Office 365 is so much more than email, but for many companies, email is one of the few apps used in the available suite. That means those companies are missing out on the full benefits of their subscriptions.
These five organization, collaboration, and project management apps come with the Office 365 package and can help your company streamline tasks, build stronger teams, and manage projects more successfully.
Microsoft Teams is a chat-based tool that allows you to access all your Microsoft apps from one location. From this one tool, you can have conversations with coworkers, make calls, set up and host meetings, create project-specific group messages, and share assets like documents, calendars, and emails.
Chat tools like Microsoft Teams reduce the number of internal emails that clog up inboxes, allowing staff to segment their communications and use email to focus on important interactions with clients. It also groups related conversations in one place including storing all the related documents in an easy-to-find repository.
Teams can stay highly-engaged and iterate documents together using the built-in software like Word, Excel, SharePoint, OneNote, and more. With Skype integration and notifications from third-party software like Twitter, Microsoft has created a multifaceted tool that enables staff to communicate and work together in a targeted, streamlined manner.
Microsoft Planner is a project management software that helps teams work more efficiently on coordinating projects and sharing files. The software is similar to Trello with a homepage board with task cards that you can organize into lists.
Each card has a task description and due date and can be assigned team members. Any related files can be attached to the card, and team members can leave comments related to the tasks. The cards can be dragged under different customizable lists, including typical lists like “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Completed.”
In addition to the Board view, there is a Charts view that allows team members to see an overview of the status of various projects and the workload of individual team members. The app includes a schedule view to see how projects overlap, a filtering tool that allows you to see tasks by their due date, and a helpful email notification tool that sends users a task list for the week.
Microsoft Planner can be accessed via mobile apps for on-the-go work progress and is also connected to Microsoft Teams, Project, Flow, and SharePoint for easy collaboration and file sharing across apps. The newest feature is “guest access” which allows outside vendors or partner to access cards and lists, so companies can collaborate more widely without having to purchase a third-party software or set vendors up with internal email addresses.
Microsoft Flow streamlines tasks and business processes through a set of rules that automates workflow across apps. Most jobs have a multitude of repetitive tasks that don’t require a person to perform manually. This is when setting up flows can help expedite the tasks.
For instance, you can set up a flow that sends you a text message when certain people email, creates a lead record when someone posts on social media accounts, saves Twitter search results in an Excel spreadsheet or automatically copies files from one repository to another (like Instagram to Dropbox). There are thousands of existing templates or users can create their own flows by defining trigger events and setting up the steps that Microsoft apps should take following that event.
You can even manage flows from your phone, switching them on or off, checking that they’re running correctly, and getting notifications if there are any problems with the flow that requires troubleshooting (an especially useful feature for time-critical tasks).
Microsoft Delve is a powerful search function across Microsoft apps. With various document-creating apps and cloud storage platforms, it can be hard to find the correct documents across a company’s filing system. With Delve, staff members can quickly search for, find, edit, and favorite documents for easy retrieval.
Using AI-assisted technology, Delve performs a variety of searches into your files and the shared files of the company, to find any data that is available to you. Any private files or files that need additional clearances remain hidden from view, but otherwise, Delve surfaces files and content related to your search, highlighting the work of people in the company you are likely working with and any of the files and projects on which you are collaborating.
Employees can see who is working on documents and what changes they have made, which is a useful tool for collaborating teammates who work remotely. The ability to track changes allows team members to understand where the edits are coming.
For managers, MyAnalytics (previously MyDelve) displays information about employee workflows like how much time is spent on email, in documents, and at what times. This tool helps managers pinpoint potential issues and help employees improve their work processes.
Microsoft StaffHub was built with the retail and hospitality industries in mind. Frontline staff members don’t usually have computers, which makes it difficult to pass along valuable information. A mishmash of bulletin boards, paper schedules, shift meetings, text messages, and phone calls provide updates and information on scheduling changes. Microsoft hopes to change that with StaffHub.
StaffHub handles schedule management, information sharing and integrates with other Microsoft apps and third-party software like Kronos. Managers can create and update team schedules in the app that employees can access via their phone. Employees can then easily swap shifts with others through the mobile app. Shift switch requests are routed through the manager for approval and are quickly updated via the app.
The app’s home screen tells employees what their schedule is, who they’re working with, and any critical company announcements or notes. Managers can also create links in the app that point employees to essential documents, HR systems, or other important management systems that employees may need to access to report their hours or request time off.
During the workday, the messaging system comes in handy for any staff-wide communications or personal messages that need to be sent. Messages to employees can be sent to specific employees if, for instance, there is a need for cleanup on aisle one, the manager can find the appropriate employee’s name, tap on it, and send a message. Employees also have access to this messaging system for information sharing with the manager and fellow employees.
If you’re interested in learning more about how PointClick and our Microsoft Cloud Platform Suite can help your company make the most of your Office 365 subscription, contact us today.