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Microsoft Office 365: How an internal evaluation led to a breakthrough realization and a new line of business offering

Just like any business whose success largely relies on serving their clients, it’s understandable that the internal needs of your own company often times end up on the back burner. (Or maybe the stove’s been completely turned off!)

That’s why we began an internal audit of all of our systems roughly six months ago. Our current growth trajectory requires process efficiency that can continue to layer upon our foundation to meet the needs of our continued growth.  We felt our processes were a little fragmented and in need of an update. I asked each team member to answer a short list of questions: What applications do you use on a day-to-day basis? Which platforms provided little to no support of our goals? How were you managing processes and keeping track of deliverables? Do you have the ability to collaborate in an effective way? What is your wish list?

This internal evaluation led to a breakthrough realization. We had been using multiple systems, but few connected or interacted with another. And because several processes were siloed, many of our team members turned to creating their own processes because it was hard to make sense of how they would all work together—not to mention the separate (and continually increasing) fees for each system we were using.

At one point during these evaluations, we were asked by a very wise man what we knew about the capabilities of Office 365. I remember my answer: “We use Office 365 for email and we regularly use Excel, PowerPoint, Word and occasionally, we’ve used Skype for Business.”  And that was it. This very wise soul smirked (in a kind way) and said, “Well, let me show you a few things you already are paying for that you need to be using right now.”

My interest was piqued, and I dug a little deeper into Office 365; I discovered as a company we were nowhere near using these robust capabilities to their full potential. The world of improved productivity through enhanced collaboration came alive and all for the low, low price of what we were already paying.

Transforms collaboration

With 150+ employees (most work remotely), being able to communicate and collaborate effectively was high on our list of must-haves. We needed an inclusive software platform that’s intuitive and encourages productivity.

So, when we discovered Microsoft Teams one-click voice and video conferencing, I knew we were at least heading in the right direction. The program would allow us to schedule online meetings, video conference from any location, ask for a quick reply through instant messaging, and collaborate on projects through presentation sharing.

Early on, we discovered Microsoft Office 365 is robust enough in its capabilities that it can fit any business size and model; but what we also discovered is it is the small-to-medium-sized businesses who don’t have the personnel or resources to truly learn the technology and implement across the company. Immediately, we knew we uncovered a new service offering, helping SMBs benefit from everything Office 365 has to offer.

Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365 to provide a true hub for teamwork. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, and Planner are all built into Microsoft Teams, so people have all the information and tools they need at their fingertips. You now can have Team conversations that can either be visible to the entire team, but also private discussions if needed. And through SharePoint, you’re able to share files, data, news, and resources; easily collaborate with your coworkers and clients; and customize your site to streamline projects and tasks.

Accessible…anytime, anywhere

Today, we hear the phrase “anytime, anywhere” over and over again, and there’s a reason why. As the workplace continues to evolve, employees don’t want to be chained to their desks anymore. They want to access their files whenever they need them, whether they’re on a Mac, a PC, their phone or a tablet. Jeremy Marsan, business analyst correspondent for Business Insider, shares:

“In addition to mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, Microsoft offers browser-based versions of their Office programs. You can use a simplified version of Word, PowerPoint or Excel from your web browser. And along with the convenience of being able to work on your documents from any internet connected computer, the online apps let you collaborate with other users. You can invite multiple people to view or edit a document at the same time. Edits are made in real time, so you can see as another user is typing.”

Google Apps, on the other hand, are accessible only through an internet connection. Therefore, employees don’t have the same level of functionality for viewing or editing email and documents. And when your only option is offline access, Google Apps users may end up losing images, comments and highlights, which can stifle collaboration and cause things to become lost in translation.

Using Microsoft Office 365 to its full potential

Our own internal struggle managing multiple systems inspired our mission to find a productive, easily accessible and integrated platform, and I couldn’t be happier about where we ended up. Office 365 was designed to help companies achieve more together by better connecting employees and customers. It empowers employees to get work done from anywhere, on any device, and simplifies the setup and management of employee devices and services with a single administrative console.

We believe in its capabilities so much that we’re taking our consulting services to the next level through our partnership with Microsoft. Businesses cannot be hampered by the sudden disappearance or inconsistent delivery of new features from multiple systems; there aren’t enough hours in the day to speak the language of each system. As a certified Microsoft Partner, we’ll break down each Office 365 product and help you determine which ones are necessary to meet your objectives and goals and which ones aren’t. And we like meeting our partners face-to-face, getting to know your business model and what applications would work and which ones wouldn’t. After our detailed assessment, we’ll work together to build your Office 365 roadmap. Because after all, your business is unique, and so are your software needs.

If you’re a small-to-mid sized business and are interested in learning more about Microsoft Office 365, feel free to reach out to our Office 365 team, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

Stacy Rose is the COO for AdamsGabbert (AG), a catalyst for growth, a spark for innovation, and a facilitator of progress. Founded in 1999 and based in Overland Park, Kan., AG focuses on staffing + recruiting, technology services, and consulting—all designed to make business better for their clients. Share your thoughts on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter!



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