light topics that are not worth emailing, and can be expected to have the effect of lowering the communication hurdles.

Some business chat tools allow you to set up organizational groups such as your department, which can be used as a place for daily task management and reporting.

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Web conferencing

Due to the influence of the new coronavirus, it has become a daily routine to hold regular internal meetings and business negotiations with business partners via web conferences.

Various web conferencing tools have appeared, but the advantage of using the web conferencing tool that comes with groupware is that it has a full range of functions that support web conferencing between employees.

Normally, when conducting a web conference, it takes time to issue a URL in advance and send an invitation by email.

With groupware web conferencing tools, users within the company can start meetings immediately without the need for troublesome preparations, and they can be scheduled in conjunction with calendar tools, greatly improving convenience.

file sharing

With the promotion of remote work and paperless work, there have been major changes in how business documents are managed.

Today, the mainstream method is to share files quickly online using the cloud.

Especially in business, there is a need to store large amounts of data and handle personal information and confidential documents, so there is a demand for large-capacity and high-security cloud storage.

workflow

After the restrictions on going to work due to the spread of infection, the custom of “going to work to stamp documents” has been reconsidered.

Currently, “workflow”, which allows approval work to be done online, is becoming more and more popular.

The workflow eliminates the need to circulate paper documents, and even when the boss is on a business trip, he can stamp it from a laptop or tablet, which greatly shortens the time to approval.

In addition, since the needs for the approval application function are unique to Japan, the workflow may not be installed in groupware made overseas.

Internal portal/SNS

An internal portal site is convenient when you want to share information within the company.

Even if you do not send individual materials by e-mail or chat, if you post them on the portal site, you can view them when you need them.

In-house SNS is aimed at activating exchanges between employees, promoting casual communication that is not limited to work, and exchanges that transcend departmental boundaries.

Compare the services of each company


Let’s compare four services that boast a high market share in groupware.

The price of Micosoft 365 introduced below is the official Microsoft one.

Microsoft 365 Google Workspace Cybozu Office desknet’s NEO
Monthly fee
(1 user)
¥1,560
(Business Standard)
1,360 yen
(Business Standard)
From 500 yen From 400 yen
mailbox
(1 user)
50GB to 100GB 30GB
(common for email and cloud storage)
Basic capacity 5GB
(common to all functions)*
Up to 100GB
(depending on settings)
Cloud storage
(1 user)
1TB to 5TB 30GB
(common for email and cloud storage)
Basic capacity 5GB
(common to all functions)*
Basic capacity 1GB*
Schedule management/sharing
Facility reservation
business chat
(Tool linkage)
Web conferencing
(option)
file sharing
workflow
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*Can be expanded with a paid option
*Information as of May 2023 for Microsoft official website fees

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is a subscription to Microsoft’s apps and services.

Although it is a service with a strong impression of “Office license”, it actually covers almost all the functions necessary for groupware.

It has a full range of functions for linking with the Office apps that you normally use, and is especially useful for file sharing and collaborative work.

Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)

Google Workspace is groupware provided by Google.

Users familiar with Google services, such as Gmail and Google Calendar, can use familiar apps for business.

Office files can be opened with Google Spreadsheets and Google Docs, but the layout and display format may change, so some tricks are required.

Cybozu Office

Cybozu Office is a long-selling groupware provided by Cybozu, Inc. since 1997.

It has basic functions such as email, schedule, facility reservation, and workflow, and is characterized by intuitive operation.

Chat and web conferencing are not supported, so you need to use another tool.

desknet’s NEO

desknet’s NEO is a groupware provided by Neo Japan Co., Ltd.

This service is made in Japan and has a full range of functions that correspond to Japanese business practices, such as daily reports, meeting minutes, temporary payment settlement, and visitor management.

Web conferencing is optional and will be charged separately.

Microsoft 365 is the best cost performance groupware


When comparing the groupware of each company, you may have felt that “Microsoft 365 is quite expensive.”

But Microsoft 365 pricing also includes Office app licenses.

Considering that Office is purchased separately from groupware, you can see that it is very profitable.

In addition, you can use the business chat and web conferencing tool “Microsoft Teams”, which has recently been growing in demand, and the large-capacity cloud storage “OneDrive for Business” at no additional charge.

Please refer to this table for Microsoft 365 tool names corresponding to basic functions of groupware.

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function Tools for Microsoft 365
Email Outlook (mail client), Exchange Online (mail service)
Schedule management/sharing Outlook (Calendar)
group chat, web conferencing Microsoft Teams
file sharing OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online
Internal portal SharePoint Online
SNS Yammer

Microsoft 365 has different services that can be used depending on the plan, but here we will introduce the Microsoft 365 recommended plan that includes all the above tools.

If you want to use Microsoft 365 as groupware, you can definitely choose this plan.

The price of Micosoft 365 introduced below is the official Microsoft one.

plan name Monthly fee
(for annual contract)
Office apps mailbox OneDrive
for Business
remarks
Microsoft 365
Business Basic
750 yen
Web application only
50GB 1TB 300 users or less
Microsoft 365
Business Standard
1,560 yen 50GB 1TB 300 users or less
Office 365
E1
1,250 yen
Web application only
50GB 1TB No limit on number of people
Office 365
E3
2,880 yen 100GB 5TB
(for 5 or more people)
No limit on number of people

* Microsoft official site fee information as of May 2023

There is also an advanced plan with enhanced security measures.

In addition, NEC Networks & System Integration is developing various business solutions that can be linked with Microsoft 365.

We can propose the most suitable plan for your usage, so please contact NEC Networks & System Integration Corporation when introducing Microsoft 365 or groupware.