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Posted by Dan Felix on February 16th 2021
Welcome to the second part of our three-part series on how to get the best out of Microsoft 365, where we share tips and advice on the (often lesser known) features and functionalities available within Microsoft 365 to help you overcome typical business challenges around productivity, collaboration, efficiency, security and data management.
In part one we focused on security. This week for part 2 we look at Collaboration and Communication: how to get the best out of Microsoft 365.
Microsoft applications have become such a fixture in our daily lives. In fact, Microsoft Teams usage along has increased 50% since the pandemic. However, many businesses and users are only scratching the surface of the benefits it can deliver in terms of increased efficiency, productivity, collaboration and security.
Although many businesses are ‘using’ Teams we see that often their usage tends to be around video meetings and chat. The majority of businesses are still using email as their primary communication tool. Having been the way we communicate for over twenty years many users find it hard to imagine a different way of communicating. After all, it works, everyone understands it, so why do they need to have conversations and exchange information using different channels such as Teams and SharePoint? Here’s just a few reasons:
Hopefully, the above is helping you to realise that there are a lot of reasons to use different communication tools for different needs. Microsoft 365 provides a new way of working which allows users to organise their conversations, messages, data and documents in a far more efficient way. By working differently and embracing the power of Teams and SharePoint your users are able to:
Here’s our top recommendations of how you can improve organisation, communication and collaboration by utilising Microsoft 365:
What do we mean by external one-off conversations? Well, this is someone who doesn’t work for your organization, and that you don’t have a long term, ongoing relationship with. This might be a new customer prospect, a new supplier or people that you generally don’t have day to day interactions with. These people are often quite important to the growth of your business, so by filtering internal conversations into Teams you can see easily when external priority emails land.
Tip: Enable the Focused/Other tabs in Outlook to further refine your important emails from newsletters.
As already mentioned, email remains the main communication channel for most businesses. You can improve collaboration and communication within Outlook by modernising your legacy distribution list with Outlook Groups. Groups in Outlook allows you to:
Tip: watch this video to find out how to create a group in Outlook
This is how you engage with people within your own organisation, while you’re collaborating and working together.
Tip: Use the “Chat” feature instead of the Team Posts tab if you just need to have a quick 1:1 conversation outside of the Team discussion.
Tip: By communicating with customers in an externally shared Team, you no longer have those email chains sent to customers accidentally that they shouldn’t have seen!
For groups and teams that work together on projects and key deliverables Microsoft Teams is the ideal tool for collaboration. Conversations, files, meetings, and all information relating to a specific project, task or business area are contained within a ‘shared space’ that is accessible to everyone in that team, both inside and outside of your organisation.
Microsoft teams is integrated with Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PowerBI, Stream and SharePoint making it easy to collaborate, share information and update documents simultaneously in real-time without having to leave this central project work-space.
And because it’s integrated with SharePoint team members can even share details, news and announcements about your project on your SharePoint company intranet. More about this next…
SharePoint intranet which is a great way to cut back on your meetings and emails. It allows you to streamline communication within your businesses and make work more efficient. A SharePoint intranet improves internal communication, brings your workplace culture to life, helps employees find information (such as policies, procedures, news and events), simplifies employee onboarding (especially helpful for remote worker new starters) and encourages knowledge sharing.
In a nutshell, a SharePoint intranet encourages communication to flourish across your organisation. In our view, it offers the most flexible option for an intranet and the most value, particularly if you are using other Microsoft tools like Yammer or Teams that can be integrated into it. If you’re on Office 365 then a SharePoint Online intranet is pretty much a no-brainer.
Tip: Use SharePoint intranet for publishing information like corporate news and events, benefits information, and policies and procedures etc. You don’t have to worry about someone not seeing an email with the attachment or new starters missing important information that was provided prior to their first day.
SharePoint’s dynamic search functionality makes it easy to search for any document, person, video or news item using key words contained within the document or document name itself.
Video is one of the most effective and impactful ways to communicate with your colleagues and employees. Microsoft Stream is an Enterprise Video service where people in your organization can upload, view, and share videos securely. You can share recordings of classes, meetings, presentations, training sessions, or other videos that aid your team’s collaboration.
Microsoft Stream is a secure video service so you can manage who views your video content and determine how widely to share within your organization. Secure application access is enabled by Azure Active Directory to protect sensitive corporate content.
Microsoft Stream also helps you organise content into channels and groups so it’s easier to find. Microsoft Stream works well with other Office 365 apps like Teams, SharePoint, OneNote, and Yammer, giving even more ways to discover more relevant content.
If you are using Office 365 Video and want to transition to Microsoft Stream, see Transition from Office 365 Video