Communication, Collaboration and Organisation
Communication and collaboration within a business can be difficult sometimes. With content getting passed through the ranks, and people working in various different places, it can be tricky!
The main functionalities that Office 365 brings to the table are vital for any business; collaboration, organisation and communication.
If you need file storage, OneDrive for business (personal files) and Microsoft Teams (team sharing) provide large amounts of file storage for people to put project plans, design documents, spreadsheets, attachments from clients, drafts and so on.
SharePoint is brilliant at taking care of the organisation’s important documents. Policies, training material, reports, finished proposals, marketing material, HR files – all put where they should be and properly secured.
Because SharePoint is just being used for the important stuff, time should be taken to tag things properly. This means that each document is told what department, location, project, product it relates to. It is also told who is responsible for it and when it needs to be reviewed.
As well as this, when it is due for review, email reminders can be sent out, and reports can be run to identify documents that are out of date.
Rules are put in place to automatically archive out-of-date files.
Collaborating on documents via email is probably not the best way to go about things. A common scenario goes like this. You do some work on a document, send it out to 3 people for their opinion. They edit it and send it back. Some people track changes, some add comments, some write a long email. Consequently, you then have to trawl through all of this, create a new version and then email it out again for the next round. Repeat process.
The scenario described above is a complete waste of time and causes a lot of faff. In SharePoint (or OneDrive or Teams) everybody can work on the same document at the same time. Paragraphs and cells lock while somebody works on them. You can see who is editing what and look at their changes by clicking the ‘Save’ button. If you have Skype (or Teams) open, you can chat with them about what they are doing. All of the changes are stored in different versions of the document as you work, and so you can get back to any old work quickly and without have three hundred copies of the same file.
If you need to go off-line and do a chunk of work on a file, you can “check it out” so that nobody else can work on it.
With Microsoft Teams, you can quickly create an area where you can invite team members, allocate and organise tasks, have discussions, set up conference calls, store notes and see reports – without having to go on a training course.
Teams is fast becoming the main place for people to do their work. Skype for Business will also soon be incorporated into it to make it an all-in-one communications tool. You can set up an area for your main team, with “channels” to divide different strands of work that you are involved with. Each project that you are involved with can have its own team, so you can hop in and out of different pieces of work. Wherever you go, all of the information is in one place, whether that’s project documents, chats, plans or reports.
It is a fantastic hub for daily work, and new features are being added all the time.
Office 365 Groups is very similar to Teams in the way they work. However, one major difference being that chat is done via emails. This is great if you are working on a client project and want to gather all of the emails together in your project.
Communication within a company is sometimes seen as a mammoth task. Whether you want to let the bosses know about your great new idea. Or get some feedback on what competitors are up to. Sometimes, the bosses might want to let people know what’s in the plans for the next year.
Let me introduce you to Yammer. It is quick and easy to use. Think about having Facebook Groups just for your organisation – some groups are open to all, some by invite only. However, all are used to discuss issues that are current within the business, with people in the business.
Organisations that use Yammer will get huge benefits – people feel that they belong and are being listened to, which is great for morale and retention.
One of the nicest things about these tools is that they can all be built on and extended to do exactly what is needed for your business. Microsoft has a comprehensive Roadmap of new tools and features that they are producing.
Additionally, layered on top of this are Privacy and Security Tools (Azure Rights Management and Intune), Enterprise Search (Delve), Business Analytics (Power BI), Customer Management (Dynamics CRM), Enterprise Project Management (Project Online). This means that you can run your business efficiently AND securely.