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A constant challenge that businesses face is to meet the ever-growing demands of its stakeholders, whether that be employees, customers or others. A collection of evolving technology designed to match your user’s needs known as the digital workspace is key to evolving the interaction process and maintaining user relationship.

Technology is a major factor in the digital workspace, but ClearPeople believes that the future is one where technology adapts to your needs and abilities, not one where you have to adapt to technology.  

When it comes to business, there is no “one size fits all” model within technology as each company has their own needs and requirements. However, at the core of the Intelligent Workspace, there are factors each business can take to help increase productivity in the modern workspace. ClearPeople has created a fact sheet with 5 different ways in which companies can achieve more in the Intelligent Workspace. 

Using the best collaboration tool for your needs 

 

The marketplace is currently overburden with collaboration tools that companies can use to better increase productivity and efficiency between users. Whilst this is positive and a sign of a growing trend within the technology industry, it can also prove difficult for a company to identify the best collaboration tool and know when to use it.  

The purpose of a collaboration tool can be best described as ‘supporting a group to accomplish a common goal or objective’. In the form of collaborating software, it can be defined as ‘intentional group processes plus software to support them’. Software which provides group-based collaboration across a project can be defined as a collaboration tool in this article. 

First a company needs to decide which tool best moulds into their own requirements and organisational culture. By using a collaboration tool that doesn’t fit the company’s requirements, it can negatively affect collaboration within the company by making it difficult for users to work together or share documents.  

An organisation may use multiple collaboration tools to fit the different requirements within the company. For example, a company may use Microsoft Teams to collaborate on work projects and use Yammer to announce company-wide news. It is vital that companies with multiple collaboration tools set up a governance structure to ensure that their employees know the best tools to utilise for specific scenarios. Without the right governance approach and internal champions to help could result in the loss of documents and a breakdown in collaboration. 


Microsoft Teams Loading


Fostering a culture of collaboration 


After the most relevant collaboration tool has been selected by an organisation, implementing the tool within the business is the next step in the process. Often, a company may bring in a collaboration tool and expect it to make a positive impact immediately, with users hitting the ground running. However, the reality is that an adoption process and user training is required for the tool to be used effectively. Companies should introduce the new collaboration tool to its users with introductory presentations and demonstrations to let the users know how to get the best out of the tool.  

Difficulties can be encountered in the adoption of collaboration tools however. Office 365 allows an organisation to become more collaborated within an organisation but is only effective if the organisation enrols it’s users on an adoption path. By following the Office 365 adoption guide, organisations will have a step-by-step breakdown of how to best implement Office 365 with its users and have a greater impact upon the organisation. ClearPeople has a team of Success Consultants well-versed in adoption tactics. Speak to us today to find out more. 
 

How to use Office 365 


As of the end of 2017, Microsoft Office 365 has over 1.2 billion users and 120 million commercial business users. Office 365 has become indistinguishable with the Intelligent Workspace over the years, with most companies large and small using some version of Office 365 and the tools it possesses. These user counts show how important Office 365 is to the modern workplace. Because Office 365 offers a vast amount of tools used across a business, it can cause confusion deciding which tool to use and when. To help, Microsoft have provided a periodic table for the different Office 365 programmes and has grouped them into sections for appropriate use.  

 
Office 365 periodic table
 

Exchange and Outlook 


One of the most obvious and most used tools within Office 365 to start with is Exchange and Outlook. They are email applications that do everything you would expect. They are best used when a response is not needed immediately or for a longer message. 

Outlook can filter your email received by ‘focused’ and ‘other’. This helps to sort received email further than spam and inbox. Emails can be searched via the search bar at the top and different filters can be used to prioritise emails and how you view them. 

Skype for Business 


Unlike the email applications, Skype for Business is designed to promote real-time communications within the business and offers additional types of communication through its chat feature and call/videoconferencing solutions. 

Skype for Business is best used for immediate response and interaction within collaboration. The instant messaging and calling features provide a quick and easy solution to communicate with someone immediately. Skype for Business is also used for when large video conferences or calls are required. This could be an internal company call with 10 people or an external Skype Meeting Broadcast with up to 10,000 people. The tool also provides an online switchboard service which can be used to manage calls. Microsoft are slowly deprecating the enrolment of Skype for Business however as they push Microsoft Teams as their main collaboration tool, actually including some of its features within Microsoft Teams. 

Yammer 


Yammer is an enterprise social media tool that can be used for social and fluid communication with all users involved. It uses characteristics from notable social media such as a live feed, conversations and posts within a company environment. Despite its social media characteristics, it is usually kept respectful to the company’s culture. 

Yammer is best used to share knowledge with other users, publish news or ask questions. This is not used for immediate response however and conversations can last from a few hours to a few days.  

SharePoint Online 


SharePoint Online is a content hub for an organisation and allows users to work with each other, both internally and with those external to the organisation, in real time to create and share content with other Office 365 applications and OneDrive for Business.  

SharePoint Online allows easy storage, synchronisation and sharing of documents and is best used whenever multiple users are required to collaborate on documents or share them. 

Planner 


As its name suggests, Planner is the Office 365 tool for organising teamwork and online collaboration. Within Planner teams can; create projects, organise, assign and collaborate on tasks, chat about projects, set deadline dates and share files. 

Similarly, to SharePoint Online, Planner is best used when multiple users need to collaborate on documents together. Planner is also used in the early stages, before a project starts so that deadline dates and organisation of the project can be set. 

OneNote 


Through OneNote users can easily take and share notes regarding projects. It is designed to collect, organise and share materials whilst synchronising them with the assigned data. OneNote can be used any time and depends on the users’ requirements for when they take notes or notes are required.  

Microsoft Teams 


Microsoft Teams is currently Office 365’s main collaboration tool that is being used to replace Skype for Business and become more of an ‘all in one’ collaboration tool. Designed to improve communication and collaboration of work teams within a company, Microsoft Teams gathers the calling, chats and video conferencing from Skype, notes from OneNote, Planner, access to content and SharePoint and other features into one common space. 

Microsoft Teams is used for instant interaction, similar to Skype. When a conversation is initiated, a response is expected shortly after and is the primary tool used for project groups collaborating on work.  

 Office 365 Apps

Augment the Environment 


There is an increase in the amount of technologies available in the marketplace. This highlights the positive trend the Intelligent Workspace has in a modern workplace. A modern company may have different tools that are used daily by its users and this proliferation of available tools and apps can 

become confusing and difficult for users to monitor and manage. By augmenting and simplifying a company’s digital environment, users can access tools easier, know which tool to use for the requirement and introduce new applications that may prove as a better solution to the current ones. 

Group Explorer is a launchpad tool used to access all of the collaboration tools across Microsoft Office 365. By accessing the Group Explorer tool, the user can search for groups and teams they are involved in and even those they are not a part of across Outlook, SharePoint, Planner, Yammer and Microsoft Teams. It provides an easy method to search for specific groups or conversations from a singular location. It is especially useful for finding a group, team or conversation that the user may have forgotten which application it was in or if they require information from an old conversation and can no longer find it. 

The Group Explorer tool is an example of augmenting the environment to provide an easier and faster process for users, thus achieving more in the Intelligent Workspace. 

 
GX search results
 

Monitor and Understand 


Getting a new digital workspace up and running can be seen as a success for the stakeholders involved. The definition of success varies from company to company with each having their own objectives that determine success. To truly measure what your digital workspace achieves, the company will need to monitor its success to determine how effective it has been. Tools such as MyAnalytics, a tool by Microsoft, monitors a user’s weekly work time and provides how long a user is spent collaborating with others along with the individual time they have outside of collaborating with others or meetings. This provides an easy and measurable tracking of success. We also work with tyGraph, an award-winning suite of reporting and analytics tools for Office 365 where each product delivers actionable insights which enhance collaboration. 

ClearPeople’s Success Services looks at an organisation’s infrastructure and helps the company to introduce, integrate and continually develop its Office 365 digital workspace. This allows the company to leverage the full extent of Office 365 to support the business objectives. As a result, we can help organisations translate data and results into actionable insight to pave way for UX and functionality enhancements. Contact us to organise a Shape of Success Workshop in which one of our consultants will join the team to provide training and advice on Office 365 technologies. Afterwards you’ll receive a report with recommendations on how to maximise your current investments. 

 
References 

https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-office-365-now-has-120-million-business-users/  

Author bio

Petula Aardenburg
Petula Aardenburg
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
I work within the Sales and Marketing Team. My day consists of a variety of tasks from keeping our customer database up to date to handling sales enquiries and assisting with the preparation of proposals and presentations. In my spare time, I love to cook. Also, I’m a real animal friend!

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