Meet the Microsoft Business center

Running a small business involves staying on top of a lot of things. With the business apps from Office 365, you can build customer relationships, streamline sales, and grow your online presence, all while running your business in the cloud.

Note: The Business center is available to selected customers in the United States and Canada who have the Office 365 Business Premium license. You must also be a global admin to access the Business center.

Get the most out of the Business center

This section describes the common user interface elements that'll help you get the most out of the Microsoft Business center.

Screen capture: Showing the business center's dashboard with callouts.
  1. Use the menu to navigate to each business app's dashboard.

    • Dashboard - Business center's main dashboard is where you'll get a view into how the business apps are helping your business grow.

    • Invoicing - The Invoicing app integrates with QuickBooks and the other Microsoft business apps to help you keep an eye on your money. You can create and send professional estimates and invoices to your customers. Learn more.

    • Bookings - Let your customers schedule appointments with you from your website or Facebook page. Come here to set up Bookings or to manage your Bookings calendar and staff. Learn more.

    • Online presence - Use the Listings app to publish your business listing to Bing, Facebook, Google, and Yelp. You can then monitor your online presence from the Microsoft Listings dashboard, and see how your business is doing on those sites. Learn more.

    • Email marketing - The Connections app helps you create, send and track customer referrals in a few simple steps. In addition to referrals, you can also use Connections to send newsletters, offers and other promotions to your customers. Use the Connections dashboard to monitor the success of your marketing campaigns. Learn more.

    • Contacts - Your business contacts are kept separated from your email contacts in Office 365 and only those contacts you've imported or added will display in the Business center's contacts. From within the Contacts dashboard, you can add, import or view contacts. Select a user to see details, such as activities and marketing campaigns the user has participated in. You can also create a booking, invoice or send a campaign from the contact. Learn more.

  2. The Listings card shows you how your listings are performing online with Bing, Google, Yelp, and Facebook and how many impressions users are having. Click on the card to open the Online presence dashboard. If you haven't yet set up your business with Listings, the card won't have any data.

  3. The Connections card gives you a quick glance at your marketing campaigns, including how many active campaigns you have, how many visits by leads, how many coupons have been redeemed, and how many new customers have signed up online.

  4. The Bookings card is a look back at the last 30 days, including today and is only an estimate. Click the Bookings card to go to the Bookings dashboard. For more information about these metrics, see Bookings - What do these numbers mean?.

  5. The Invoicing card shows you the estimated revenue, and estimated outstanding and past due invoices. Click the Invoicing card to go to the Invoicing dashboard.

  6. Click on All activity and you can sort your activity feed by business app, or you can bulk mark all activities as read.

  7. The Activity feed shows you relevant business activities for each of the apps. Each activity will be delivered to the feed on an activity card. But if you've got multiple activities for one of the apps, like Bookings, the activities will be rolled up into one card. You can select this down arrow to show all activities for that app.

  8. Most activity cards will give you an insight and an action. An insight could be that a customer canceled their appointment through Bookings. The actions will include clicking on the card to see who canceled, marking the activity as read, or postponing the activity to remind you later.

Accessing the Business center

The Business center is available to global admins who have the Office 365 Business Premium license assigned.

Note: Some of the business apps require additional permissions if you aren't a global admin. See, Give access to the business apps from Office 365 for more information.

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your Business Premium account.

  2. From the Office 365 start page, click the Business center tile.

    Screen capture: showing business center tile to far right
  3. OR select the Business center tile from the app launcher.

    Screen capture: Showing business center being selected in the app launcher.

Start using the apps

Initially, you may only use one or two of the business apps and as you get more comfortable using them, you can incorporate other apps into your day-to-day operations. You can also give other people in your company permission to use some the apps. The next sections couple of sections discuss how a real estate agent and a landscaper use the apps in their business.

In this scenario, the business is a real estate agency and the real estate agent uses Listings, Outlook Customer Manager, Bookings, and Connections for their customer interactions.

Graphic: conceptual art depicting customer lifecycle
  1. The customer lifecycle starts when the potential customer does a Bing search for “real estate agents near me.” The customer sees the great listing that was created using the Listings app. The customer is impressed with the professional online presence and calls the real estate agency.

  2. Now, the potential customer becomes a “lead”. The real estate agent enters all of the lead’s information into Outlook Customer Manager and then emails the lead a link to the agency’s published appointment calendar that was created with Bookings.

  3. The lead can see the agent’s time in the Bookings calendar and very conveniently books a time that works for both of them. The lead is now a customer.

  4. Everything goes great and the customer purchases a home and is so happy that they write a glowing Yelp review.

  5. The agent reads the Yelp review and sends the customer a referral request using Connections. The customer sees that if they refer their friend (and the friend signs up) the agent is offering a gourmet box of cookies.

  6. The customer loves gourmet cookies and is very motivated to refer their friend who is also looking for a house. The customer emails their personal link to the friend.

  7. The friend gets the link and subscribes to the agent’s email communications and now becomes a lead.

  8. The agent sees the new lead and the process starts all over from Step 2.

This scenario shows how a landscaping service might use the business apps to grow the business. This business uses Listings, Bookings, Invoicing and Connections for their day-to-day customer interactions.

Graphic: conceptual art depicting customer lifecycle
  1. This customer lifecycle starts when the potential customer does a Bing search for “Landscapers near me”.

  2. The lead sees that they can book an appointment directly from Facebook with the landscaper, so the lead sets up an appointment. Which makes them very happy because they hate talking on the phone.

  3. The landscaper’s staff goes to the lead’s home to assess the services required and how large the yard is. The customer and staff come to terms on the pricing.

  4. The staff sends the customer an invoice for that month’s services using the Invoicing mobile app while still in the customer’s front yard.

  5. After about a month, the customer is so happy with the service that they post a glowing Yelp review.

  6. The business owner sees the review and sends the customer a referral request using Connections. The owner offers one free gutter cleaning if the friend becomes an active customer and a 10% discount for the first month of service to the friend when they become a customer.

  7. The customer sends their personal link to the friend. Before clicking the link, the friend researches the landscaper and sees the great reviews and professional online presence that was created with Listings. The friend clicks the link and subscribes to email communications.

  8. And the whole process starts over from step 2.

MileIQ and Outlook Customer Manager

Besides the business center apps, there are a couple of other apps that might fit your business’ needs, if you have the Office 365 Business Premium subscription.

Outlook customer manager is an Office 365 add-in that lets you track business contacts, and communications with them from within Outlook. If you have permission to the app, it'll already be added to Outlook. Get started with Outlook Customer Manager

MileIQ, the leading mileage tracking app, offers a simple, smarter way to track your miles. MileIQ comes with automatic drive detection, mileage logging, easy one swipe classification and comprehensive reporting for tax deduction or mileage reimbursement. You can also log unlimited drives every month. It's currently available to subscribers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. To activate your MileIQ subscription, go to https://www.mileiq.com/office365.

Feedback

Leave us feedback by clicking on the Feedback widget in the business center. Or send us an email to: businesscenterFB@microsoft.com.

Screenshot: Click the Business center feedback widget to leave us feedback
Connect with an expert
Contact us
Expand your skills
Explore training

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×