In a recent post, we looked at some of the challenges inherent in working remotely from the office, primarily, the need to be self-sufficient with finding important information like documents and emails. In that post, we stressed that the key to finding information quickly is making it available to yourself and your colleagues by putting it in a centralized location and making sure it is classified accurately so folks can find it.
But this is only the beginning. In this post we examine some of the key challenges in using the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite to capture and classify information in a way that makes it accessible and visible to colleagues.
Office 365 provides a host of tools for communicating with colleagues, suppliers, customers, and partners. That’s great. But that’s also the problem. There are too many places to go to connect. You may be reaching out to colleagues using Teams while continuing to communicate with external parties like customers, suppliers, and partners using Outlook for email. At the same time, you might be storing documents in OneDrive and SharePoint, while keeping documents received as email attachments in Outlook. That’s a lot of places. It should be obvious why this is a problem, but let’s look at a typical business case.
You wake up in the morning and see that you received a contract proposal from a supplier. First step is to share it with your Legal Department. Then the document goes back and forth as comments and revisions get added. Internally, your colleagues define business requirements while your Procurement Department weighs in on pricing. At this point, you probably have documents spread out across OneDrive, SharePoint, a series of Teams conversations taking place in parallel channels, and a pile of emails in your Inbox to which only you have access. Now, except for the email, all the information is potentially accessible by colleagues, but how would they find it? And what about those emails? How can they access them if they need to reference discussions with the supplier?
As you sit at home and try to manage this contract negotiation, what can you do to streamline the process for everyone?
To create order out of this process, you need to come up with a strategy by where all your colleagues know how to find related information. The key to this is having a standard method for storing information and then classifying it uniformly so everyone is on the same page. SharePoint metadata provides a convenient mechanism for classifying documents, but what about emails and conversations?
Secondly, regardless of the strategy you select, carrying it out has to be easy enough for everyone on your team. And despite all the great new Office 365 tools, most people still spend their worktime in the Outlook window, so any solution you come up with has to start from the Outlook window.
To see how to leverage Outlook to get colleagues on board using Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive in a coordinated and coherent fashion, and to see how to use SharePoint metadata wisely so everyone can find information quickly, join us next week for a webinar, Strategies for Remote Working with Microsoft Teams. Register here and see you next week!