written by
Jag Kakarlapudi

Is your business ready for Microsoft 365?

Information Management System 8 min read , August 31, 2018

If you are a Business Owner or an IT Manager or a CIO and not yet convinced by the benefits of the Microsoft 365 platform, I am talking to you. Yes, you! I want to take this chance to have an open and honest conversation with you. 😉

Let’s have a quick chat. Shall we? I would like to ask you some hard-hitting questions about your business and get you to think about Office 365 to improve your employee productivity seriously! Let me get this straight. 

If you are not on Office 365 platform yet, you are missing providing the right business tools to your users. 

Come on, let’s discuss why you need to move to Office 365 today and I will help you get started!

Do your employees work together on documents, presentations, and other projects?

Employees spend most of their time producing business data in the form of documents, presentations, and other project specific artefacts. Usually, these documents are created in isolation by each employee, and then they try to collate their content into one document. This is just a waste of a lot of business time and is very error prone. How many times have you lost your work because someone overwrote your version or deleted it accidentally?  

Using Co-Authoring support of Office 365 applications, your employees can all work on a single source of truth (single document) at the same time and cut down on the number of iterations it takes to create a decent document. Co-Authoring in Office 365 is currently supported by Microsoft Office Applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and Microsoft Whiteboard App.

Is your business data spread across multiple repositories (data silos)?

Are you one of those businesses with G, H, I, J ….. Z Drives which are used for storing your business data? If yes, read on. I know most of you will!

Data sprawl across multiple network file shares is an age-old business problem. Being the leader in your business, if you do not solve this today here are some consequences to consider. 

  • It is tough for users to discover the business content when required.
  • Users will create multiple versions of the same document as v1, v10.1, Jag-Copy, Jag-03021985 etc. This sucks right?
  • Users are so sick of network shares and will use their C Drives to store business data. Data Governance, Discoverability and Security are out of the window now! Don’t wait until the user’s computer gets hacked or the user walks away with your business data. 
  • Your IT admin will be cursing at you when someone asks them to grant additional permissions to that secret network share or folder. This is a bit of exaggeration, but you get the picture, right? 

If you don’t want to live in this conundrum forever and want to solve the data sprawl in your business, then OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online are your best friends. Use these tools to create an Information Architecture that works for your business and employees and migrate your documents to Office 365 yesterday. Yes, yesterday! You are already too late to the party.  

That’s okay it is better late than never. So, hurry up and solve the data sprawl issue. It is a ticking bomb! 

Do you know how much time is spent on emails and meetings by your employees?

Two of the significant time suckers in your business right now are:

  • Emails
  • Meetings.

If you agree or not, this is true. No need for me to share some research figures to prove my point, this is a universal fact, and your cat knows it too. So, fix it! 

To fix it, you need to understand how bad your employees excel at wasting precious business time. Office 365 Workplace Analytics comes to rescue. Using Office 365 Workplace Analytics, you can track the following employee activity like a big brother albeit in a decent manner as Workplace Analytics anonymises employee personal information.

  • Time spent on Emails
  • Time spent in meeting without focus. aka Attendees multitasking
  • After hours work - Number of hours spent in meetings and sending email outside of working hours.
  • Collaboration Hours - Number of hours the person spent in meetings and email with at least one other person.
  • Manager coaching hours 1:1 - The number of hours that a manager spends in one-on-one meetings with their direct reports.
  • According to Microsoft, Workplace Analytics leverages Office 365 collaboration data to deliver powerful new insights for enterprise productivity. It helps business leaders understand collaboration patterns across organisations that influence productivity and employee engagement.

For the complete list of all metrics you can track with Workplace Analytics, please refer to this Microsoft support article

Office 365 Workplace Analytics is not included in any existing Office 365 Business or Enterprise Subscriptions. You need to spend extra for this goodness!

Your employees can use the My Analytics feature (included in the Office 365 Enterprise E5 subscription) to track and improve their own productivity goals. If you are planning on signing up for other Office 365 subscriptions, you can add-on My Analytics for extra moola!

My Analytics and Workplace Analytics are two must-have tools in your business if you want to transform how your employees work now. 

Do your employees work remotely?

In this modern age, we all are mobile. We are glued to our mobile screens like the world around us does not exist. With a mobile workforce, you cannot expect them to use business tools which are not accessible while on the move. If you restrict access to business tools when they are outside your business network, the employees will just find other ways to get their work done.

Become organised and give your employees the right mobile tools to conduct their business even when they are out and about.

Office 365 lets your employees work from anywhere on any device. Using the apps, the employees can view and edit documents on the go while keeping the business data secure. Here is the list of all Office 365 Mobile Apps for Android and iOS mobile platforms. I recommend you to read this Microsoft eBook on how to support remote and mobile workforce.

How do teams stay connected when working from different places?

Please don’t answer this question saying they email each other. That’s so old school and biggest time sucker according to my question on user productivity and analytics above.

If you haven’t heard about Chat-based workplace, read on. If you know what I am talking about and already deployed a tool to support your teams, then give me virtual high-five!

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace which gives your employees access to everything they need to conduct their business in a single pane of glass. Using Microsoft Teams, you can bring all Office 365 and other supported 3rd party apps into an integrated work environment. This is quite powerful to let your employees focus on the business without having to switch between various applications and getting lost in the process.

So don’t Slack off, get on Microsoft Teams now! 😎

Do you have control of business data on the employees own devices?

This has been a pet peeve of many IT managers and administrators who complain about lack of control on the business data when employees use their own devices and are mobile. I completely get your concerns. However, many of you have decided not to allow your employees to work with your business data on their mobile devices due to security and governance issues. This is a wrong move which affects the productivity of your employees.

Do you know there are employees in your business who might be using their personal cloud storage to store business critical information? Yes or No. If Yes, let’s do something about it and protect the business. If No, you are a rockstar and got everything under control. If you restrict your employees, they will find other means to get their work done. Which might not be the most secure option.  

Here is a compromise you can make to achieve good productivity results while still maintaining control of the business data. Use Office 365 data governance policies to control how your employees work with business data using their own devices. Here are some examples of what you can achieve using Office 365 Security and Compliance Center and MDM (Mobile Device Management).

  • Strict Password Policies
  • Data Encryption across all devices
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Support only compliant Mobile devices (aka Device cannot be jailbroken or rooted)
  • Block cloud backups
  • Block document synchronisation on unsupported devices
  • Ability to remote wipe a mobile device and so on 

When we catch-up for coffee next time, I will share so many horror stories of business-critical information getting compromised due to lack of governance on the business tools. If you are in Melbourne and want to have a coffee with me and discuss Office 365, please use the live chat on the site to reach me. 

Find the middle ground where users and data can be protected and stay productive at the same time.

Do you want to automate the manual business process using affordable solutions?

Are you still sending that inter-company mails using yellow (or whatever colour) manila envelopes around? Do you know there are things like Computers, Internet and Office 365? Using these tools, you can automate your manual processes and save loads of money and time. Moreover, you can make your employees a happy chappy bunch!

Use Microsoft Flow, PowerApps or third party tools such as Nintex or K2 to automate your manual processes. Here are some manual processes you can automate using Microsoft Flow, PowerApps and SharePoint Online.

  • Employee Onboarding 
  • Collect employee feedback and analyse sentiment
  • Expense and Travel management
  • Bid Management
  • Talent Acquisition and Management

If you already have an existing Office 365 Commercial subscription, are you getting the complete benefits out of it and maximising your ROI? Checkout Modern Work website (https://modernwork.cloud) on how you can maximise you Office 365 ROI and achieve Modern Workplace transformation.

OneDrive for Business SharePoint Online