Yes, you will hear these terms used interchangeably and they both refer to the cloud-based productivity suite offered by Microsoft (which includes desktop apps that can connect to the cloud based servers) which the Co-op has adopted in early 2023
We are going to try to set up our MS365 environment in a way that hopefully makes sense for staff at the Co-op and that they will recognize the teams they are on and where to find things they need. However this is still a new tool and there will be a learning curve.
Throughout MS365 there is extensive Help typically located by clicking on the Question Mark icon at the top right hand side of the screen. However, if you are wanting to get a broader overview of the system, all public libraries in BC have access to LinkedIn Learning which has a large number of courses and videos available related to MS365. Here are a few that may help to get you started:
Yes, MS365 wil lcompletely replace the use of Sync in the progsanization, indeed accessibility issues with Sync were ones of the reasons we needed to find a different solution. Once file migration is completed, the Co-op will be discontinuing it's sync subscription entirely.
In short, yes.
Google Drive/Docs have been used widely at the Co-op but have never been a fully sanctioned tool. They became popular because of the ease of online collaboration they offered. A major consideration in choosing a new Office Suite was that it offer similar capabilties, and MS365 allows users to either edit synchronously via the web application or else to edit the "same" document, shared via OneDrive/Teams, on their desktop using the rich applications. This not only matches but exceeds the capabilities of Google docs and does so in a fully accessible way.
It is very possible that eventually, as we get comfortable with the Teams app and its synchronous video capabilites, that we will drop our zoom subscriptions. This will be revisted after AGM 2023 or before the next license renewal in zoom.
Yes, in all likelihood, once we get everyone up and going on their Teams in MS365, this software provides for both chat and calls, and makes Skype superfluous. Skype did get bought by Microsoft but is generally being phased out within that company in favour of teams, and so this is likely timely in any case.
This is a case of "time will tell." One of the benefits of irc is that not only is it not run on our infrastructure, it's global open nature meant that we could include non-Co-op staff in irc channels. Examples have been colleagues like Robin Johnson, James Fournie and Dan Scott. While MS365 can replicate some of the synchronous chat capabilities of IRC, it may not be desireable to loose this ability to easily include others outside the formal organization. The decision to finally leave IRC wil be made jointly with all the folks who typically use it as a technical backchannel part of the discussion, and likely won't get made until April 2023 or later.
In order to access the web applications, ideally you will be using a Chromium-based browser (Google Chrome, MS Edge and Brave browser being 3 examples.) You can try to use Firefox, however it does use a different browser engine (Gecko) and if you experience comptability issues the Co-op is not able to address these.
Much of MS365 can also be accessed via rich desktop apps. In order to access these you should be running a fairly recent (<6 months) old desktop operating system on either Windows or Mac. It may work on slightly older, but in the event you have difficulties installing the rich applications, the default is to go back to the web applications.
Linux users MUST use the web applications as there are no rich desktop applications available for Linux or other Unix-based operating systems
In addition, there are basic authentication procedures which will ask you to either install an authenticator app on your phone or else be willing to recieve a text from Microsoft. The Co-op cannot mandate that you install apps on your personal cell phone, though those are absolutely recommended and the easiest way to secure your account. The Co-op can mandate that you share your phone number with Microsoft in order to facilitate security processes with Microsoft, as phone numbers are considered "business information" and not protected under FOIPPA in the course of regular business transactions. Please do contact Scott Leslie if you have any questions or concerns with this.