Microsoft Visio Addition to Microsoft 365
One of the core benefits of Microsoft 365 is access to the Microsoft platform and its popular applications from anywhere. Businesses no longer have to worry about purchasing licenses for individual standalone software programs or worry about paying for them when an employee leaves. 365’s subscription-based model allows administrators to easily manage user licenses for the products they need, like Excel, PowerPoint, and Word) through a simple dashboard and pay for only what they need. Moreover, administrators can take advantage of new software applications Microsoft rolls out or adds to the platform quickly and efficiently.
Microsoft Visio is Now Part of Microsoft 365
One popular Microsoft program that until recently was only available through a standalone purchase is Microsoft Visio. Visio helps users unlock the power of visualization by giving them the tools they need to create diagrams, flowcharts, and other images they can use to solve business problems. Among the dozens of pre-configured options, Visio lets you create basic, block, cycle, process, and pyramid diagrams, as well as matrices and flowcharts. Whether you need to depict a specific workflow or reporting structure, Visio can help. The web app allows users to create the diagrams they need and seamlessly share them with other Microsoft 365 users. And Visio diagrams can be customized with options to change their background, color, resolution, size, and transparency.
In August 2021, Microsoft began to roll out a Visio web application containing its core diagramming capabilities to commercial Microsoft 365 subscribers at no cost. This development has allowed millions of users to create the diagrams they need either in the web app or Microsoft Teams. As the rollout is still in progress, Microsoft anticipates all eligible Microsoft 365 subscribers worldwide will have access to the Visio web app by the end of January 2022. By eligible, Microsoft means its commercial plans, a complete list of which can be found on the Microsoft site.
What’s the Difference Between Existing Visio Subscription Packages and the New Web App?
However, while this announcement is great news for users in need of basic visualization tools, power users of Visio will find that the web app lacks many of the key features and options available in a standalone Visio subscription plan. Unlike in either Visio Plan 1 or Plan 2, the Visio web app does not:
- Allow you to iterate Visio diagrams with Power BI;
- Create Azure or AWS diagrams with pre-formatted Azure and AWS shapes;
- Utilize a full content library, including IT options like Entity Relationship Diagrams and UML Diagrams (or get support for UML 2.5 process standards), or
- Create cross-functional flowcharts (swim-lane diagrams).
For those used to Visio Plan 2 functionality, the Visio web app will appear even more limited, as it lacks org chart templates and samples, mind mapping capability, templates for timeline diagrams, Gantt charts, PERT charts, Six Sigma diagrams, and more. If you’ve been using Visio to, say, design SharePoint workflows and annotate your diagrams with a pen on a touch-enabled device, then the Visio web app is not for you.
Microsoft has extensively outlined the differences between the web app and Visio Subscription Plans 1 and 2 here. However, while the web app is far from being able to unlock the program’s full capabilities, the rollout is introducing millions of users to Visio tools, which is a good first step. A new Visio user who finds the web app useful may encourage co-workers to use it and, in doing so, derive greater organizational benefits. They may even become a power user and seek out one of the more comprehensive standalone subscription packages to add even more value to their department or business unit.
Understanding Microsoft 365’s Benefits for Your Business
The addition of Microsoft Visio to Microsoft 365 puts visualization tools at your fingertips for free. But just because you have access to the software doesn’t automatically translate to performance or productivity gains. To many, Visio may appear as just another program. However, Visio-trained managers and employees may be able to use its visualization tools to:
- Evaluate complex processes more effectively, identifying areas of inefficiency, ambiguity, and waste;
- Communicate project requirements and schedules clearly to all stakeholders;
- Plan for contingencies effectively using case diagrams;
- Create detailed architecture diagrams of products or internal systems for more efficient production, and
- Improve understanding and assessment of internal reporting, stakeholder relationships, and the external environment through org charts and business matrices, among other uses.
Further, Microsoft 365 is constantly evolving. Popular applications like Word, Excel, Onenote, PowerPoint, and Project are continuously being updated with new features that can improve productivity considerably – if you know how to use them. And while Microsoft provides comprehensive updates about each new feature, most business leaders, managers, and employees, will not immediately connect a new tool in the Toolbar to a potential workflow that could save a department substantial time (and a business substantial money).
Often, in-house IT staff are inundated with administrative, cybersecurity, or help-desk-related tasks that barely leave them time to work on revenue-driving activities, much less identify and communicate potential efficiencies. If this sounds familiar, your business may benefit from working with a trusted managed IT services provider (MSP). An MSP works with businesses in your industry, helping them leverage IT to solve real-world business problems. Because MSP staff work with IT 24/7, they remain on top of the latest technologies. And because they work with multiple clients, they can use the insights they gain working with other businesses to apply these technologies effectively.
If your business is in the Las Vegas area, look no further than Network Security Associates (NSA), an MSP with nearly two decades of experience providing cutting-edge technology solutions to healthcare, hospitality, and accounting companies (among others). NSA has the experience you need to unlock the full potential of Microsoft Visio, 365, or other hardware/software upon which your business depends. Our staff go the extra mile to ensure that all of our clients have the technology solution they need and the support they need to transform that solution into a revenue driver.
Working with NSA can help you decide how you can use Visio to improve operations, what Microsoft 365 package you need, or how to use the platform to grow your business. Interested in learning more? Contact us today for a free consultation.
Thanks to the team at Pure IT in Calgary for their help with this research.