Consolidated View of Office 365

You bought Office 365 and received, as a part of your licence, additional tools that you may be familiar with only by name such as: –

  • To-Do
  • Microsoft Forms
  • Stream for Office 365
  • Microsoft StaffHub
  • Flow for Office 365
  • Microsoft Planner
  • Sway

These tools, often neglected, can mean a significant change in terms of your business and additionally raise value of the companies already using Office 365.

Over the last couple of years, Microsoft has enriched the set of tools, which are included free of charge by the way, in most Office 365 licences. Unfortunately, users often circumvent such tools mainly because they are not familiar with their purpose.

Which is why this training is moving from a traditional product-centric approach to these tools to a solution-centric approach, by showing you how these tools can come together in various collaboration cases.

We’ll also delve into collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups.

Microsoft To-Do – Always be up to the task

Microsoft To-Do, which is available on the web, iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices, is an application that lets you create simple to-do lists, set reminders and keep track of projects.

Although not a collaboration tool, one of exceptionally useful options in To-Do is the “My Day” feature, which encourages users to focus on daily tasks. The application is connected to Office 365 and offers built-in integration with Outlook along with other Office applications. An intelligent suggestions feature is integrated to recommend tasks for each new day based on previous items or old entries.

A fantastic tool allowing project team members to always be on track in their tasks.

Microsoft Forms – Quickly and easily create surveys, quizzes and polls

Microsoft Forms is a simple tool that lets you know what your clients think about your products/services, measure employee satisfaction and organize team events. When we say simple, we really mean it – you can create a survey in minutes, and respondents can fill it out on any browser without having to install a separate application.

Survey, quiz and poll results are all available in real-time. What you need to do is just navigate to the Responses tab, where you will find auto-generated charts for instant data visualization. You can also open all results in Excel with a single click if you need a more detailed analysis.

You can also personalize surveys by changing themes or adding your company logo. The result? Attractive material prepared without much effort. After you create the material, just send out a link to your survey and it will adapt to every screen, making it easy for respondents to fill it out on the go.

Now imagine this, you have a new product in the pipeline. You have a pilot team of customers testing it and you want dynamic feedback. Create a survey using Microsoft Forms and by integrating with Microsoft Flow, you will have the survey results delivered to your email.

Stream for Office 365 – Never better video content

Microsoft Stream is a tool for uploading, sharing, managing, and viewing corporate videos that can be used for education, training, and information sharing.

Microsoft Stream basically lets you set up a YouTube-like service in your organization and integrate with SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, and Office 365 Groups. So business owners can share corporate update videos with employees in Yammer, product team members can share product demo videos in Microsoft Teams and Office 365 groups and so on.

Microsoft StaffHub – Superior work coordination

There are estimated over 500-million employees working in retail stores, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing and other service-related industries. These employees typically do not have their own office, desk or computer, which makes it hard to access and share business information. As a result, they rely on manual processes and outdated tools – creation and printing of shift schedules, bulletin boards crammed with notes and numerous phone calls and text messages to cover shifts. Microsoft has offered a solution.

Microsoft StaffHub enables managers to easily create, update, and manage shift schedules for their team.

Employees have access to all their shift information, including the ability to easily swap shifts with others right from the Microsoft StaffHub mobile application.

When schedule conflicts come up, Microsoft StaffHub makes it easy to swap a shift or offer a shift to someone else. Requests are always routed to the manager for approval, and updates and notifications are automatically sent to the team.

With Microsoft StaffHub, managers can quickly distribute important information (corporate standards, bulletins, news, and videos) to the members of their team. They can also send instant messages – for example, to let an employee know that “lights in the lobby went off” or “the regional manager is arriving in 15 minutes.” Employees can also send messages directly to each other or to the entire workgroup.

Flow for Office 365 – Let the work flow smoothly

Microsoft Flow allows you to automate business processes by building workflows based on certain actions. For example, once a new entry is added to the SharePoint list, you can send an email to the user asking a review or, when a file is transferred to the document library, an email will be sent to your manager asking for an approval/feedback of the document.

Microsoft Flow employs a graphical user interface that allows building workflows almost the same way you would be building them in Visio. What makes the Microsoft Flow simple is that your workflow can interact with other applications like Dropbox, Twitter, SharePoint, and OneDrive.

Microsoft Planner – Always be informed

This tool is best described as a teamwork organizing tool. 

Just like how Microsoft To-Do allows a project team member to organize his/her tasks, Microsoft Planner allows teams to create plans, organize and assign tasks to different users, and monitor progress through control tables, all in a single app. It also provides a centralized spot for file sharing and comprehensive overview of teamwork.

Office 365 Planner is closely connected with Office 365 groups. Each time you create a new plan, you automatically create a new Office 365 group (and the other way round).

Sway – Presentations that leave you breathless

If you are a fan of PowerPoint, you will certainly find interest in Sway: Microsoft’s latest tool that you can use to create and share presentations like never before! Here is what you should know about this digital tool.

Sway is a free app from Microsoft Office that helps you gather, format, and share reports, newsletters, web pages, and other media content as well as interactive presentations of content that looks great on almost any screen or platform. With Sway, you can use videos or interactive reports to engage your audience like never before.

This tool is more than ideal for those who want to create attractive PowerPoint presentations, for example, a dynamic corporate profile or a new product presentation or tabling your business report. Sway does all the formatting, chooses the themes, fonts, and sets the variety of other features. All you have to do is put in your presentation content – the app will take care of the rest.

You can add content from your organization SharePoint libraries, OneDrive shares, even your social media accounts like Flicker, YouTube, Bing and more.

One of the best features of Sway is quick and easy sharing of your presentations with other users, even if Sway or Office 365 is not installed on their devices. All you need to do is send a link to presentation and, when needed, adjust the privacy settings to control which recipients can access the content and edit it.

Microsoft Teams: Putting the Team Back in TEAMWORK

According to Microsoft, “Microsoft Teams is the chat-based workspace in Office 365 that integrates all the people, content, and tools your team needs to be more engaged and effective.

Microsoft Teams runs on any platform, Windows, macOS, iOS and Android.

Being a training advocate, we focus on User Adoption, Change Management, Training, and all those other cool “people-centric” processes. We’ve seen our fair share of failure in IT projects because users really struggle to adopt systems when they have to navigate to different places to do what they have to do.

In the past, users have had SharePoint to store their documents, Outlook to access their emails, Skype to communicate and meet online, Office apps, and other CRM / ERP systems they might have had to use. Add all the documents on their desktop and you end up with chaos everywhere. Users simply refused to navigate to the browser to open SharePoint and upload documents there as well, you couldn’t really blame them either as it was quite tedious.

All of that has changed. How?

Microsoft Teams introduced a desktop app, where users can add, customize, and find everything they need in one place.

You can see the latest activity related to you, including mentions, replies, teams you’ve been added to, and more.

You can have direct conversations with team members/other users with chat, video, and voice-calling functionalities.

You can view your own Outlook calendar, as well as the calendars from the various Teams you belong to.

You can find all the files you work with from within Teams. These files can be in SharePoint, OneDrive and even other storage locations. Any files shared within your channels (attached to conversations) will be placed in the corresponding folder in your SharePoint document library, which is deployed when the Team is created.

What are the business cases for Teams? This is where the real magic happens. Teams can be used for pretty much anything, but it’s important that you understand what happens when you create one.

Imagine these business scenarios:

 You have a group of people who share files regularly, co-author documents, and hold Skype conversations, calls, and meetings. Should you create a Team? Absolutely.

You share files with a group of managers once a month. The files are in PDF format and are for informational purposes only. It’s not really the platform where we collaborate around the documents. Should you create a Team? Depends, but it would be better to have a shared folder on OneDrive for Business.

Your department needs a place where you all can share ideas, work together, and find content. Would Teams work? Absolutely.

When you create a Team, it creates a SharePoint Site Collection in the background using the Team Site Template. It also creates an Office 365 Group for that team (i.e. Shared Mailbox, Calendar, Permissions, Distribution List), OneNote, and Planner.

So you pretty much focus on only 1 app for your collaboration, Microsoft Teams.