The Best Cloud Strategies Start with Aligning Productivity with Business Goals
By: Khaled Farhang
Part of what I do is help our clients think ahead and better prepare their businesses for the technology challenges and changes. As I reflect on this year’s Microsoft Inspire event, one key thought stands out: clients need to rethink productivity. How? By utilizing the changing technology stack.
For our SMB clients we saw three clear areas of focus during Inspire: collaboration, security and streamlining business processes. We will be speaking to our 140+ clients about each of these game-changing evolutions and how Microsoft 365 can offer SMBs huge opportunity when it comes to rethinking productivity.
Today I’m going to focus on collaboration, which is, without doubt, the future of business.
Microsoft 365 offers a variety of applications for successful collaboration, including Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Planner, Delve, and Outlook Groups.
During Inspire we heard from Forrester that information workers save four hours per week from the improved collaboration and information sharing that Microsoft Teams offers them. Specifically, Teams opens up the path to teamwork and content collaboration by offering communication through integrated instant messaging audio chat and/or video chat and eventually full VoIP integration. Teams offers access to meetings with on-demand recordings and playback. Crucially, it works across all devices – PCs, Macs, smart phones, tablets and the web.
SharePoint and OneDrive enable true collaboration by giving team members the ability to share documents and get feedback from colleagues. This is enhanced by instant notification when another shared user open documents, as well as simultaneous document editing with others – this is where true collaboration can start taking shape in your organization. Users can also move from a file storage server to online access to all files anywhere, without hassle and from any device.
Collaboration can be further developed by utilizing Planner – Microsoft’s answer to a lightweight Microsoft Project application that can be implemented by any level user. Planner offers task management and assignment directly from Teams and connects documents from SharePoint to different team members in Teams.
And then there is Delve, which offers further opportunity for collaboration by giving users a way to discover any relevant documents or content related to a specific topic. It provides a window on what documents are most active and are trending, and also promotes transparency and collaboration by enabling users to understand who is working on different projects, documents and so on.
The next important tool for collaboration is Outlook Groups. This offers smaller groups of team members a shared inbox that comes with collaboration tools enabling tight communication. It also automatically creates a shared calendar to manage group events, and a dedicated SharePoint team site to enable collaboration. There is also the option of a planner to enable group task management.
Customers will be looking to their service provider to offer insight and guidance as to which of these tools will serve their business best and help achieve the goal of rethinking productivity via collaboration. As their , it’s up to service providers to work with our clients to help them to develop the best possible outcome for their business by finding the right tools for them with the right services.
Be bold and be prepared to highlight the changing face of collaboration; don’t be afraid to inspire your clients.