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Microsoft 365 Enhances Meetings and the User Experience

One of the benefits of Cloud is the ability to add features and capabilities without complex, technical rollouts.  To enhance collaboration, communications, and the user experience, Microsoft is adding features to Microsoft 365.  Here are a few new features you should know about.

PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams

Enhance your ability to present and collaborate in Teams meetings.  In addition to a robust presenter view and tools, PowerPoint Live supports co-presenters with seamless transitions.

Customize how your video feed and content appear to your audience, including the ability for the audience to see you in front of your presentation. Create interactive presentations with hyperlinks and videos. Interactive presentations improve attention and allow attendees to move at their own pace.

Learn more …

Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams Meetings

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Participants in your Teams meetings can collaborate on a shared digital canvas with Whiteboard. Whiteboard integration in Microsoft Teams meetings is powered by Whiteboard for the web. Participants of Teams meetings collaborate with text, graphics, notes, videos, and other content.

Learn more …

Microsoft Viva Insights

Microsoft Viva Insights provides personalized recommendations to change how you work to do your best work. Get insights to build better work habits. Improve follow-through on commitments made to collaborators. Protect your focus time for uninterrupted, individual work. Insights summarize your Microsoft 365 data – data that you already have access to – about emails, meetings, calls, and chats.

Insights for individuals are completely personal and private. Personal insights are for your eyes only; neither your manager nor system administrators can see them.

Larger File Size Upload Limits

Gain more flexibility with 250 GB file size support.  Optimized file upload performance helps reduce upload times for files moving into SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive.

Insights to Improve Your User Experience

Microsoft Productivity Score can help you improve your user experience with better endpoint boot times, app reliability, networking, and Microsoft 365 Apps health.

To learn more about these new features, to arrange an immersive, hands-on, demo experience, or to discuss how Microsoft 365 might help you achieve your business goals, contact us and schedule a complimentary Cloud Advisor Session.

5 Strategies to Improve Workplace Collaboration

A work environment that doesn’t encourage teamwork is one of the top 5 reasons people quit their jobs, according to research by Ernst & Young. Many businesses face growing collaboration needs with aging technologies.  We need solutions — secure, reliable, scalable, and cost-effective — that make workplace collaboration efficient, effective, and enjoyable.

Here are 5 strategies to help improve workplace collaboration.

1 Use a Chat-Based Workspace

Team members often get stuck waiting for the feedback and sign-off they need to drive a project forward. Back-and-forth scheduling for conference calls burns up time and energy. When they finally do get on a call, edit documents, and send out the revised versions, they’re often stuck waiting again for sign-off.

Productivity changes when your team can quickly get coworkers and decision-makers on group or private chat, or in an online meeting with co-authoring. Teams can review, discuss, edit, and approve documents in real time.

2 Improve Online Meetings

Technology mishaps should be a thing of the past, especially struggling to participate in virtual meetings.  Too often, difficulty with connections or the joining process interrupts and delays meetings. These problems discourage people from working together and creates a barrier for our increasingly mobile workforce.

Empower employees to have better meetings with a single meeting application that integrates with the rest of your productivity software.
A positive meeting experience produces positive results for you and your organization.

3 Break Down Work Silos

All too often, team members are heads-down in their work and unaware of the knowledge and efforts elsewhere in your business. Lack of information and duplication hurt morale and have a material cost to your business.

Using a social network tool brings conversations online. Your team uses social networking in their personal life; bringing social tool into your business provides a means for your team to share ideas, information, and interests. With remote and hybrid workers, you can encourage and capture the informal conversations that foster collective intelligence, collaboration, and innovation.

4 Simplify File Sharing

Haven’t we had enough of emailing files and waiting for feedback and revisions.  The process of juggling messages and multiple copies with edits is an inefficient relic from the days of typewriters and routing slips.

Take advantage of the collaboration features of cloud-based file services:

  • Access documents anywhere, whether online or offline
  • Collaborate in a single document that’s always up to date
  • Seamlessly share large files
  • Use built-in chat functionality to discuss edits within a document
  • Control permissions of contacts inside and outside the company

5 Move from a Patchwork of Apps to a Productivity Suite

In our new mobile society, we are accustomed to downloading apps at home and in the office. The result: a hodge-podge of applications that all do different things, have different sign-ins, and may not deliver the security and compliance you want and need.

Moving to, and fully utilizing, a productivity suite gives your team the right tools to get their work done, the resources to communicate and collaborate, the integration to eliminate duplicate data and effort, and the security to protect your information, your people, and your business. Do not just deploy; help your team understand the apps, tools, and features they can use to be more efficient, productive, and successful.

For more on the topic, check out the eBooks and whitepapers in our Library. Better yet, schedule an introductory call and connect with our team of Cloud Advisors.

4 Approaches to Better Meetings

Without a doubt, meetings remain an essential part  of running your business. They ensure your teams stay on the same page with the information they need to get things done; they connect you with your customers; they help build stronger relationships. Unfortunately, meetings can also waste time and resources—ultimately costing your business.

Here are 4 ways to ensure meetings work to your advantage.

1 Define the need
Meetings without a clear agenda are often unproductive.  Ask yourself these 6 questions to determine whether a meeting is necessary.

  1. What is the action item of the meeting: decisive or informing?
  2. What is the size of the meeting?
  3. Is the meeting simply to inform a handful of people, can a memo or email share the information?
  4. Will the meeting solve a problem?
  5. Is there a better alternative, such as using a tool with real-time chat or team announcement features?
  6. Will canceling a meeting negatively impact your employees’ abilities to complete their work?

2 Simplify for success
A positive meeting experience produces positive results for you and your organization.

  • Follow a clearly planned agenda to minimize distraction from your primary purpose and keep your meeting on track
  • Make your expectations crystal clear, and this includes expectations for meeting participation
  • Keep meetings short to improve how employees do their jobs and help steer tangential discussions back on track
  • Ensure all members understand their role to create accountability

3 Meet like a pro
Lessons learned help improve success, particularly with growing use of inclusive meeting technologies.

  1. Provide a clear agenda
  2. Keep time in mind: start and end on time
  3. Ease the burden of not-taking by recording or capturing a transcription of the meeting
  4. Provide visuals to help members follow along
  5. Send a post meeting recap: Reiterate key discussions and decisions; thank members for participating
  6. Define clear action items and outcomes

4 Manage online meetings
Online meetings are here to stay.  If managed well, online meetings create new possibilities for involving team members and sharing information.

  • Ensure everyone has the right technology, invites, and call-in info.  Make sure attendees will be able to see, hear, and speak clearly
  • Keep attendance focused on those that need to be there, avoiding unnecessarily large meetings
  • Welcome members and outline how you plan to manage interactions, who speaks when, and use of the chat window
  • Use the mute features to minimize distractions
  • Keep your meeting secure using passwords and other features
  • Reduce uncertainty by recording the meeting or keeping a transcript for future reference

 

Meeting attendees will follow your lead, so make sure it’s a strong one. By continuously honing your meeting strategies and skills, monitoring what does and doesn’t work, and actively pushing to convert decisions into action, your meetings will become more effective over time.

For more on the topic, check out The Ultimate Meeting Guide. To review your meeting tools, conference room setups, and methods, schedule an introductory call and connect with our team of Cloud Advisors.