Accelerating your Office 365 subscription - how to maximise the business
A Microsoft Office 365 subscription is a great way to access the latest productivity tools without significant capital spend – or regular upgrade costs. And with the ability to add or remove subscriptions as required, it becomes easier to control costs and reduce waste.
But Microsoft Office 365 is more than just the headline Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint productivity tools. The suite now provides a range of other tools and features designed to boost productivity and collaboration.
Here's how to get more from your subscription:
Centralising data and streamlining projects with Teams
By making key information available centrally, everyone knows where to find it. One report suggests that employees waste as much as 20% of the working week trying to find information that allows them to do their job effectively.
Because Microsoft Office 365 has been designed to improve collaboration, centralisation goes beyond basic file storage. A feature known as Teams operates like an intranet, providing a shared documents library, a calendar, a task list, a discussion forum and a wiki. These tools are all available in a single window too, making it even more useful for your employees (and helping to ensure they make the team site their first point of contact in future).
As the name implies, each of your teams can have their own site, providing a single point of reference for everything they are working on. For ultimate collaboration potential however, consider creating a site for each project – perfect for use with cross-discipline teams.
Navisite research found that 86% of IT decision makers agree collaboration is important to improving team motivation and communication – and Teams helps to achieve that goal.
Yammer messaging to save time
Email is the go-to tool for business communications, but businesses are discovering shortcomings with the medium – not least the sheer number of messages that employees must deal with. Radicati Group estimates that business users will need to read and respond to an average of 126 messages every day by 2019.
Yammer brings social media-like functionality to your team sites. All members of the team site can be sent quick messages, and tagging simplifies the process of categorising and locating information. Unlike email, Yammer has been designed to work in real-time, so employees can engage in a conversation quickly.
Email creates a disjointed trail of messages that can quickly splinter into sub-discussions, despite improvements in Outlook’s email thread management functionality in recent years - any team member not included in the recipients list will miss out. And anyone joining the discussion late will be contributing long after the conversation has moved on.
Real time social-like messaging helps to overcome those problems – but only 30% of businesses currently provide workers with access to private enterprise social networking platforms. Which means that 70% of businesses could be at a competitive disadvantage to those firms who do use Yammer or similar social tools.
Advanced eDiscovery to automate data analysis
Collecting and centralising data is one thing – but your business needs to be able to make sense of it too. And the reality is that collaboration tools help to bring your information into one common front end, but the data is actually spread between applications.
Office 365 is no different – information is split between Exchange email, OneDrive for Business storage, Skype calls and messages, Teams, and all the other tools. But to assist with the process of finding the information across each of these stores, Microsoft include a tool called Advanced eDiscovery.
This particular tool analyses unstructured data held in your Office 365 accounts. Advanced eDiscovery identifies redundant information with near-duplicates detection (files that are almost identical in content) and email thread analysis. And as you would expect, Advanced eDiscovery can then be used to search for information across all of your data stores.
The ability to locate key information quickly and easily will help to boost employee productivity, and prevent data being “lost” because it was stored incorrectly. Or attached to the bottom of someone’s email.
Unlocking insights with Power BI Pro
Centralising and searching data is incredibly useful, but true value is realised when you begin unlocking insights hidden among that information. Enter Power BI. This business analytics service provides business intelligence tools that are so simple to use, any Excel power user (or similar) can get started.
The Power BI desktop connects to your corporate Office 365 subscription to provide data preparation, data discovery and interactive dashboard functions. Users can then build their own queries and visualisations from across data sets, including those owned by third parties. If data is publicly available online, Power BI can load it – including from Wikipedia pages.
Users can query and shape data, then output to Excel, or visualise it – including interactive charts. The charts can also be shared with other users.
Importantly, Power Bi is supposed to be easy to use – even if the underlying data functions themselves are not. A drag-and-drop interface allows you to build queries quickly and efficiently – and without the aid of a data scientist.
Accelerate with better tools
The very best business tools increase employee productivity so they achieve more each working day. The core functionality of Microsoft Office 365 provides a much-needed boost thanks to its emphasis on team collaboration. But once bedded in, your business needs to investigate the many power features that will take productivity to the next level.
To learn more about managed Office 365 services, and how Navisite can help you get more from your subscription, please get in touch.