Here we are! 2021! We got off to a bumpy start, but I believe there is reason to be hopeful for a fantastic year! As we move into 2021 and look at the technology landscape of Microsoft 365, we have a lot of companies who have suddenly been thrust into the cloud. Some just did the bare minimum to get by while others opened up a whole new world to their user and the dust is still settling.
If you are using Microsoft 365 or plan on moving to the cloud in 2021 there are 5 behaviors that organizations should embrace to get the most return out of your investment in the platform.
1. Really Embrace Microsoft Teams
You've probably deployed Teams by now, but have you really embraced it? I mean REALLY embraced it. It would be great to see more organizations dive in and take more advantage of it.
Roll it out Corporation Wide
Microsoft Teams capabilities reach beyond that of the traditional office worker. There are a number of great features for your organization's desk-less firstline workers. Features such as Shifts and Staff Hub as well as dolling out the ability for everyone in the organization to be able to have access to the information they need just when they need it. Now that's a modern, effective, and efficient workplace!
Use the Mobile App
The mobile app experience is one that again everyone should have the pleasure of enjoying. Let your users install it on their phones. Utilize security and compliance features to minimize any security worries that may ail you.
There are so many features in Teams! PLEASE STOP blocking apps that will increase productivity and enable engagement. This is the beauty of Teams. You can:
Post news and announcements to Teams,
Link to your Intranet,
Deploy apps that are designed to show your workforce what they need to see, not just to do their job, but do it well.
Teams is a one-stop-shop for many organizations, where employees start and end their day.
Stop Sending Email
Before you open up outlook, let's stop and ask ourselves. Is email really the best method of communicating? Try sending messages and communicating via Teams to streamline internal communication. In 6 months time when you need to find that needle in a haystack, you know that one contract, and you found it in seconds. Is having a zero inbox really a better feeling than being able to locate the information you needed when you needed it? Take the first step and try it.
2. Adopt the Power Platform with Gusto
Many organizations are starting to open up the use of the Power Platform to IT while some users are tepid with encouraging broad usage. Organizations are worried about loss of control and don’t feel equipped to handle the mudslide of support calls that are sure to come. Here’s the thing though, the good SO outweighs the bad.
Take the Burden Off IT
What’s the backlog like for your enterprise development staff? 6 months? Longer? Are people getting frustrated and angry?
Stop blocking the usage of Power Apps and Power Automate because it’s not the tool your Enterprise Apps group is using. Let your developers focus on the business critical applications and line of business integrations. Let your users create those forms and workflows today. By doing so they will be able to remove some of the minutia from IT and start to get real work done. The beauty of the admin portal is that you can keep an eye on what’s being deployed and you have the ability to export those Power Apps and Power Automate Flows and put them in source control to give you a warm fuzzy.
You Can do So Much Stuff!
I promise you, once you let your workforce use the Power Platform you will be amazed at the things they can come up with. The entire platform just keeps getting more and more powerful and new features are added all the time. Plus, there’s SO much content on the internet now that people can easily find the answers to their questions on how to create features.
I know a major concern is that IT will have to support whatever crazy program someone develops. Here’s the thing, no you don’t! The people that make the effort to learn and implement Power Apps and Power Automate will also be good about finding solutions to their problems, especially if you have a governance policy around support for things not created by IT.
Give it a shot.
3. Dip Your Toes into AI and Bots
Did I mention it’s 2021? If this were the movies Skynet would have become self-aware years ago. AI and Bot technology have really come a long way and 2021 is the perfect year to get started, if you haven’t thought about it yet.
It is insanely easy to get started creating bots. You can use things like QnA Maker and most Microsoft 365 customers can deploy a bot to Teams using Power Virtual Agents for Teams without writing a line of code or needing any additional licensing.
Next look at Microsoft Translator to automatically translate text from any number of sources and computer vision to tag and categorize your images. All without having to write any code.
4. Invest in Planning
This phrase has been communicated time and time again; A failure to plan is a plan to fail. You won't know what may be in the road ahead, if you don't take the time to invest and investigate on how you are going to achieve your goal. Another important factor of investing in planning upfront is saving money in the long run. Saving your organization from those "surprise" costs that should have been avoided. Planning also helps with adoption of not just the technology, but the intended use of the technology.
Again, because this is one that seems to need to be repeated, invest up front in planning, it will save you in the end by:
Uncovering what you are not currently aware of
Save the company from surprise expenses
Increase adoption of all that encompasses the technology (this includes communicating the intended purpose and linking that with goals).
5. Get Educated!
Chances are you’ve barely scratched the surface with all the tools and features available to you in Microsoft 365.
Check out some of our previously recorded sessions available on our PAIT Group YouTube Channel. Our videos includes topics not only on SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, but also Forms, Planner, To-Do, and so many more. Here is a direct link to the specific Illuminate M365 playlist.
Take the time to learn what’s available to you or bring up the subject of Corporate Training to your organization. Reach out to our team and ask about our Customizable Corporate Training Offerings. This will help you not only understand you, but help the organization as a whole be ready for the future. We are happy to help you get better acquainted with the tools available right at your finger tips.