Office 365 is Useless on its Own

A Manufacturer’s Guide

Guy Hendricks is an ICT specialist who has been in the IT field for the past 30 years, specialising in consulting companies on new and innovative ways of utilizing IT to drive business growth.

Within Ukuzimanya, Guy has accomplished partnerships with major brands such as HP and Microsoft (a Silver Partner with Microsoft, working towards becoming a gold partner) and is also a member of the largest networking agency in the world. Guy can and has been successfully providing IT related solutions from small to medium sized companies over the years.

From a personal perspective, Guy is an open-minded individual with a proven track record in IT, IT solutions and networking. He has strong technical skills as well as excellent interpersonal skills and enjoys his professional IT skills challenged by the needs of businesses.

GUY is an avid rugby and cricket supporter from Edgemead, Western Cape.

Listen to my 12 min interview with ScottCundill.com on "Office365 is Useless on its Own: A Manufacturer’s Guide"

Every year, tech companies are finding new ways to solve company issues and streamline processes through internet services, the way they did with email, WhatsApp, Excel, Skype and cloud storage. Ironically, there are cloud service platforms that offer all these services in one package and companies either don’t know they already have them or don’t understand what these services do. Do you have Office 365 on your computer? Then it’s likely you’re in the same boat.

Imagine arriving at a fantastic buffet for breakfast and you only order eggs, toast and a cup of coffee. You’re ordering what you would expect to find, something you’re accustomed to. At work you’re likely using a cloud services platform that offers all the familiar Microsoft products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, but then you reach for your phone to send a group WhatsApp to tell your team you’ve uploaded your presentation through WeTransfer. That sure is a lot of platform jumping. It makes a service platform like Microsoft 365 pretty useless if you ask me, at least on its own.

SharePoint

Within your organisation, there is generally much collaboration required, even from the point of needing to find or share information quickly and seamlessly. SharePoint, an application already available in the suite of products you own in Office 365, is not just for storage, it's a platform that enables teamwork productivity through outwardly facing pages on the internet the whole organisation can access, without having a web developer involved or setting up a domain. This means faster sharing without the use of a USB or third-party link that expires.

Here are some key benefits:

  • Ideal for sharing and collaboration
    SharePoint facilitates sites for every project team, department, and division in your company across PCs, Macs and smart phones. It is easy to share files, data and resources in real time. Collaborating is now effortless and secure, even with team members outside your organization.

  • Inform and engage
    The platform works through the company intranet by keeping employees informed on important information and personalised news, promoting organizational efficiency by sharing common resources and applications on portals.

  • Harness collective knowledge
    SharePoint’s rich content management enables your organisation to pull vital information from a collective resource with powerful search, and along with valuable connections and conversations occurring in Yammer, employees can fully maximize outputs on projects.

  • Transform business processes
    Any boss will tell you, efficiency and productivity is accelerated by enforcing better processes. SharePoint assists with this, from simple tasks like notifications and approvals to more complex workflows.

Dynamics

Companies need many things to be successful, but it takes bold, innovative and integrated systems to move your business forward. Dynamic 365 is one of those powerful products that unifies CRM (Customer-relationship management) and ERP (Enterprise resource planning) along with productivity capabilities to enable you to identify and capture new opportunities. All key parts of your business are connected, with every aspect of your sales and operations optimised and easily controlled, giving insight into your orders and inventory or through your sales division.

Designed for small to medium sized companies, from manufacturers to law firms and even the hotel industry, basically any company working with customer-based environments can benefit. I’m even finding the corporate companies are starting to utilize it now.

Currently, I’m working with a manufacturing company who sells to a retail environment. They had been paying a monthly fee for a third-party product, which they were already paying for in Office 365. As they have now been made aware of this, it has enabled them to keep track of the sales team. For manufacturers, on an operational level, this is a great tool to help develop, manufacture and ship products on time.

Beyond a comprehensive view of your customers and operations, here are 5 additional benefits from a sales perspective:

  • Import Data Easily
    Categorize your data through a single import or transfer information as you need it or through an always-on connection to Excel.

  • Better Telemarketing
    Dynamics 365 offers a unique differentiator with its process flow user interface by prompting the right questions so that your sales team can find and qualify new sales leads more efficiently. All the steps help guide your team to follow the progression of the sales funnel.

  • Extremely Convenient
    You can enter CRM data and access customer information from anywhere. Since Dynamics 365 is a Microsoft product, it integrates with the Microsoft Office Suite. We will highlight integration next.

  • Integration at its Best
    As Dynamics 365 lies within the Microsoft Office suite, you can send quotes, RFPs and emails quickly and easily.

  • Track Your Competitors
    To be successful in sales it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Create detailed competitor profiles with Dynamics 365, such as active opportunities you are competing for with insight into what accounts they are working on.

Yammer

These days, it’s not uncommon for companies or divisions to open WhatsApp groups to streamline communication, but it’s not as effective when it comes to proper collaboration. Teams can now share and store all the information they need directly to Yammer.

What exactly is Yammer? Yammer falls within social media, operating specifically like a social intranet for small to large companies. Ideal for short messages which colleagues, partners or customers can respond to. These are not visible to the outside world as in your typical social platforms, but only to people within the same organisations.

Increase Collaboration Within Teams, Departments and Locations

Yammer simplifies collaboration and communication by opening up the conversation to people who aren’t in the same team or department. This can assist in the sharing of knowledge when you need it.

Less E-mails

Less use of email should be enough reason to use Yammer. Instead of falling into an email wormhole, copying everyone into a mail and distracting them from their work with the back and forth, a message can be sent on Yammer. Everyone will then be able to view the message and responses will appear below each other. Your team can easily add documents and files and even tag messages, which will then be easily accessible at a later stage.

Collect feedback through a poll Instead of mailing a survey to the whole company, simply collect feedback through Yammer. Entire meetings can be made redundant, since all you need is quick feedback.

Simply put, Yammer makes it easy to exchange information on a large scale because it’s focused on sharing knowledge, creating new and unexpected collaborations and collecting feedback.

Bookings

One of the biggest benefits of the internet is the sheer convenience and efficiency it offers. With so much being automated these days, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that booking time with your local hairdresser or planning meetings has gone digital.

Customers love and appreciate the flexibility, convenience, and control they get with products like Bookings 365, plus it adds an extra layer of professionalism. Instead of calling to arrange a booking, customers need only visit your booking page, book the time and service they’re after and get a confirmation email with a calendar invitation to remind them. Cancellations and rescheduling can even be made after hours.

Manually enter the appointment details for customers who call you to make bookings.

Decrease no-shows because automatic reminders alert both staff and the customer of bookings and changes.

Unlike other booking programs, Bookings365 is not only web based, so keeping up to date with your bookings is as easy as downloading the app to your phone.

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