Many of us have used Microsoft Teams in the ‘traditional’ sense for the past two years. Video and voice calls, instant messaging, document sharing, etc. Yet, Microsoft Teams is capable of so much more.
It can become a learning hub for new and experienced users. It can also become the place to manage projects and collaborate with partner organisations.
It is time to think differently about how you use Microsoft Teams. I recommend analysing your business and asking: How can we get more functionality from Microsoft Teams? How can we leverage it to solve real business problems?
A hub for your modern intranet
If you lead a distributed workforce, you will need to rethink the role of your intranet. Previously, people might have accessed the company intranet via a ‘home page’ when they opened a browser or through SharePoint Online.
My team and I have found that these traditional solutions no longer meet the needs of modern workplaces. So, we recommend leveraging Microsoft Teams to address the issue.
You can add your intranet as a link in the navigation menu within your company’s tenant. The search bar in Microsoft Teams also links to the intranet and enables people to search for items themselves. In this way, Microsoft Teams becomes a place to find information and learn, rather than just communicate.
New employees can get up and running without creating additional work for your HR and communications managers. If you bring on a new team member, they can find the intranet and any other resources they need in Microsoft Teams itself, rather than locating and setting up their intranet in a separate browser.
When you integrate your intranet with Microsoft Teams like this, it becomes more than a place for finding information. It transforms into a knowledge hub for collecting and distributing information.
Your organisational knowledge centre
Microsoft Teams receives frequent updates, and the ways you can use it have likely changed since you first deployed it. You need to deliver ongoing training, but your method can no longer be bringing people into hours of training sessions.
Rather than use Microsoft Teams as a place to have video meetings where someone delivers a lecture about its features, you need to feed people information without overwhelming them.
We embedded a hub in Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways to meet this challenge and manage knowledge about Microsoft Teams. Like the intranet, it also becomes a central location where people can easily find the information they need.
We extended the functionality by creating a workflow that delivers automated Tips to users. They can opt-in or out of these at any time.
Similarly, you might use other systems in your business where staff require learning resources. In this case, people can subscribe to receive Tips about the systems they use. Such functionality transforms Teams from merely a communication hub to a knowledge centre.
Process management across large projects
Another pertinent Microsoft Teams use case is managing projects and tenders.
When many of us abruptly started remote work and collaborating on Microsoft Teams, there was very little governance over saving information in Microsoft Teams, creating channels for specific projects and closing these channels after the project’s conclusion.
For example, tenders can take months to complete, and they often have many people working on the same document.
A client of ours wanted an efficient method to collaborate on these documents and serve the tenders to their sales team. They had also previously managed project workflows in a spreadsheet and wanted to convert this process into a new system.
We developed a Power App where they can fill out all the information they would traditionally require to manage the tender, such as customer details and response due dates. The Power App then supports admins in managing the tenders.
Some large projects require external involvement from customers or partner organisations.
Here, you will need a governance solution to prevent just anyone in your team from adding Guest users. Our Power App solution became useful here with an approval form to request Guest access and provide managers with control.
The solution also sends out scheduled prompts to ask the owner of a specific team if the channel and Guests are still relevant or needed in the company’s current projects.
Collaborate securely with partner organisations
You might often collaborate with partner organisations where you frequently exchange messages and documents. For now, you are likely managing Guest users and switching between organisational tenants just to find a channel.
Shared Channels is a new feature in Microsoft Teams currently available as a preview. With it, you can set up channels accessible by you and your partner organisation that are available in each of your tenants. You do not need to invite them as Guests, and any content shared stays protected by your organisational policies.
Sharing large volumes of documents becomes a security issue because your files move outside your organisational policies. Setting up Shared Channels in Microsoft Teams means that files do not have to leave your organisation for your partner to view them.
Manage requests from your workforce and clients
You can transform Microsoft Teams into a management solution for your HR function. A client of ours had over 7,000 requests in their inbox and found it almost impossible to track these requests, their status and HR’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Power Automate becomes the solution by analysing the emails and categorising them by topic, sender, recipients, department, etc. It also analyses KPIs to deliver reporting and ensure your team meets their goals.
You can leverage the same tool for other business functions, not just HR. For example, if you have an inbox that receives client requests and queries, a similar workflow via Power Automate can manage these emails.
How experteq supports these Microsoft Teams use cases
To ensure that Microsoft Teams empowers your organisation into the future, you need to focus on the value of Microsoft Teams to end-users. This means searching for new ways to address business issues while engaging your staff.
We leverage Microsoft Teams every day at work and wholly believe in its benefits and capabilities. Please visit our Productivity Apps solution page to learn how experteq can help you.