How we use Office 365 collaboration tools

 In Connectivity

We’ve been using Office 365 for around six months now and, so far, we’re loving it!

The collaboration tools – in particular SharePoint, Yammer and Skype for Business – have contributed to a lot of improvements in our day-to-day operations.

Because we have remote staff and our engineers are always on the go, ProITS needs effective communication and calendar systems to increase individual and team productivity and efficiency.

Some concrete examples

Specifically, here’s how we utilise each of these tools:

SharePoint

Our office is now paperless. We use SharePoint to store, share and control all our documents as well as scanned copies of invoices, receipts, and signed contracts.

SharePoint makes all our files available in the cloud; so all members of our team can easily and quickly store and retrieve files from anywhere, so long as they have an internet connection.

Another great feature of SharePoint is its built-in version control and co-authoring capabilities. With Office Online, we’re able to have multiple people working and saving into the same Word document or spreadsheet at the same time. This is especially useful for documents that routinely require multiple authors’ input; such as our support plan contract which can be checked, edited and revised by co-authors before it is sent to the client.

With ‘versioning’ enabled for our SharePoint library, we can access any and all previous versions of our files – so if someone makes an error when they’re editing a document, they can easily open up an older version to double-check it or roll back the changes.

Yammer

As a team with different working locations, we bring people together with Yammer. It is our internal company Facebook which we can use to share both work-related and fun stuff. It is where we post our daily goals and company announcements to be in the loop on what’s happening and what everyone’s currently working on. Various photos from our ProITS functions and events can also be uploaded.

Yammer is a fun place for our team to post stuff and helps improve team morale. It also promotes open communication where anyone can put comments on posts.

Skype for Business

Anyone in our team can connect with anyone through Skype for Business. They can use the instant message feature, place a voice call or have a video conference. It’s just like standard Skype, but with some extra benefits. It has enterprise-grade security so any communications done through it can be trusted. It also lets you add up to 250 people into a group call or online meeting, and it has a better call quality than the normal Skype.

We use the video conferencing and screen-sharing features to include any off-site team members in our daily catch-ups and weekly team meeting. We also use instant messaging to communicate across offices and locations constantly in real-time.

Reaping the benefits

As you may have figured out, ProITS is a great fan of the Office 365 collaboration tools. There’s just so much to like about them.

Here’s a short list of some of the benefits:

Reduces email traffic and mailbox sizes

Choosing the right platform for different kinds of interactions is important. The days of carrying on long conversations via strings of single-line emails should be a thing of the past. Save email for the important, ‘official’ stuff, and use Yammer and Skype instant message to chat and update colleagues on the status of work in progress. You can quit sending email attachments as well – just share a link!

Improves communication through fast exchange of short messages

There are two kinds of people in business: those who think an email deserves an immediate response, and those who will happily sit on an email until they are good and ready to respond. When the two mix, it’s a recipe for friction and unmet expectations. Free your team from this trap by moving time-critical communication to a forum everyone can agree is meant to be responded to quickly – instant messaging.

Helps in better data organisation and improves how we manage different versions of documents

The last thing you want for data security and version control is for each of your team members to have their own files saved on their individual computers. By making all your files available in the cloud from any internet-connected computer, SharePoint ensures that there are no excuses when it comes to accessing and working only from a single, authorised copy of a document. You can view the complete version history and co-author content at the same time.

Brings the team closer together and builds team morale

Sharing photos of the team having fun at your last company function, knowing their thoughts on the last post you shared, or simply liking them in Yammer can bring lightness to the day’s work. By bringing social networking into the workplace we get to know our teammates better, and it brings us closer together.

Want these benefits yourself?

If you want to know more about using Yammer, Skype or SharePoint to facilitate collaboration and boost productivity in your business, give is a call.

You too can experience these benefits when you migrate to Office 365; but a successful Office 365 migration requires pre-assessment, planning and proper configuration. You need someone who knows what they’re doing and, at Proactive IT Solutions, we’re not just talking the talk – we’re also walking the walk.

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