We all know that the right tools can make a big difference. They can increase our efficiency, help us collaborate, and organize everything that’s going on. With the help of these tools, we’re better able to do our jobs.
One of the tools that help businesses get things done better in a virtual environment is Microsoft 365. In fact, more than 84% of small to medium sized businesses have an active M365 subscription.
Funny enough, Most Microsoft 365 (M365) customers simply do not take advantage of the products and features bundled in their subscription. Identifying and addressing utilization gaps could not only help you maximize the value of your investment, but also improve your business processes and the efficiency of your team.
M365 is a powerful tool designed to address and solve the pain points of a growing organization. The challenge that business leaders often face is to connect the dots between the M365 functions and the pain points they must resolve.
As Microsoft Gold Partners, we can connect those dots for you. We use this simple 4 step process to help identify opportunities for improvement and determine how M365 can help you achieve them.
How To Identify M365 Optimization Opportunities
1. Audit Your M365 Usage
Before you dive into finding solutions, it’s always good to generate a baseline of what you are currently doing and how it is working. When we are working with a client to better utilize their M365 environment here are steps we follow:
- Technically audit your environment to see how you have configured your apps and security
- Learn your business processes and your service delivery from start to finish
- Talk with your team to understand how they use the M365 tools daily
2. Identify Pain Points
Once we have learned more about your business operations, we have a better understanding of what your ideal workflows would look like and what is holding you back from achieving them. We call these obstacles pain points.
By identifying key pain points across your organization, you can see clearly where you have opportunities to further apply M365.
Questions to ask while looking for pain points:
- Where are we experiencing bottlenecks?
- How many different tools do we use to complete a task?
- How are we handling communication? Is it centralized and simplified?
- Can our team easily access all the information they need to complete their daily tasks?
- How long is it taking for this process to be completed?
Make sure you consider each department, or team, as they might have different pain points. Including their opinions and feedback in your analysis is very important in order to come up with a relevant solution.
3. Create Solution Scenarios
After identifying your pain points, it’s time to identify possible solutions. Creating scenarios and test running solutions helps us find the best possible fit for your team and it also improves their adoption of the new process.
When creating possible scenarios take a pain point and identify the issue, business goal, and possible solution. This allows you to workshop possible solutions and see how you could resolve your issues with M365.
Here are some common examples:
Issue: Too many communication tools, one for video conference, one for chat, and one for email. Communication is not centralized.
Business Goal: Increase communication and consolidate communication locations.
Solution: Implement Microsoft Teams with chat and video conferencing, use as single solution for both external and internal calls and communication, augmented with email.
Issue: Logins are secured, but not on every device, and there’s no MFA. Passwords are compromised and invalid log ins occur.
Business Goal: Secure our communication and collaboration technology
Solution: Enable Azure Active Directory service and enable MFA on all devices.
Issue: Takes a while to get everyone’s approval on a document
Business goal: Increase efficiency of approval process
Solution: Create power-app to automate approval processes of documents
In each of the examples, it’s clear that attaching a business mindset to each issue and providing the solution via technology, creates a vivid picture of how Microsoft 365 will drive business goals.
4. Implement Solutions
You can work with an IT professional to identify and implement these solutions. However, a huge part of implementation is education. Dropping a new technology and expecting everyone to embrace it is not going to be effective. Utilize workshops or trainings to detail how this solution will help remove the pain points they were experiencing, show them how to best utilize the solution, and provide training documents to reference while they learn.
Though this process is simple, working with someone with an in-depth understanding of the M365 environment can really help you get the most out of it. If you would like assistance getting better utilization of M365 and optimizing your business, book an introductory call with us and let’s get started.