Early last fall, Microsoft dropped the latest incarnation of their ubiquitous Office software. Upon its release, Microsoft Office 2016 picked up an immense amount of praise, earning 4.5-star reviews from publications like PC Magazine and TechRadar, and plenty of positive notices elsewhere. Revered for its collaboration and productivity features (among many other things), the software almost seemed like a true “technological panacea,” an all-in-one office technology solution.

Now that the dust has cleared, it’s a bit easier to see the latest version of Microsoft Office for what it actually is. Office 2016 is a well-built, robust suite of programs that will maintain Microsoft’s dominance in the word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software markets. However, Office 2016 is not a panacea of office technology, largely because it does not include document management software (DMS).


Microsoft Office 2016—A Complimentary Program, Not a Replacement

Part of the reason that Office 2016 was so roundly praised (and perhaps, overhyped) upon its release is that it was the first new office software suite from Microsoft in three years. PC users hadn’t gotten a new version of the suite since Office 2013 while Mac users had been forced to wait half a decade since Office 2011. Since Microsoft Office 2016 is a notable improvement over both of those suites—particularly the last Mac version—it’s not difficult to see why the software earned such unanimous and enthusiastic reactions.

However, while Office 2016 includes the best-ever versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other programs, it is not a “panacea.” How come? Because the suite does not include onboard document management software or enterprise content management technology. Rather than trying to build an office suite that competes with existing DMS and ECM software, Microsoft has instead made Office 2016 into a group of programs that are perfectly complimentary with DMS and ECM software.


DMS Integration

Indeed, one of the core benefits of switching to Office 2016 is how well the suite integrates with document management systems. You can link your document management software to your Office 2016 suite, making it possible to access and edit files stored within your organization’s DMS right from Word, PowerPoint, or Excel.

This integrative feature might not seem like a big deal, but for employees who are extremely accustomed to the interfaces of Microsoft Office’s core programs, being able to use those programs to access or revise DMS files is a big plus. The advantage is particularly pronounced given the fact that the new program interfaces for the Office 2016 apps have been roundly praised as dramatic improvements over their predecessors.

Of course, this integration doesn’t work without a document management system to integrate with. It takes a substantial piece of document management or enterprise content management software to get the most out of Microsoft Office 2016, and Office 2016 can take your DMS or ECM experience to the next level, as well.

Beyond those points, though, Microsoft Office remains a suite of office software that doesn’t provide a document management option. The software does integrate with Microsoft’s cloud service—called OneDrive—but real-time collaboration and productivity features really only work if your organization has an Office 365 subscription. Plus, a Computer World review of the Office 2016 suite noted that the OneDrive interface was “somewhat confusing” in any case, and criticized the onboard collaboration features as inferior to Google Docs.

The bottom line is this: If your business is looking to maximize the benefits of Office 2016—from its beautiful interfaces to additional collaborative integration with software like Skype—the best way to start is by integrating with your existing document management software. Being able to access and edit files from your DMS within Microsoft Word or Excel is a convenient option that removes the need to switch interfaces consistently. It also leaves the collaboration features to your DMS to handle—which, since document management software like eFileCabinet is built with collaboration in mind, is a superior option. Collaboration in your DMS is likely less complicated than it is in Microsoft Word, and certainly more secure than Google Docs.

Add the additional features that your document management software brings to the table—automated workflow and file retention, user-based permissions, mobile access, secure client portal technology, etc.—and it’s easy to see how a good DMS can bring out more in Microsoft’s already solid Office 2016 software. Office 2016 might not be a “technological panacea” and it’s certainly not a replacement for document management or enterprise content management software. However, by enabling Microsoft Office integration and pairing the suite with your organization’s DMS, you can formulate a seamless system that really does feel like a panacea—even if it doesn’t quite qualify as one.

Whether you work in human resources and are seeking to establish a more efficient office environment, or purely want to boost the performance of your Office 2016 suite, eFileCabinet can help. Visit our website today at www.efilecabinet.com and click the “Free Demo” tab on the left side of the screen for a no-charge preview of our software.