On Thursday, 02/05/19, we had our first Brekkie Power-Hour session, which are monthly 1-hour events where a small group of people discuss different IT related topics (more info here). For this first session, the topic was “The hidden gems of Office 365” and we covered some apps that most businesses already have as part of their Office 365 subscription, however, have been underutilised.
It was a great start! The event was “sold out” within a few days and we had a full house – only 10 people as we want to keep it small to maximise collaboration and learning experience. Everyone shared a bit of what they are doing in their business, the challenges they experience, and we discussed technologies they didn’t know was available to them.
If you missed out, it’s ok! We’ll dig in to the main points covered today.
Most people have either migrated to Office 365 or are considering migrating in the near future. There are many subscription options to choose from, however, many businesses go for Office 365 Business Premium or E3. Business Premium gives you the entire Office 365 suite + Exchange + SharePoint + OneDrive + Teams and other apps. Check some Office 365 package options here.
There are many apps within Office 365 that users don’t know about and that could be leveraged to improve collaboration, productivity and efficiency within the business.
From 10 people in the room, just 1 business used it and not many were aware of it. So, what is it?
In Nick Hughes’ words, Bremmar’s Client Manager and the presenter, it’s like a corporate YouTube account. It’s a way to record and store all sorts of videos for the organisation. You can also use it for streaming live presentations or meetings, however, at Bremmar we use Skype or Teams for that purpose. We do use Stream to record things like Lunch & Learns that need to be saved and shared with the entire company.
- Onboarding / induction videos
- Corporate events and team building videos
- OH&S instructions – sharing important tips with remote workers
Stream gives you useful analytics, such as who has watched the videos. It also works in mobile devices and can be integrated with all other Office 365 apps – especially if you want to embed the latest videos or inductions on your SharePoint homepage!
Similar to Trello, in a way, Planner helps you organise and plan your work across multiple teams and departments. At Bremmar, we use it for the Management Team to track quarterly KPI’s and objectives, however, it can be easily used by people who like to follow lists and tick off their daily to-do tasks.
- General task planning and organisation tool
- KPI’s and objectives across departments
- Project management and planning with the need to assign people to different tasks
You can integrate Planner with Microsoft Teams, which means that you can have tasks, conversations and files about a project or topic in one single location. Planner also lets you add links to SharePoint documents and OneNote Notebooks or pages, which is great if you are working on a specific task and need to find the resources related to it!
You probably have Planner with your Office 365 licence, which means that you can switch other project management / planning paid products, like Trello, to Planner and eliminate that extra monthly cost!
Looking to be more efficient and be able to eliminate manual handling of data for some processes? This is for you. Automate business processes by building workflows based on triggers and actions across multiple applications.
- Automate lengthy approval processes
- Policies and procedures
- Leave forms (or any sort of HR form)
- Notifications and reminders
- Compliance – reviewing documents for audits (reminders and approvals)
The sky is the limit here. Microsoft has already developed many templates that you can just apply to your own business, however, Flow integrates with more than 200 apps making pretty much any sort of automation possible. These workflows can be created and owned only by the IT department and shared with the business or be open to every user to create their own. Information can be secured by permissions – for example, a user won’t be able to create a workflow with a document he/she doesn’t have access to.
The idea of PowerApps is to enable “non-developers” to build custom apps with minimal coding. Need something specific for your company that doesn’t yet exist? Want to create more efficient systems and processes? PowerApps can help. This is a powerful product that can help you achieve many businesses objectives, however, it’s important to keep in mind that is a slightly complex tool to get your head around and projects in this area can be sometimes costly.
- Incident reporting (or any sort of reporting)
- Expense tracking (or any sort of tracking)
- Compliance check
- Job site inspection
Same as Microsoft Flow, your creativity will determine your success! This powerful tool can create pretty much any sort of app, so depending on your needs you can go as simple or complex as you want. It integrates with most other Office 365 apps and it works perfectly on mobile – it even has its own mobile app.
MFA – Two factor authentication
Security should be at the core of every conversation. During the discussions, so many examples were given about security breaches and attacks that have heavily impacted some organisations. Luckily, Microsoft Office 365 has an option to add another level of security to their users. MFA stands for multifactor authentication, which means that when logging into Office 365 you also need to add a code that is sent to you by message, email or phone call.
- Roll out to everyone that uses any type of mobile device (including laptops and iPads) for work purposes
- Have a 2-step verification when signing in to your Office 365 account
- Avoid relying solely on password protection
What’s the point of having security solutions if people don’t use it? The great thing about MFA is that you can see who in your business has enabled it and go down to the granular level. This way, you know your business is protected. At Bremmar, it’s our policy to have MFA enabled for all employees and on all devices.
That’s it. A bit of a summary of the valuable discussions we had during the first session. This first session covered high-level points about Office 365, however, in future sessions we’ll aim to discuss specific products in more depth.
If you missed out on this one, stay tuned and be quick to book your space! Emails with the next event and invite will go out next week! For now, here’s an overview of Office 365 which adds to the points above:
Book a consultation to discuss your Office 365 needs!
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