Hidden Gems in Microsoft 365 You May Not Be Using

Are you leaving some of the value of Microsoft Office 365 behind by not fully utilizing all the tools and features?

People tend to get comfortable with the part of the platform they know, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, but may not realize the productivity power of other applications.

Actually, one of the reasons that Office 365 was renamed to Microsoft 365 was to better reflect all the tools, beyond Office, that come with the subscription. Tools that were designed to take full advantage of cloud services and promote better team communications.

Miscommunication costs small businesses an average of $420,000 per year.

Some businesses looking to expand their use of cloud solutions in Fresno, especially due to the pandemic, seek out messaging, video, or other cloud apps not realizing they already have them in their Microsoft 365 subscription.

This leads to a bloated cloud budget and paying for apps that don’t integrate as well as MS applications were designed to do.

Are you missing out by not fully utilizing the power of Microsoft 365? If so, you could be leaving money on the table in the form of productivity and process improvements and paying more than you need to for your cloud infrastructure.

Gaining the Full Value of Microsoft 365

While the core Office applications may the reason that a majority of companies use Microsoft 365, if you explore the full value of the platform, you may just be surprised to find that you’re only scratching the surface in how you use it.

Here are some of the little known or underutilized applications in the cloud platform that can make a big difference in your Fresno company’s productivity and efficiency.

Microsoft Teams

Teams is all about communication and connecting people. You may use it for its video conferencing feature, but it does a whole lot more than that. Teams is actually multiple apps in one.

Here are a few of the workflow needs the application can handle:

  • Real-time messaging/text
  • Video and audio calls
  • Full VoIP phone system (with the Microsoft Business Voice addition)
  • Launch pad for your workflow
  • File sharing and collaboration
  • Secure channel communications

You can set up Teams just as you do your main organizational structure. For example, you could have Teams channels for each department. You can also create a company-wide communication channel or channels by project.

The point is to keep communication organized so it’s easier for people to find shared files, communication trails, notes and other information. Each channel can also be secure, meaning you can use it ensure your HR team can discuss employee reviews privately.

One of the little used features that can shave time off a daily workflow is Tabs. This feature allows each channel to have a group of often used applications (MS and 3rd party), files, websites, PDFs, and Wikis.

This simplifies user workflow because instead of needing to search for each of those assets throughout the week (over and over again), users can access everything they need from with Teams.

Many of the apps can open up right inside Teams without the need to even leave the platform.

SharePoint Sites

SharePoint sites tend to go unused because companies don’t understand what they do. They think that OneDrive holds all their files, so what’s SharePoint for?

While SharePoint does also contain files, it does much more than that. It’s a way to share communications inside and outside your organization in a much more efficient way that just sending and email with a bunch of file links.

For example, think about how many times per month the HR person in your company is asked for things like time off forms or the company’s holiday schedule. The larger the organization, the more time they would spend resending the same information to people.

Using a SharePoint Communication site would allow them to create a mini internal webpage that employees could access anytime to download the forms they need. The files on the site would be linked to the main document files and would be updated automatically as those files get updated.

With SharePoint, you can create these communication sharing sites to be seen only by a certain teams (like the Sales Team), by everyone inside your organization, or by those outside your organization, like vendors or customers.

Bookings & MileIQ

If you have a Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium subscription, you may not even realize you have access to two other business tools. They’re not as widely known as the other tools inside the platform, but they can be very helpful and keep you from having to buy 3rd party apps.

Microsoft Bookings makes it easy for customers to book appointments with your team and can integrate with your employees’ online Office calendars automatically. 

Instead of a trail of back and forth emails to check meeting or appointment availability, customers can go online to book an appointment and immediately see when there is availability. They also get an automatic email confirmation with calendar invitation.

For any businesses that need to track mileage for their staff, MileIQ is another tool within Microsoft 365 subscriptions (Business Standard & Premium). Miles driven for work can be logged automatically, and the system is intelligent, meaning it does things like classifying frequent drives on your behalf and learning to separate personal from work miles based upon patterns.

Is Your Company Leaving Value on the Table with Your Cloud Apps?

Unity IT can help ensure your Fresno Business is making full use of your cloud solutions by customizing Microsoft 365, or another platform, to improve your workflows.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation at 559-297-1007 or reach out online.

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