The workplace and work culture has changed drastically in recent years. Companies and employees are spread across the globe. Teams are made up of staff that is on location as well as those working remotely. People have the need to communicate, collaborate, share and develop ideas across organizational boundaries, time zones and geographies. And they must do so effortlessly and efficiently so that they can thrive and prosper in a continuously evolving business environment.
With a handheld device in practically every person’s hands, it is imperative that your organization’s collaboration tool make use of cloud technology to service this mobile-first world, which flourishes on anywhere, anytime information.
Microsoft Office 365 is ideal to meet the requirements of your organization made up of employees who belong to different generations, have unique work styles and work from various locations. It helps to get your staff on the same page even if they may not be in the same room.
- SharePoint connects you, your teams, and your organization with a mobile and intelligent intranet. It allows team members to manage documents, work on projects, co-author documents, automate forms and other workflows, track tasks, and manage timelines, and much more. SharePoint is a powerful tool which helps store, organize, search, find, manage, and collaborate in one place.
- OneDrive is ideal for storing files and sharing them easily with internal as well as external staff or clients. It also makes it easy for you to find, share, and collaborate on all your files in Office 365.
- Skype for Business, MS Teams, and Yammer help employees engage using various messaging techniques like instant messaging, chat, audio and video conferencing, etc.
If you’re an Office 365 customer, you already have these powerful tools at your fingertips. And with enterprise-level security, you can rest assured that your data, employees and organization are well protected.
Here are 4 advantages of a modern, workplace solution created on Office 365 and SharePoint.
1. Collaborate effortlessly
Collaboration and productivity are directly related to each other. Your teams need easy collaboration tools to stay productive wherever they are, on whatever devices they’re using.
SharePoint makes file storage and document collaboration more people-centric. With mobile responsive access to content, people, and applications, your employees can collaborate seamlessly to do their best work. SharePoint also provides team sites and dashboard views where tasks can be maintained and managed, and progress of projects can be monitored.
OneDrive is Microsoft’s file storage and share solution. Its integration with Office 365 allows users to access their files from anywhere and from any device. You can begin co-authoring a document on one device and finalize it from another device. It allows you to preview 270 common file types which include PDF, Photoshop, Illustrator, Visio, and more.
With OneDrive users can also access their files in Office 365 directly from their file explorer, without having to download them, and they can even work on their documents without an internet connection.
2. Keep everybody in the loop
Keeping your employees informed is crucial to the success of your business. Not doing so can result in wasted time and effort, and duplication of work. It can cause misinformation and miscommunication which will foster feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration.
You want to make sure employees are spending time exchanging ideas and information, and being creative, instead of worrying about security or version control. SharePoint lets you collaborate confidently, knowing that everyone can access files securely and is accessing and working with the most up-to-date data at all times. It allows you to engage your employees with intelligent, mobile-optimized intranets to build cohesion and drive organizational efficiency.
SharePoint’s dynamic team sites provide a secure shared space for your team or department to collaborate, discuss, author and share documents, create and manage tasks. You can even customize SharePoint’s site pages to interact with data and resources across Office 365 applications so as to bring all information in one place.
Communication sites further extend the capabilities of SharePoint team sites by opening up communication through the entire organization. So, news published, or a discussion started on a Communication site is available to all users who have access to that site regardless of the device they use to access it. A communication site can be designed so that it pulls in data and content from other services like, conversations from Yammer, reports from Power BI and videos from Microsoft Stream. This makes sharing pertinent information easy and it educates and informs your employees.
Different teams or departments can choose different applications to meet their functional needs.
- Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace to support team collaboration via voice and video calls and integration with other Office 365 services, like SharePoint, OneNote and Skype. It is useful for communicating in real time with colleagues for messages that require an instant response.
- Yammer is an enterprise social networking tool like Facebook, and is optimal for sending ideas and communications that don’t necessarily require an instant response, like brainstorming or sharing news.
- Skype for Business is a solution for video and audio calling and instant messaging. It supports communicating with colleagues and business partners via calls, meetings, and screen sharing.
3. Spend less time searching
With a SharePoint intranet you can view what is important and current. And if you use the mobile app, you have access to sites, files, people, and news from across your teams—all from your favorite device. It’s like having your company’s intranet in your pocket.
This is the age of information and we all have experienced and feel the burden of information overload. It is estimated that the average user sends and receives 136 emails and has 75 text message exchanges in a day. At this rate it can become a daunting task to find what you need, when you need it.
Employees need a way for information to find them, not the other way around, and that is exactly what Microsoft Graph technology does. Graph is a tool that supports Office 365 search functions. It tracks content interaction, using machine learning to draw links between people, content and activity within an organization.
Microsoft’s “personalized” search feature leverages Graph’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to pull up more relevant and useful content when a user conducts a search. The search results could include people profiles, news and videos along with documents and discussions.
This will help you be aware of the work being accomplished, the key people doing the work, and the collective expertise of your organization. Having this information helps formulate insights and make decisions that drive business value.
4. Automate tasks
Clear processes help your organization run more smoothly and efficiently, but they can get mundane and boring and can be time consuming. Automating tasks can have the advantage of boosting productivity, reducing errors, and avoiding employee burnout. In fact, a survey by CIO Insight reveals that 98% of CIOs consider process automation essential to driving business benefits.
Office 365 supports automation of a lot of your processes through its various applications.
- PowerApps allow users to create apps and custom forms that interact with SharePoint lists and libraries. This is a much more efficient way to collect information and it also prevents wrong or incomplete data by building in data validation.
- Microsoft Flow enables in-built approval workflows based on lists and integrates with dozens of cloud services that business users rely on. A new feature also allows for automated document approvals.
- Notifications can be triggered when corporate alerts are posted on the intranet or when a form or documents needs your approval.
- Reminders can be set so you don’t miss important events or deadlines.
- Power BI can bring your data to life with visuals and interactive reports. You can connect to your SQL or Access database or even an Excel spreadsheet to create reports and dashboards without the help of IT or database experts.
If you are on Office 365 and want to consolidate all your business processes under one roof, or you are looking for a turnkey solution that can enhance your current intranet offering, we can help. Please email us at email@example.com and our representative will get in touch with you.