Top 3 Microsoft 365 Apps That Will Maximize Your Team’s Productivity
At AvarTec, we offer more than just IT support services: our technology support team can also offer expert advice on how to get the most out of online business services, including Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 is a paid subscription service that provides access to hundreds of productivity apps, each designed to make your day-to-day workflows easier.
The usefulness of Microsoft 365 is hardly a secret–if your company isn’t using the platform in some capacity, you’d be one of the few. But there are a few key productivity apps on the subscription service that many businesses aren’t using to their full potential: Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive.
Below, we’ve identified some key features of these 3 apps that will help you get the most out of your Microsoft 365 subscription–and increase your team’s productivity.
Businesses everywhere are conducting more of their internal communications online. To keep things streamlined and simple, it’s a good idea to have all your communications in one place, and Microsoft Teams allows you to do just that.
Of our top 3 Microsoft 365 apps, Teams is likely the most widely recognized. Used in both businesses and education, Teams is a chat-based collaboration platform complete with document sharing, online meetings, and many more useful features for communications. With Teams, your company can:
Create Channels To Organize Different Aspects of Your Business
The Channel feature in Teams allows for communication between team members under a specific topic. Businesses can create channel topics to mirror any organizational system they choose.
We recommend assigning channels to departments (Marketing, Sales, Public Relations, etc.), projects, or clients. No matter how you choose to organize them, the channels feature in Teams will help you keep your organization’s conversations around specific topics organized and easily located.
Schedule and Organize Virtual Meetings
Most people know that they can schedule virtual meetings in the “group calendar” on Teams. But in 2021, Microsoft introduced the Channel Calendar app that brings together and organizes all meetings specific to a channel.
Host and Record Virtual Meetings
Forget Zoom and Google Meet; Teams has its own virtual meeting capabilities within the platform. Just schedule a meeting in the Group or Channel Calendar to create a link that will take attendees to the meeting.
When you meet in Teams, you also can integrate collaborative apps during the meeting, including Whiteboard and OneNote. With these apps, your meeting will go from one-sided to interactive and collaborative.
Teams also makes recording your meetings easy. The recording function captures audio, visual, and screen sharing.
Of course, these are just some of the capabilities within Teams that can be useful for your business. Services and productivity features will continue to be updated and added, ensuring that your business tech solutions are always up to date.
You may be wondering why we didn’t list document storage in the “Teams” section. That’s because if you’re using and saving shared files in Teams, you’re actually using SharePoint.
SharePoint is primarily a document management and intranet platform where you can store, collaborate, and share information seamlessly across an organization. You can think of it as your business’s document library.
Team Sites and Communication Sites
Within SharePoint, businesses can create “sites” for their organization. These sites dictate how information is shared–i.e., who is able to access documents, what their capabilities are, etc. These sites are categorized as either “team sites” or “communications sites.”
Team sites are usually for smaller groups, where everyone has editing access. This type of site is best for collaboration, as all members can work together on documents by commenting, suggesting, and editing simultaneously. This type of site is ideal for smaller businesses, or single departments within a business.
Communication sites are better suited for publishing documents, as the majority of users will only have read access. This type of site is best suited for large groups of people (i.e., your entire organization). Communication sites are ideal for keeping your employees up to date on company-wide news, policies, and other information.
Last but not least is OneDrive. Most Microsoft 365 users are familiar with this app. Similar to Google Docs, OneDrive is a place where you can securely store and access your documents from anywhere.
But wait–isn’t that also what SharePoint is for? Not exactly.
OneDrive is more suited for personal storage. For example, each individual person in your organization would have their own OneDrive, whereas SharePoint is more about business services and solutions (as it’s one platform meant to be shared by all). For example, drafts of files that you’re not ready to move over to SharePoint yet would be stored in your OneDrive.
And while you can collaborate on documents in your OneDrive, we recommend keeping the collaboration within SharePoint, instead. One reason for this is that when a person leaves an organization, their OneDrive is typically retired in 30 days. (You wouldn’t want to find out one day that an important file you were collaborating on disappeared with someone’s OneDrive account!)
And, if you have sensitive files that you need to secure, you can utilize OneDrive’s “Personal Vault” feature. Personal Vault is a protected area of OneDrive that you can only access with a strong authentication method or multi-factor authentication that asks for your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS. Items you might save within the Personal Vault might be scanned copies of your driver’s license, tax information, social security card, or other sensitive information.
Integration of Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive
Each of our top 3 Microsoft 365 apps work together to create a seamless, secure collaborative experience. To illustrate this, here’s a hypothetical scenario:
Imagine you are tasked with writing and publishing a document about company policy. Here are the steps you would take.
1. First, you and your team need to conceptualize the document and discuss what policies to include. To do this, you schedule and host a virtual meeting on Teams. You and other members of your organization take notes and chat back and forth until you have a good idea of what the document will cover.
2. Then, you open a blank document in your personal OneDrive. This is where you will write and edit your initial drafts of the document, until you’re ready to share it.
3. When you’re ready for your team’s input and collaboration, you copy your document into a file on your SharePoint teams site, where your team can view, edit, and make suggestions for the document.
4. Once you and your team are satisfied with the final draft, you head over to your SharePoint communications site and publish the document for the entire organization to read.
Final Thoughts: Microsoft 365 Security Features
As with any platform that stores data and information, security is a top priority. In recent years, security auditing and monitoring features have improved immensely in Microsoft 365, giving subscribers expanded visibility and control over where their data is being stored.
Through Microsoft’s 365 Security & Compliance Center, you can access your organization’s Security Dashboard. The Security Dashboard enables your organization to manage data protection and compliance, review your Threat Protection Status, and view or act on security alerts.
Additionally, Microsoft’s data centers are protected by state-of-the-art security infrastructure and processes, which make them virtually impossible to breach directly. Even their technology support staff has limited capabilities within apps like OneDrive; their IT support services won’t be able access certain files without explicit authorization from the user.
How AvarTec Supports Businesses That Use Microsoft 365
As we said in the beginning–at AvarTec, we offer more than just IT support services. When you schedule a meeting with AvarTec, we’ll discuss your business’s current and future technology needs. We’ll also be able to tell you which Microsoft 365 features will suit your business best.
Still not sure if you’re using your Microsoft 365 subscription to its full potential? As a Microsoft 365 partner, our IT experts at AvarTec offer the best technology support for Microsoft 365’s digital solutions. Call or email our office to set up a no-obligation consultation, today.