During the pandemic, many companies transitioned to using Office 365 (O365) out of necessity, and it is a great fit for many different reasons. For example, there are a variety of applications and tools that are included with most Office 365 license packages. This allows users to gain exposure and sample the basic features of each application. While it is helpful to sample all of these tools, new adopters can run into challenges as they get started.
For many organizations, the need to adapt quickly during the pandemic prevented them from taking a thoughtful approach to introducing users to these new applications. We are now seeing many clients reach out to DMC for assistance with re-thinking and trying to optimize their Office 365 platform. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, DMC is ready to help your team redesign and apply best practices to your Office 365 solutions. To encourage adoption and facilitate the transition, DMC also provides training for many of the Office 365 applications.
Below you will find descriptions of the apps and tools that are included with most Microsoft Office 365 Licenses:
Organizations can use SharePoint to create a secure intranet to store, organize, share, and collaborate on files and other information. Files and other content saved to SharePoint is securely stored with a version history that captures each edit made to the content. You can even revert to a previous version of a file or quickly recover a file that you accidentally deleted. From asset lists to standard operating procedures, SharePoint stores information and then makes searching for something as simple as typing key phrases into its search bar. In additioin to collaboration capabilties, SharePoint also makes it easy to create and update intranet sites for top-down messaging. This is great for keeping your organization updated on internal news.
OneDrive is the Office 365 tool that allows users to securely store files in the Microsoft cloud and provides access to these files from multiple devices (e.g. PC, tablet, mobile phone, etc.). Like Dropbox, OneDrive is a place to store your personal work files that probably won't need to be accessed by a larger group of people (though OneDrive does provide the ability to share files with others inside and outside your organization). This is in contrast to SharePoint which is designed for team, department, and companywide storage and sharing (and potentially with external users as well). Think of OneDrive as your personal file storage tool that can be accessed from multiple devices.
Organizations can keep their conversations going with Teams. Through Microsoft Teams you can take a text-based chat with other individuals or a group of people and seemlessly transition the conversation to a virtual meeting with the click of a button. The integration with other tools like SharePoint, Planner, Power Automate, and Calendar make Teams a top choice if you were to select only one Office 365 application to get started with. Files stored in Teams actually use SharePoint features to make collaborating on a shared document easy for anyone in the group. A team can set up their workspace with integrated apps to show Power BI dashboards, SharePoint lists, OneNote notebooks and much more. Teams facilitates communication both internally and externally, making it the ideal communication hub.
This free-form note-taking platform allows for a team to easily capture information, make drawings, and save screenshots or audio commentary in a collaborative notebook. These notebooks can then be linked to a project site, Teams group, recurring meeting, or stand alone within a personal OneDrive.
Using the Kanban method to manage tasks, Microsoft Planner allows users to arrange tasks in a block formation. These boards use checklists, labels, and more to make the board content-rich and user-friendly with drag and drop options for collaboration.
Power BI visualizes data analytics with dashboards. It can link data with over 200 other connectors like CRM, Salesforce, SQL databases, ERP, marketing analytics, and SharePoint to display visual representations of the data.
An organization can create automated processes for business workflows using Power Automate. These workflows can vary from onboarding workflows, time off approvals, document approvals, and creating storage locations in a structured way.
This tool allows a user to create no-code/low-code applications in minutes. It connects to hundreds of data sources and has step-by-step tours to teach users how to make simple apps for an organization's needs, such as creating digital forms to capture data from others. Power Apps data is stored securely and requires authentication to access its forms and data. Power Apps forms are often paired with Power Automate workflows to streamline business processes.
To very quickly and easily collect survey data from participants internally or outside of the organization, Forms allows either authenticated or unauthenticated users to respond to requests for information. The responses can be captured either anonymously or not. Forms allows the captured data to be viewed in a variety of ways, including Excel file format, web form, or visually represented in charts. Like Power Apps, Forms can be supplemented with Power Automate workflows.
With Microsoft's intuitive Office 365 platform, users can easily adopt its applications and tools into their daily work routine. As use of these tools grows within an organization, the more important it is to design and plan the processes and best practices that govern use of this powerful platform. Without understanding how all of these applications and tools fit together within the Office 365 platform, an organization is likely to face problems with efficacy, user adoption, governance, security, and solution redundancies.
How Can DMC Help?
DMC can help customers at all levels of the Office 365 experience. If your company is just starting to use Office 365, DMC can construct a future-proof architecture to setup your department and/or your entire organzations for success. Or, if you have been using Office 365 and are learning that something has not been designed properly or not optimally structured, we are well versed in finding and resolving these types of issues.
At DMC, we start with a Discovery phase. During this phase, we work with the client to learn how the company currently uses or wants to use each of the tools. Once we learn about the organization's needs and methods of use, we create a tailored approach to address the challenges the client is facing. Our team of subject matter experts will architect a solution for the future that can grow as your organization's adoption of Office 365 grows.
When we've finished helping to optimize the organization's Office 365 platform, we can provide various trainings to help your users adopt best practices when using these tools. Keep an eye out for some of our webinars in the future!
Learn more about DMC's Office 365 solutions and contact us to start your next project.