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7 signs you’re not using Microsoft 365 to its full potential

By 30th August 2023March 8th, 2024No Comments
A hand holding a mobile device showing Microsoft Teams interface

You’re probably under the impression your organisation’s using the multitude of Microsoft 365 (M365) tools, applications, and features to their full potential.  

The reality is many companies underestimate just how much can be achieved with M365, and because they don’t know what they don’t know, these resourceful treasures are left undiscovered (and they’re paying for them!)  

Here are 7 signs you’re not getting the most from your investment in the collaboration tools. 

1. You’re relying too much on email or Teams chat to communicate 

While email’s often needed for sensitive topics and communicating externally, it’s a good idea to keep work activity within Teams channels to maximise efficiency and focus on the important things.

Email certainly isn’t dead but make the shift to using channels to communicate and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t sooner. 

8.8 hours a week – that’s how much time’s spent reading and writing emails

An animated email icon

Likewise chat in Teams, much like a Whatsapp style conversation, is best suited to short term discussions where you don’t need to heavily collaborate, organise information, or access tools to complete a task. Chat’s fast-paced so important work and ideas can get easily lost in the noise. Plus, any file shared through chat is stored in OneDrive, so if the employee leaves the company, that file vanishes.  

A channel’s a digital space where you share messages, tools, and files, keeping everything nicely organised, and whatever’s shared in a channel is stored in SharePoint. There’s one, unified stream of conversation and you won’t have to trawl through endless email trails or chats you’ve had. 

2. You’re emailing documents as attachments 

By sending files as links instead of attachments, you’ll retain a single version of the truth that’s kept updated. Colleagues work on the same document stored in a central location (SharePoint or OneDrive), and when one person makes an edit, everyone else sees those changes in real-time, making collaboration much easier and faster. 

Unlike email attachments, link sharing won’t swallow up storage space. What’s more, if you’re not taking extra encryption steps, email attachments can become unsecure, and you’ll have no tracking information on their whereabouts or who’s looking at them.  

3. You’re still making notes on paper 

Ditch the paper!  

Microsoft OneNote’s the perfect app for capturing notes, audio, sketches, pictures, videos, and other documents.  

Notes are easily searchable, integrated with the full suite of Microsoft 365 tools, and can be synchronised between your phone and laptop. You won’t ever have to worry about losing your notepad (and confidential information contained inside), and it’s another simple way to reduce paper waste from your daily working life.  

4. Your files are being stored on the network  

If your people are still defaulting to using the shared server to store files, it’s time to break the habit. If a file’s deleted, lost, or corrupted – it’s gone forever (unless a manual back-up’s scheduled). Not to mention the brain-jarring clutter they’ll have to sift through to find a specific file.  

Cloud storage is very much commonplace in today’s world. It’s readily accessible, provides a safe preview of file content, and once the file’s in there, its treated to immediate backups.

Microsoft OneDrive logo

Entire teams can collaborate on the same documents, revision history can be tracked, and your people can access what they need, whether they’re in the office or on the move. Of course, a reliable internet connection is needed to access the cloud.  

5. You’re not automating manual processes 

Automation apps such as Power Automate are a key part of Microsoft 365 and are heavily integrated within Teams. By automating complex and mundane tasks, you’ll get things done faster and reduce errors.  

Many users could benefit from automated workflow templates to carry out simple approval processes, automate messages, create tasks, and send reminders. How about replacing paper forms with a Power App on a mobile device to capture data and signatures? With over 700 known integrations, there’s so much opportunity to transform your processes. 

And there’s more good news… you don’t have to be an automation expert or programmer to do these things (but if you wanted to, you could create a cleverly customised cloud flow from scratch instead of using a template). 

6. You’re getting overwhelmed with data 

You’ve got more business intelligence than you can shake a stick at. Endless data sets you’re collecting daily. But what are you doing with this ‘big data’, and can you really make sense of it all? 

More than ever, organisations are grappling with turning a wealth of data into actionable insights. Data crunching is hugely time-consuming and presenting it in a digestible format that everyone understands is quite the challenge. 

Power BI logo

A solution to this is Power BI – an indispensable business intelligence tool for data visualisation, analysis, and best practices. Data patterns and rich insights can be presented creatively to stakeholders as a story rather than a bland Excel workbook of numbers with no real meaning. 

If you’re not using Power BI’s interactive dashboards and reports, you’re missing out on valuable insights that inform key, data-driven business decisions.  

7. You’re not measuring how your people are using Microsoft 365  

How can you use M365 to its full potential if you don’t have a clear picture on how your people are using it right now?

Without facts, we can’t have truth.  

Through measuring and benchmarking user adoption across your entire workforce, you’ll be better informed to enhance your licence investment, realise the full value of the tools at your disposal, and increase organisational-wide productivity.  

A holistic M365 maturity assessment brings together system data and knowledge from across your business to understand and pinpoint exactly where you are on the journey to full digital adoption, and whether you’re truly making the most of the tools available. With this intel you can set ground rules across your organisation for the correct usage of tools and drive attendance at M365 training sessions where required. 

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