Recently I have noticed a bit of paranoia circulating many professional networks, in regards to Microsoft’s latest SaaS offering: Microsoft Teams. The primary concerns appear to be that Teams may replace some core services like SharePoint and Yammer – and potentially even the Exchange/Outlook stack. However, according to the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella – that is NOT in the cards. Below I will provide you with my own insight into the field, and together we will walk through a school of thought one should consider, when implementing Office 365’s collaboration and productivity solutions.
One of the primary concepts behind any form of productivity, is to help structure and generate employee participation, while stimulating creativity. Commonly one finds that many employees encounter difficulty familiarizing themselves with a particular work flow. Sometimes it feels unnatural to them, or otherwise limits their capacity to carry out their best work. That is where Office 365 as a platform really shines. Microsoft brings to the table a suite of tools, similar to a Swiss army knife of software, that truly enables one to pick a solution and jump right in. Office 365 enables one to FIND their own workflow, redefining the way we think about our workspaces.
At first glance such a breadth of choice could seem chaotic to management, but I can assure you, by design it is actually removing the monkey wrench that was wedged between your organization and getting things done effectively. Within Office 365, one will discover not only an entire bundle of productivity driving applications but also a trove of tools that generate analytics, provide measures of security and compliance as well as legal archiving features. Management can dive deeply into their tenancy to determine which employees prefer which method or work flow, thereby having an opportunity to utilize these findings to adjust and improve upon their processes. Ultimately preparing their workforce for the future of a modernized, personalized workspace.
To elaborate, Office 365 has several core collaboration and productivity applications for employees to choose from:
Outlook / Exchange Online for well thought out, structured communication that conforms to traditional security practices and work flow. Enabling timely collaboration, and insight into co-workers calendars and availability. Exchange provides many compliance features, eDiscovery and legal / litigation based archiving and reporting tools.
SharePoint Online for intranet capabilities and document storage, which enables traditional and new age forms of collaboration, internally or externally. SharePoint Online provides teams a way to share sites which contain the most critical documents driving day to day processes, and easy access to secured data for all compartmented workflow.
Skype for Business Online for traditional and instant chat communication, enterprise voice functionality (Cloud PBX, VOIP, etc) video chat and meetings; which provide strong security and follows industry standard compliance standards.
Yammer for internal bulletin functionality which drives business collaboration and provides a unique way for co-workers to interact and produce a daily overview of what is taking place within an organization.
Microsoft Teams which provides communication functionality via a social, channel based chat space. Teams integrates many underlying technologies found within the Office 365 infrastructure – including voice, video and meetings. Strong compliance and discovery aspects, similar to those found within traditional services like Outlook / Exchange and SharePoint Online can also be utilized.
As you can see, there are a plethora of services available for you to choose from. Some familiar and some new, all of which produce proven results and drive collaboration to new heights. There are many other services found within Office 365 – some honorable mentions: OneDrive for Business, Visio, Project, Word, Excel, PowerPoint (to name just a few) – which are industry leading tools in the field of business productivity. Additionally there are ways for employees to improve their own workflow and productivity, utilizing tools such as MyAnalytics. The aforementioned service provides a way to look into ones own day to day usage and figure out ways to improve themselves. MyAnalytics is not to be confused with services within the tenancy, that management may implement to understand usage and productivity per se. Consider it way to improve ones own work habits.
In summary, Office 365 offers one of the most flexible suite of services. Each with its own use case. With that being said, one should not fear change but embrace it – that is what cloud technology was fundamentally designed to do: improve and introduce innovation, while providing choice to those who choose to use it! One must learn about each component, discover its purpose and implement a solution accordingly. I hope this has provided some understanding of Office 365, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft’s approach to the realm of productivity. Please visit again soon, as I plan to regularly update this blog and provide a source of understanding to business owners, management and IT professionals alike.