The benefits of SharePoint for intranet are proven – especially if you use best practice

How Aged Care providers can benefit from an intranet

The power of an intranet lies in its ability to create a central hub to store information and resources. The hub can be accessed easily and securely from any device with a web browser.

Information and resources on the intranet have two important functions:

  • To help staff access corporate resources in their daily activities so they can stay on top of their work
  • Support a cohesive culture so that everyone is on the same page

In their daily activities for example, staff can securely access work documents, applications and key systems. They can also access directories such as a corporate calendar, policies and procedures, employee details search, and more.

Another key work feature is the ability to set up dynamic lists and workflows. These could span anything from:

  • Care management
  • Logging facility requests and approvals
  • Submitting incident reports
  • Tracking complaints and compliments
  • Tracking assets

The cultural aspect is equally important. Every organisation, including those in Aged Care, need their teams to pull together. The organisation benefits, and so do staff when they understand and work toward the same goals.

A central hub on the intranet can be used to share the latest news, videos, announcements, or any other information that fosters staff involvement and morale.

An Aged Care provider created a feedback loop on their SharePoint intranet to promote closer staff engagement. Staff now post compliments received from residents on the Southcare intranet to create a more positive culture.

You can find out more about SharePoint features and functions with the key takeaways from our recent webinar, Leveraging SharePoint for intranets, digital forms and business processes automation. Link to https://bremmar.com.au/digitise-processes-microsoft-forms-sharepoint-power-automate/

Why the new SharePoint is the best intranet

Microsoft Office SharePoint services set the gold standard in intranets. SharePoint now delivers a simple, intuitive experience combined with practical features to empower the way you work today. Which is no doubt why Microsoft calls it the SharePoint modern experience.

We chose SharePoint as the platform to host all of our control documents and our document management system. The intranet hub was designed to be a holistic and all-encompassing framework so that staff had access to all of the links, tools, documents and systems they required. Over time, we continuously improved and expanded it to become a one stop shop for content and communication.
Enda Fahy, Chief Finance Officer, Southcare.

Here are some of the reasons why you’ll love SharePoint intranet:

It gives you choice. Microsoft SharePoint offers many options covering site templates, page layout, inbuilt web functions, governance and more. Just choose the features you want.

Close integration with Microsoft tools. SharePoint will connect seamlessly to apps like OneDrive, Yammer and Teams. You can easily keep your SharePoint intranet up to date through these links, so information never needs to go stale.

SharePoint can flex with change. SharePoint is so flexible, you can easily add or remove capabilities, or even customise them to reflect changes in your organisation.

Publish a variety of content. SharePoint is a brilliant management tool for multiple content types. Plus, sophisticated in-built capabilities ensure content is accurate and suitable.

Improve document sharing. SharePoint is where your documents are kept. Even collaboration tools like Teams store files there. Having one central repository for documents with the certainty of version control is invaluable for collaboration.

A better experience. Microsoft haven’t just made improvements under the bonnet, they’ve really focused on user experience. It’s now very intuitive compared to the old SharePoint, and you don’t need IT skills to get the most from it.

SharePoint is here for the long haul. Microsoft definitely see SharePoint as a platform for the future. They continue to invest in it, which means you can be confident it will be supported, and can take advantage of new features as they’re released.

How can you get Microsoft SharePoint intranet?

SharePoint intranet is included with a Microsoft 365 licence. If you’re already using M365, chances are you already have access to SharePoint.

How Bremmar help Aged Care providers use SharePoint as an intranet

Bremmar offer a tried and tested methodology in setting up SharePoint as an intranet site:

  • We start with an industry-specific demonstration, showing how other Aged Care providers are using SharePoint so you understand what’s possible
  • Next, a discovery session to identify your specific business objectives. This will determine the scope and focus of the solution including the features you need. We will also define the potential business outcomes.
  • We help select a champion user – your internal owner for the site – and include them in the process. We also help with internal communications and change management processes.
  • We develop a proof of concept and demonstrate proof of value
  • We progressively develop and deliver the project in clearly defined stages, incorporating your feedback in the process.
  • We hand over SharePoint to the champion user and train them in best practice.

Our top tips for a successful SharePoint intranet project

Bremmar have set up SharePoint intranet for many Aged Care providers so we know the best approach to take. The most important thing is to make SharePoint intranet services relevant and convenient so they deliver value to the organisation and employees. Here are our top four tips for a successful SharePoint deployment.

1. Make sure you don’t overcomplicate matters. The simpler it is to use, the more people will use it, and the easier it is to keep up to date.

2. Designate a champion user for the intranet – someone who will take responsibility for it. A champion user should be involved in:

  • Demonstrations
  • New ideas
  • Implementing iterations
  • Training other staff
  • Progressing the solution after implementation

3. Use a template that suits your industry to reduce setup time. Microsoft provides basic templates, but Bremmar has designed templates specifically for the Aged Care industry.

4. Make the SharePoint homepage a launch pad for multiple services. Providing a central point of access to key systems and information via SharePoint will make sure it stays useful. It’s also advisable to have a single sign-on, so staff have the convenience of one log-in.

How SharePoint supports digital transformation in Aged Care

In our Aged Care eBook: Why Digital Transformation is needed to improve Australia’s Aged Care system, we discuss how digitisation is vital in meeting industry reforms. Identifying and adopting relevant digital technologies is a key step to meet current Aged Care Quality Standards. These include:

  • Consumer dignity and choice
  • Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
  • Personal care and clinical care
  • Services and support for daily living
  • The organisation’s service environment
  • Feedback and complaints
  • Human resources
  • Organisational governance

Setting up SharePoint intranet best practices alone will go a long way in meeting all of these quality standards. This can be achieved through:

  • A centralised document hub with auditing and logging
  • Accessibility to up-to-date data
  • Efficient communication inside the organisation
  • Automation of forms, incident reports, surveys through triggers, and workflows
  • Online training and collaboration.

In fact, Microsoft Office SharePoint services can be one of the most valuable steps in your digital transformation journey.

See how going digital can boost your performance

Take our Aged Care Assessment to see how your organisation is doing. It takes less than five minutes to complete. It will give you a picture of what aspects of ICT integration you’re on top of, where you may need to take urgent action, and what a long-term digital transformation plan might look like for your organisation.
And if you’ve got any questions regarding SharePoint Intranet or your IT in general, we can put you in contact with one of our Aged care experts!

Looking to automate key processes? SharePoint and the Microsoft Power Platform can transform the way you digitise your business processes.

In our recent webinar, Leveraging SharePoint for intranets, digital forms and business processes automation, we spoke with Perth Aged Care and community services organisation Southcare, about their journey with SharePoint and business process automation.

Here are the four key talking points from the discussion:

1. Involve your team in the journey and identify a champion user

Adjusting to new digital workflows can be a tricky task. It requires a collaborative approach that’s underpinned by the right support and tools.

This is where champion users become vital.

Bremmar Managing Director, Brenton Harris, explains how this has helped their clients.

‘When we look at these changes that organisations want to make – there’s a lot of knowledge required to implement them. You need to understand the tools, the processes revolving around them, change management factors, communication and training. We’ve found our greatest success hasn’t come through simply engaging technical support and deploying new workflows, it requires the inclusion of some champion users in the process.’

Finding collaborative users who understand your organisational systems, are interested in improving workflows, and can communicate with others will help you build solid foundations.

As champion users, they should be involved in areas such as the following:

  • Demonstrations
  • New ideas
  • Implementing iterations
  • Training other staff
  • Progressing the solution after implementation

By slowing the process down and identifying the ideal champion user, any organisation can see a vast improvement in adoption rates. With these users working alongside a Microsoft 365 specialist from day one, it’s easier to gather more robust input upfront that aids ongoing workflow improvement and overall success.

2. Streamline your digital workflows with Microsoft 365

Automating your business processes and boosting your productivity and efficiency doesn’t need to be complex. Often, a simple workflow yields a significant uptick in organisational collaboration and satisfaction.

The Microsoft 365 apps, SharePoint, Forms and Power Automate enable you to streamline workflows with only minimal training required. Staff are able to consistently stay up-to-date with processes, evolving business goals, and governance requirements – key factors in maintaining a modern NFP or Aged Care organisation.

Brenton explains how this may assist after an employee incident.

‘Incidents that happen on-site or at head office need to be recorded as soon as possible to avoid any errors. Microsoft Forms allows the staff member to input information on the spot and using any device.  When the information is collected, Microsoft Power Automate then triggers a set workflow. Depending on the conditions set, this workflow could be a notification to a line manager, a preventive action, or a summary of the incident sent to stakeholders. SharePoint then stores all of this information in the intranet for tracking and reporting’

Here’s a deeper look at the Microsoft 365 tools.

MS Forms

A simple yet powerful way to collect information using an online form on almost any web browser or mobile device. View real-time results as they’re submitted and use built-in analytics to evaluate responses. Intuitive and accessible, forms data can be stored in SharePoint and used in workflows, allowing care staff to collect incident information and immediately begin any workflow processes.

Power Automate

Power Automate expands your automation capabilities across desktop, web, and mobile by streamlining repetitive tasks and paperless processes. By automatically triggering any required workflow, it allows you to shorten response times and eases system congestion. Regardless of who needs to be notified, Power Automate collates all your data collected via Forms to set up the exact workflows, automations and notifications you need.

SharePoint

The database underpinning the whole solution is SharePoint. Southcare uses the platform as an Intranet to provide a central information hub for all employees and as a document management system to store, organise, share, and access information – both current and historical. This flexibility offers a powerful analytical perspective that can shape future automations and workflow processes.

3. Strengthen communication using a centralised SharePoint intranet

Most NFPs and Aged Care providers have too many systems for users to get across. With a disparate collection of logins and data hubs, staying on top of core information – including policies and procedures – can be an arduous experience.

In the case of Southcare, this decentralised information combined with the need to reduce systems reliance on the head office to make processes more streamlined for front line workers became a key service delivery challenge and they teamed up with Bremmar to find the right solution.

Deploying SharePoint as a central cloud data repository, Southcare has been able to streamline its intranet into a cost effective tool that allows all staff, whether on-site or in the field, to access the systems and key information they require from any device. This SharePoint intranet is now used to:

  • Provide all staff access to a central communications hub from computers or tablets
  • Store controlled documents including policies, procedures & forms with version control functionality
  • Store training and guide documents
  • Consolidate access to HR hub and department site gateway
  • Streamline access to commonly used apps via a single sign-on
  • Post Southcare snippets celebrating their community and culture

Enda Fahy, Southcare’s Chief Finance Officer, notes that the new intranet has been a success for the business.

“We chose SharePoint as the platform to host all of our control documents and our document management system. The intranet hub was designed to be a holistic and all encompassing framework so that staff had access to all of the links, tools, documents and systems they required. Over time, we continuously improved and expanded it to become a one stop shop for content and communication” Enda explains.

4. Implement best practices for data input, collection and automation

Overcoming the inefficiencies of a multi-step process is an essential component in implementing best practices for data input, collection and automation.

But how does this look when considering front-line workers?

Southcare CFO, Enda Fahy explains, “We were using SurveyMonkey for our forms, but ran into severe limitations. We needed something that was flexible and user-friendly. That’s when we made the decision to try Microsoft Forms that we had available in our Microsoft 365 licensing.”

Here’s how Southcare used MS Forms, SharePoint and Power Automate to solve their data collection and workflow problems.

Incident reporting

Southcare currently uses Microsoft Forms to assist with a broad spectrum of employee incidents and reports. This new streamlined process allows incidents to be recorded by all staff on any device. Once a report has been logged, the safety committee is automatically notified, allowing the Line Manager to immediately complete the investigation via a link.

Contact tracing

With the unprecedented requirements of nationwide contact tracing thrust upon Aged Care providers, keeping up with all visitors and staff during the COVID pandemic became near impossible. Microsoft Forms and SharePoint solves this by providing a centralised location for tracing and response. This new process allows users to identify any declarations and follow up instantly, giving facilities a greater ability to track contact details and locations visited, while also providing central visibility to the live visitor list via the cloud.

Archive deletion and automation

Data sprawl can cause a lot of headaches for any organisation. Without an automated archive and deletion process, unwanted files or documents can prove to be a drag on your processes and resources. Using SharePoint and Power Automate, you can bring all of your metadata into one site, providing control of the archive date, retention of archived files and the ability to only view current and relevant files.

Power virtual agents

Supporting staff whenever they encounter a problem is essential for any community minded organisation. Unfortunately, easy access to help with daily problems isn’t always available. Making the most of SharePoint as a data hub, Southcare staff have access to a 24×7 chatbot that can help solve simple issues. The chatbot points the users to information on the intranet to help with common problems, while those questions that are not answered online are redirected to a human with a prompt on the next step to take, further enhancing the use of SharePoint and Teams for care workers.

Bremmar, your M365 partner

Interested in learning more about how your organisation can leverage SharePoint, Forms and Power Automate to overcome productivity loss, escalating operational costs, inefficient data collection and cumbersome processes?

Here at Bremmar, we’re experts in assisting Not-For-Profits and Aged Care providers with customised solutions using the Microsoft platform. So, if you’d like some support anywhere on your Microsoft 365 journey, we’d love to help.

Unsure about the next steps on your Microsoft 365 journey? For a limited time, Bremmar is offering our Microsoft Roadmap Workshop or Business Process Consultation at no cost for Not-For-Profit and Aged Care organisations. These consultations help to provide your organisation with:

  • Better understanding of your business systems requirements
  • Scope and consulting approach to address these requirements
  • A fully tailored demonstration and clearer vision for your future processes

How we helped the Y WA (formerly YMCA WA) continue their great work throughout COVID-19.

the Y WA is a not-for-profit organisation involved in youth services, childcare, wellness and community services. the Y WA has over 600 staff members around the State. The organisation provides opportunities for children and young people to help them grow in body, mind and spirit.

Business Challenge

the Y WA previously conducted video meetings via Skype For Business, which was sufficient for small meetings, but was outdated, not suitable for large groups, and no longer supported with upgrades. Critically, the Skype platform had limitations for sharing documents in a live meeting, and follow-up emails were often required to attach relevant documents from local servers.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing staff to work from home, the organisation needed a robust solution to allow everyone to collaborate and continue their important work.

The solution

The Bremmar team had been working with the Y WA for around 3 years, and understood how the organisation worked.

The solution was to unleash the power of the software the organisation already owned. Microsoft Teams is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, so it meant this not-for-profit organisation didn’t need to invest in expensive video conferencing systems.

Teams allows video meetings over any device (mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop computers) for groups from 2 people to 10,000. Importantly, it lets everyone in the meeting access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real time. This makes meetings very productive.

The Teams solution meant that the organisation could leverage the Microsoft Cloud they already had. The Microsoft Cloud allows staff in remote areas and all over the State to easily access the documents they needed from one central location.

Teams was initially set up for the Senior Leadership Team to facilitate monthly meetings and track monthly objectives.

Bremmar set up the Microsoft Teams group and added tabs to make it easy to integrate other useful programs including Planner and OneNote. Bremmar also provided training for the initial group, to get them started.

The results

the Y WA found Teams invaluable for conducting crisis meetings and working from home during the pandemic. The ability for multiple people to edit the same document in real-time meant that the organisation could work rapidly to solve issues.

the Y WA Finance Manager, Frances Steen, reported there was some initial nervousness about change, but once managers started using Teams, there was no going back. “People started enjoying meetings, and the ability to change background images made it all a bit more fun during challenging times.”

As the entire organisation changes over to MS Teams, the Y WA will take more advantage of the collaboration tools and will reduce the expense and inconvenience of travel around the State for face-to-face meetings.

How can we help you?

Bremmar are experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes. As accredited Microsoft Gold Productivity Partners, we can help you and your team leverage the power of the Microsoft 365 Stack to work smarter.

We manage IT services for a number of NFP, Aged Care, Engineering, Mining and Construction organisations and understand the unique needs of these sectors. Why not set up an initial meeting to learn more? Call us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

To find out more about the Y WA, visit https://www.ymcawa.org.au/

Book a Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! ???

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3 characteristics that define the modern workplace – Infographic

Today’s diverse and intergenerational workforce is most productive when it has adequate channels to collaborate in a seamless and effective way. There’s a catch, however: teams are far more diverse and remote than ever before, and each organisation requires its own distinct approach to digital collaboration. In other words, your workplace tools and applications must be customised based on your teams’ diversity, location, and work methods.

With this infographic, you’ll learn about the three main characteristics that define our modern workplace and gain insight into what drives productivity and efficiency in today’s organisations. After reading it, you’ll have a better understanding of current trends and can keep these in mind when creating or modifying your organisation’s work environment.

3 characteristics that define the modern workplace infographic

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We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! 👇👇👇

Remote working productivity technology

The 4 defining characteristics of effective digital workspaces

Not so long ago, it was believed that for teams to be productive, they required long hours confined in a physical office space with constant face-to-face interaction. To be fair, given the primitive state of digital collaboration tools at the time—which was pretty much limited to emails—there wasn’t really a solid alternative to this scheme, so companies worked with what they had.

Today, digitalization has made it possible for several people to seamlessly work together while being halfway across the world from each other. Exponential advancements in virtual workspaces have not only enabled teams to work as well as they did when they spent all day in the office, but have also proven that people are actually more productive the less they have to deal with alienating cubicles and two-way trips along traffic-congested highways.

Not all digital workspaces have been equally effective, however. Yet decades of iterating and optimizing have finally given us a solid idea of the most important characteristics these spaces must have to reach their full potential.

So what are they? Read this infographic to find out.

The 4 defining characteristics of effective digital workspaces

(Click to expand)

We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! ???

Remote working productivity technology

Empower your entire organisation with Microsoft Teams – Infographic

You’ve just arrived at the office, booted up your computer or laptop, and filled your first cup of coffee. You sit back down, take a sip, and what do you see? Chances are it’s a login screen. Hastily, you type in your username and password and get on with a productive day.

At least that was the idea, until you remember you forgot to send Karen from HR your vacation request form. You try to reach her by email but to no avail, so you boot up the informal messenger that everyone in the office uses because the legacy messenger set up years ago crashes when you send so much as an emoji. But of course, you once again need to type in your login info, only to see that Janice is not online. So ultimately you end up making two trips to HR (on the first trip, you forgot to staple your vacation balance because the document is stored in a separate internal SharePoint) to finally get your vacation approved.

Ready to throw your computer out a window yet? We don’t blame you. This scenario may seem comical, but it’s a reality that thousands of employees must endure thanks to the lack of a single, unified digital workspace. Preferably one that can be implemented across your entire organisation and serve as a hub for all documents and teams to collaborate, within and across projects.

After reading this infographic, you’ll learn how each department within your business can utilise Microsoft Teams to become more efficient, store documents securely, and collaborate seamlessly with any peer or colleague.

INFOGRAPHIC

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We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! 👇👇👇

Remote working productivity technology

Teams vs Zoom comparison – which video conferencing tool should you use and when?

The current situation across the world with COVID-19 has put an emphasis on businesses to be able to communicate and collaborate remotely, most notably for people to be able to see colleagues and clients via video to break up the feeling of isolation. 

As it stands, there are many different products that can achieve this but, naturally, they all have their pro’s and con’s depending on general functionality as well as business use case context. 

As one of Bremmar’s Productivity Consultants, specialising in Microsoft Teams, I thought it would be helpful to compare a few products and share my opinion. Before we continue, I would like to make clear that even though I am a Teams specialist, this article is unbiased, and my intention is to clarify some of the questions that we have been constantly asked by clients 

Here are the products I have compared: 

  • Microsoft Teams 
  • Zoom 
  • Google Meet 
  • Slack 
  • GoToMeeting 

Overall comparison 

Click here to see the full version of the spreadsheet

GoToMeeting 

Using collaboration as my top criteria for comparison, my votes don’t go to GoToMeeting. The product has been compartmentalised, meaning that you can’t get a complete set of functionalities without paying for multiple products or a larger suite that you aren’t likely to utilise – so it’s not cost-effective. See below:  They all have their own pricing and platforms. GoToConnect, for example, is an actual phone system from what I can see so is some weird combination of VC needs and actual calling needs. 

Slack 

Slack, on the other hand, is a great tool and does have the functionality required for good collaboration, however, there is a crucial limitation that makes me cross it off the list – Not being able to have video calls via the mobile app. This is a big downside from my perspective as it limits the ability to maintain the same level of collaboration on the go.  

When evaluating a solution, companies should not only consider the current market situation, which now is working from home, but also think of long-term requirements. At Bremmar, we wouldn’t recommend a solution that has mobile limitations, especially if your business needs to cater its systems for frontline workers.  

Microsoft Teams 

Microsoft Teams is a great platform that integrates heavily with Exchange Online (Emails) and SharePoint Online (Documents in the cloud) alongside other new tools like Power BI for analytics and reporting, PowerApps for business apps and Flow for automation, allowing for a powerful platform to access all your business applications. 

Teams is a platform that delivers much more than just a video conferencing tool with the main benefit of it being included in all Microsoft 365 subscriptions – that’s what I like about itIt is particularly effective in bringing frontline workers into the digital landscape and includes the ability to collaborate online via chat, video calls, online meetings and file sharing, as well as on third-party apps if you have Teams set up to be a central hub for teamwork.   That is why sometimes it is hard to compare apples with apples when talking about Teams vs Zoom as Zoom is purely a video conferencing tool.  

There’s a limited free version for people wishing to try it out and guests can join meetings for free via a web browser, so this makes it a rather quick product to adopt. 

Google Meet 

As of this month, May 2020, Google has made Google Meet available for free for everyone with a G suite account – until September. But you can also use Meets with a personal Google account for free.   Meetings are limited to 60-minute and there’s no recording functionality to save meetings for later. Google Meet is a great program if you have participants that need to call in rather than join via video because Google doesn’t charge an additional call-in fee whereas Zoom does.  

As Zoom and Google Meets are very similar, Bremmar recommends Zoom over Google Meet as it integrates with conferencing equipment to allow a lot more participants to join without having them tap in from individual devices while allowing up to 500 devices to stream the meeting at once. Also, the ability to split up participants mid-meeting into groups and record meetings are more suited to our clients’ needs.  

Ultimately, both Zoom and Google Meet have close to the same features and tools available, which is important for those working from home or in the office.  

Zoom 

Zoom has seen a lot of traction in recent months due to COVID-19 and its main selling point is being able to host massive meetings with the capabilities to have over 40 people visible on video at one time. It’s pretty amazing!  

On top of that, Zoom users have the ability to split up participants midmeeting into groups and simulate a classroom – by having different groups working separately whilst in one video call.  

Only the meeting host has to pay for the product in order to host meetings effectively and anyone can create free accounts to join hosted meetings 

What do we recommend? 

After evaluating our clients’ needs, the features, security and collaboration options of all tools, my preferred options are Microsoft Teams or Zoom. If there’s a need for both tools that’s what I would recommend and below I’ll expand why.

Zoom or Teams…

When to use Teams

It totally depends on the business needs and uses case context  Teams can be applicable from small to large businesses as an internal teamwork hub for the company. It would be more than just a video conferencing tool and your business can enable channels for different departments and teams, files in the cloud and in some cases, even have your landline phone migrated to Teams (like we do at Bremmar)

It can also be expanded as an external toolfor example, for companies that work on projects with external parties. At Bremmar, we use Teams as a collaboration tool with our Marketing agency, so all files, approvals and communications are there – not one email sent!

Industrywise, I feel it again can be applied to any industry but here are some examples from our clients: 

  • Not-for-Profits can use Teams to communicate and collaborate effectively between centres and Head Office, most notably influential for Child Care or Aged Care companies with multiple centres across the country. 
  • Engineering can effectively use Teams to split up projects to self-contain data and tasks whilst also allowing external parties to be invited to collaborate in the same place ensuring data consistency. 

When to use Zoom

Use case for Zoom ties directly into industry use case as well because it has become a platform that is perfect for the Education and Fitness industries, and running classes through it. Both industries need to see more than 4 participants in a video call and need to be able to split the meeting into groups to engage in activities online. Teams doesn’t have that capability 

As a general rule of thumb, what we recommend to our clients that need Zoom’s functionality but also have Microsoft 365 or Teams is to: 

  • Use Teams if having 1:1 meetings 
  • Use Teams if discussing confidential or sensitive matters  
  • Expand on Teams if using it just as a video conferencing tool 
  • Use Zoom if hosting large meetings or conferences 
  • Use Zoom when engaging in activities that require interaction from separate groups 

Security 

Security for both platforms is as important as their use case, especially with current times.

Both platforms allow for a lobby in meetings ensuring that unwanted participants do not join without the hosts approval. Both systems are protected by passwords which is either 2FA via a Microsoft 365 login for Teams or a password directly on the meetings for Zoom. Both platforms are encrypted as well to ensure everything is protected. 

There have been lots of media around Zoom’s security, which is expected, and here’s Bremmar’s view on the topic: 

  • Zoom is a good product and for video conferencing it has more features than Teams right now. 
  • Zoom is campaigning to get their security up to speed. It is likely for this month that there will be more security vulnerabilities but we are confident that Zoom will fix this quickly. 
  • Zoom has fixed a major flaw very quickly which shows they are proactive and on top of the flaws. 
  • Zoom has recently released version 5 which has patched a significant amount of security issues and released a large subset of security features.

Bottom line: 

If Zoom is required as a new video conferencing solution for your business, you can use it. HOWEVER, ensure that the software is up to date and that meetings are private, with passwords for guests to join. If Teams can cover all the required features this is definitely a preferred option. In short, Teams is perfect for any size business which wants to collaborate across multiple applications and people in a single space, whereas Zoom is perfect for those in need of massive training meetings allowing for the simulation of a classroom.

We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Remote working productivity technology

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

Office 365 became Microsoft 365 on April 21. New name, same great value, same price.

Bye-bye Office 365…

From April 21st, Office 365 becomes Microsoft 365. Everything will keep working as it did before but what appears on invoices and quotes will change.

If you’re already an Office 365 subscriber, you don’t need to do anything to start enjoying Microsoft 365. If you are considering getting Office 365, then you’ll only subscribe to its new name: Microsoft 365.

Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, explains the change:

“This is a natural evolution. Microsoft 365 began in 2017 as a licensing bundle for enterprise customers—a combination of Windows, Office, and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS). It has come a long way since then. Today, we call it “the world’s productivity cloud” and it represents our vision for the future of Microsoft productivity tools—an integrated set of apps and services that puts artificial intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge innovations to work for you. And for small and medium-sized businesses, that includes new capabilities in Microsoft Teams to help you host rich meetings and events online; cloud file storage and sharing capabilities so you can collaborate from anywhere; and security and identity solutions to safeguard your business. At a moment when businesses are facing extraordinary health and economic challenges, we are pleased to bring our consumer and small and medium-sized business customers into this growing Microsoft 365 family.”

What’s changing?

So what’s happening to the names?

       

What options of Microsoft 365 subscription are available?

What’s included in Microsoft 365 plans:

  • Microsoft 365 Apps for business (formerly Office 365 Business) includes Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access*, Publisher*) and cloud file storage and sharing (OneDrive).
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials) includes business-class email (Exchange Online, Outlook), cloud file storage and sharing (OneDrive), and a hub for teamwork with chat and online meetings (Microsoft Teams). Desktop versions of Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint not included.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly Office 365 Business Premium) includes Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access*, Publisher*), business-class email (Exchange Online, Outlook), cloud file storage and sharing (OneDrive), and a hub for teamwork with chat and online meetings (Microsoft Teams).

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly Microsoft 365 Business) includes everything in Business Standard plus advanced security and device management capabilities for comprehensive security against cyberthreats. *Access and Publisher on Desktop only

Not on Office 365 or Microsoft 365 yet?

(Becomes Microsoft 365 Business Basic on April 21)

Check out Microsoft 365 remote productivity packages

Let’s embrace this new reality. Get your remote working journey started. ACCESS HERE our info sheet on the technology that will help you manage hassle-free remote working.

  • Teamwork hub in Microsoft 365: The collaboration essentials
  • Move your phone system to the cloud
  • Microsoft Teams training
  • Cloud Document Management in Microsoft 365 – SharePoint
  • Intranet & Team sites
  • Business Processes Automation
  • Security

We’re here to help!

We’re Microsoft Gold Productivity Partners, experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes. We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working.

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. If you need IT assistance, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

Five work from home tips from people who are acing it.

Working fulltime from home is a whole new ball game. We’ve got advice from our people and clients who have been working remotely. These five tips will help you get ready with the right technology, processes and office culture.

This year, most office workers will have to work from home. If you haven’t worked remotely before, it will be an adjustment (and test of your motivation). But, the learning curve doesn’t have to be steep. There are plenty of steps that you can take to ease into working from home. After speaking with our remote people and clients, we compiled advice about the right technology, processes and office culture ideas to ace every day.

1- Look beyond technology

While setting yourself and your co-workers up with access to the right technology is important, we discovered that individual mindset is equally as important. Bonner, from Bremmar, says, “When I first started working from home, I was really struggling until I read that normal routine is important. You need to treat it like a normal day. Which means getting out of your PJs and just doing your normal schedule. It really helps”.

Pro tip: If you have a uniform you might like to wear that (ok you might just put the top on!).  Clients and colleagues can video call you at any time and looking at yourself looking nice in the webcam, also makes you feel good,

If you want to be productive, treat each day as a typical office day. Your usual routine will help you trigger the mental association you usually make with the office. Once you’re in work mode, you’ll be a more effective communicator with your team and more able to use the tools provided to deliver quality work.

2- Choose the right communication tool

At Bremmar, we’ve been using Microsoft Teams in the office and for our remote staff. We couldn’t work without it. While each business will need a different tool to solve unique challenges, communication tools should ensure your team can chat, call, meet or collaborate from anywhere.

Jess, our client from Acacia Living Group, said “the thing I miss most about the office is being able to quickly communicate with colleagues. I sit half a meter from my colleague in the office. I can ask for her opinion and solve problems quickly. Not having her right there has been hard and I feel like I’m less available, too”. In an office environment, it’s easy to rely on a face-to-face communication system but you don’t have that luxury when you go remote.

Over many years of helping businesses, we’ve learnt that when systems work, the team works. A communication tool such as Teams, Slack, Facetime, Google Hangout or Zoom will help your people communicate on most devices, anytime and anywhere they like. With a more connected system, working relationships can be more effective and people will be more productive. It’s a win-win.

Pro tip: If you would like to take the next step, a cloud document management solution is also key. At Bremmar, we use SharePoint and our entire team has access to all files from any device and have access to cool features, such as working on the same document at the same time, being able to access versioning control, etc.

3- Get the right hardware and software

Making sure you can access all information securely and easily will help you work effectively. “I love my second screen. When I first started working from home, I worked four days without it and it was tough. Plus, Bremmar has just set up a new Hosted Citrix System which has been great. I had to work in our old system for six days and I was tearing my hair out. It’s been really helpful” said Jess.

You’re likely to experience some delays as you get used to working from home. It’s essential to spend time setting up properly because it will pay productivity dividends in the long run. For employers, a cloud system is a great option. It gives all staff remote access to their desktop anywhere in the world while offering the highest levels of protection for your business. Remember, if your team can’t access the right information, they can’t work.

Pro-tip: We have put together a list of basic remote working and collaboration packages we recommend – check it out here!

Hardware is just as important. The main items are comfy chair (a must!), an extra monitor to your laptop, headsets, a proper mouse and a keyboard if working from a small laptop.

5- Be patient and proactive

When asked about remote collaboration, Sam from Bremmar said “we are collaborating well but the work doesn’t flow as quickly because you have to make a call, send a message or email – and then wait for a response. But we are adapting”. Working from afar on the same projects can be hard. People can be left out of the loop, miss important information or not know when team members are taking lunch or on another call. This can quickly cause frustration and dissatisfaction about work and each other.

The Bremmar team is starting to implement simple solutions that work. “We’re trying to have more online video meetings, which helps. We’re also training ourselves to connect. Everyone needs to remember to check in with each other, especially when people are working in a team or there’s overlap on a task” said Sam. Bonner reinforces that visibility to colleagues’ schedule is key, “what’s been really good is that we have the policy to let line managers know when we’re having lunch by logging on or off Microsoft Teams. It means the person who is taking a break can enjoy it and other team members know why they’re unavailable”.

Each team has its own challenges. However, a quick morning W.I.P. (work in progress) meeting, a daily sign-off meeting or a virtual lunch hour together can help your teamwork cohesively and share the workload. Try to use video calls instead of phone calls. It helps everyone to connect properly, openly share tensions, and solve problems quickly.

6- Don’t forget culture

Sam is an advocate of remote team-building initiatives. “I love the idea of remote video happy hour! Quarantini, anyone?

I don’t want to lose touch with the people who are in our business. When you’re working remotely it’s so easy to just see people as the role they perform, instead of who they are” said Sam. A strong team culture will ensure your team can work together cohesively from all corners of the world. Plus, culture helps people understand where their job fits in larger company picture, which supports individual purpose and accountability. It fosters open communication and social chatter, both are important for employee and business well-being.

Pro-tip: Bremmar keeps having its Friday after-work drinks. We send a Teams invite to all staff, at 5pm everyone connects, and we have a beer and a laugh together! Partners and kids are also invited, and we plan some activities. Last week we celebrated Harmony Week by wearing something from the country staff are from, like a t-shirt or a hat. It was a complete success!

Want to build culture? Here’s some advice from our remote staff and clients.

“Just keep in touch. For employees and employers, it’s all about open communication” – Sam

“Trust that your employees are going to be working. If the work is getting done even if it’s from the couch, provided it’s safe, it shouldn’t really matter” – Bonner

“Do a test day if you can. See how the systems and communication channels will cope. Getting everyone set-up properly will really help them to connect” – Jess.

We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes. We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working.

If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Remote working productivity technology