If you haven’t heard yet, Office 2016 was released on September 22nd.  If you are an Office 365 subscriber, this change was seamless for you.  But if your business licenses a perpetual version of the software, you’ll need to plan out an upgrade from your existing installation to this new version.   Here are 5 reasons why you should start budgeting for this upgrade.

*Disclaimer – some new functions are only available in Office 365, or may require other MS backend technology, such as Microsoft SharePoint.

1. Outlook Groups

Microsoft has developed a great new chat function for team members to leverage, and instead of making it yet another separate app, they were very tactically smart and made it an embedded component of Outlook. More info.

2. Improved Forecasting Functionality in Excel

Forecasting and Trending are functions that have been part of Excel for a long time.  But now, Microsoft has made the ability to create full-blown forecast modeling in a matter of seconds a reality.  See short video.  Learn how from Microsoft.

3. New “Tell Me” Searching Tool

“Help” has never been particularly quick as helping tools go.  Microsoft has addressed that issue with its new “Tell Me” feature, which will take you to your desired tool or feature with a single click.  See PC Mag video.

4. Real-Time Co-Authoring in Word

Anyone who’s ever needed to co-author a document with a colleague knows how challenging a process that can be.  Leveraging OneDrive or SharePoint Online for the shared storage space, the co-authoring process fully immerses the collaborators to the point where everyone is able to see what is being typed instantaneously. Read more.

5. Conversations

Leveraging Skype for Business, you can now start a video chat or stream your document while working within Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents.  See video