Empower Your Team and Safeguard Your Business with Microsoft 365 Business

Empower Your Team and Safeguard Your Business with Microsoft 365 Business

Late last year Microsoft announced the general availability of a new solution purpose-built for small and medium-sized businesses with up to 300 employees. Available worldwide today, Microsoft 365 Business includes the Office 365 suite of productivity and collaboration tools, as well as device management and security tools to safeguard company information across Windows 10 PCs, mobile devices, and apps. It is an integrated solution designed to simplify IT for small and medium-sized businesses.

Become a modern workplace

Today’s modern, global workplace is changing, which brings tremendous opportunities and challenges for businesses of all sizes. Businesses must meet the needs of a five-generation workforce, contend with an increasingly complex cyberthreat landscape, and innovate quickly to meet evolving customer expectations.

At the same time, small and medium-sized customers need solutions that are easy to manage and maintain. Often small business owners find technology options to be complex and costly, leading many to make do with a patchwork of services or defer investments altogether. Such approaches compromise business productivity and introduce security vulnerabilities, which may be one reason why 43 percent of all cyber-attacks last year targeted companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Safeguard your business

Microsoft 365 Business is built to deliver the productivity tools and security services businesses need in a single, simple-to-manage product. It safeguards company information, extending security across users, apps, and devices. It helps ensure PCs are up to date and secure, helping prevent security vulnerabilities that cyber-thieves often exploit. It also provides protection for company information across devices, with the ability to remove company data from lost or stolen devices.

Empower your people

Microsoft 365 Business delivers the productivity and collaboration tools businesses need to help their people be their most productive. It includes the suite of Office 365 productivity and collaboration apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as Outlook for email; SharePoint and OneDrive for sharing files with customers, co-workers, and suppliers; and Microsoft Teams for chat-based teamwork.

Simplify your IT management

Microsoft 365 Business is designed to reduce the complexity and costs of managing technology for businesses and their IT partners. It offers simple setup and management, so business owners and their teams can put more of their time and energy toward building their businesses. From a single console, you can quickly set up new employees, configure device security policies, and manage user identity and access, as well as ensure all your people are on the most up-to-date versions of Windows 10 and Office. And the single per-user, per-month subscription streamlines costs and simplifies management.

6th Street Consulting  is committed to helping empower and safeguard small and medium-sized businesses across the globe. To learn more about Microsoft 365 Business, contact us!


Enriching the Mobile and Intelligent Intranet

Enriching the Mobile and Intelligent Intranet

The intranet is the publishing center of all things happening throughout your company. It is where people keep up with news and discover what’s happening around them at work. It’s time, now, to further empower employees—more precisely, give them a way to broadcast their work.

Keep the team informed and up-to-date with team news

Team news is how you keep up with and broadcast key events and accomplishments with other members of the team and extended stakeholders. You can use team news for things like trip reports, best practices, project updates, highlights of new documents and content, welcoming a new team member, sharing team goals and celebrating milestones.

To add a news item, from within the News web part on the team site home page, click + Add to create a news article. Next, add content to the news post using the toolbox—a gallery of web parts—to add text, video, documents, quick links and more. When you’re finished, click Publish and the news article will be featured prominently on the team site home page within the News web part. And when you click See All, you’ll land on a dedicated News page that serves as the team’s news archive.

Below shows how a team site with all the news—front and center—is displayed in the SharePoint mobile app:

Team news in the SharePoint app.                              News articles render beautifully in the SharePoint app.

Team news is a great way to broadcast of all the important content from your team. In the future, you will receive mobile and email notifications to help keep you up to date.


3 Ways You Need to Work at Home to Feel Like You Never Left the Office

3 Ways You Need to Work at Home to Feel Like You Never Left the Office

Whether you’re a full- or part-time telecommuter, or you just like to catch up on projects at home or on the go—you’re not alone. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people who work at home, not including those who are self-employed, has grown by 103 percent since 2005 and it shows no signs of stopping—with 3.7 million employees now working from home at least half the time. Telecommuting offers many benefits for workers, including flexibility and better work-life balance, as well as for employers, who enjoy cost savings and an expanded talent pool, to name a few. As people continue to jump on the telecommuting bandwagon, it’s more important than ever to find ways to stay productive, connected and happy.

Here are three easy ways to make the most of working at home:

1.) Be there with instant messaging (IM)—Instant messaging has two big benefits for telecommuters. First, it makes it possible for coworkers to reach you instantaneously, blasting any preconceived notions that you’re lounging poolside or at the movies. IM also keeps at-home workers from feeling isolated. Years of research on telecommuting has found that the live, synchronous nature of IM enhances people’s feelings of presence, belonging and emotional well-being. Other studies have found that virtual teams who engaged in digital interactions with a social and fun element to them worked better together and built better relationships. Software like Microsoft’s Office 365 offers IM via Skype for Business, allowing for real-time contact on a moment’s notice—complete with emoticons. It’s less formal, more conversational and faster than a phone call.

2.) Bad Internet? Go mobile—Sometimes you can get stuck with sketchy internet service, depending on where you live. About 55 percent of U.S. households have just one provider that offers service at 25 megabits per second, the minimum the FCC deems necessary to access the most advanced online applications. And while about 75 percent American households with Internet still use DSL, cable or fiber connection to get online at home, we may be moving toward a more mobile workforce. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Internet users dropped from 82 percent just a few years before—with mobile-only connections jumping from 10 to 20 percent in the same period. Luckily, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband data plans have made the possibility of a mobile workforce a reality. Add to that the fact that many popular, top-of-the-line productivity tools are now accessible on your mobile device. That includes office applications that let you create, edit and share from your PC/Mac or your iOS, Android or Windows device with anyone in real-time. That makes it easy to have a mobile backup plan if your Internet isn’t as reliable as it should be.

3.) Stay connected socially—Not all business takes place at the office. SharePoint Newsfeeds allow you to stay in the know on company events and news. Newsfeeds are also a great way to post questions and supply answers to those in need by simply “@”ing co-workers in a thread. The other great part is that it is all searchable so you can come back to an old conversation to find an answer.

Make the most of your company’s software—Products like Office 365, Skype for Business, SharePoint and Windows Phone have helped build a more productive work-at-home environment. Good software will help you make the most of connecting with your teams in real-time via conferencing, IM, video and sharing, while also taking advantage of advanced security and compliance tools, interactive reports, simpler dashboards and compelling data visualizations.

While many workers once used telecommuting to supplement their full-time in-office job, more and more people are using it as a replacement for being in the office. As this trend continues to rise, with approximately 55 percent college graduates reporting they have telecommuted for their jobs, it’s more important than ever to have the right tools to make your work-at-home experience flexible, productive and successful.


Feeding the Newsfeed

Why Social?

Most companies don’t understand the value of a social newsfeed and are worried that by building one, it would distract people from getting their work done.

After I grab my morning coffee, the first thing that I do is bring up my Newsfeed to scope out what’s happening with my co-workers and projects, and to see what’s being discussed across the company. My Newsfeed gives me a sense of comfort, a reassuring feeling that I’m up-to-date on the things that I care about and the things that are happening around me.

In addition to using the feed to see what others are saying and doing, it is also a valuable tool to proactively seek out new information. Who can I ask about progress with the new media plan? Has anybody ever ran google ad words? Does anybody have any contacts on a production team? Posts reach a large audience and I’ve found that I am usually able to get answers within minutes. I can also choose to have a conversation with a smaller group of people to discuss progress on a particular project.

Sharing with Everyone

When I navigate to my Newsfeed and make a post, by default, it will be visible to everyone at my company. I’ve found that this is a key way to share broad information or to get difficult questions answered. The act of posting in the feed is simple and familiar (and we spent a lot of design time ensuring that this would be the case), but there are a few tricks to make sure that the right people are made aware of the post.
When I want to get someone’s attention in a post, I “@mention” that person. Almost every day, I see questions in the feed. I don’t always know the answer, but sometimes I know who does. I’ll often reply to a question, mentioning someone (by typing the @ sign in my reply) to make sure the question gets on their radar. This is still a public post but it appears in that person’s Mentions view and they’ll get an email to draw their attention to it.
Sometimes, when creating a post, I add a #tag to associate the post with a particular topic. As we’ve been building the feed, we’ve found (and fixed!) quite a few bugs. One common way that people report bugs is by posting in the feed with the tag #BugForThat, as in, “There’s a bug for that.” In addition to making it clear that someone’s found a bug, our team leaders can follow #BugForThat to see what’s broken as issues are reported. Or, they can click on #BugForThat and see all of the posts reporting issues. They also find it helpful when posts have screenshots and videos demonstrating a #BugForThat.

Posting to Certain Groups

I love being able to post broad questions, but sometimes I want to have smaller, more private discussions. To do this, I use a Site Feed (just like it sounds, it’s like a Newsfeed, but on a site). Only people with access to that site can read it. Since this feed lives on a SharePoint site, we can also add other apps and functionality to the site to share documents, track tasks, etc. And the best part? If I follow those sites, all of the conversations that happen on them will be consolidated into my Newsfeed, so it truly does become a single place where I can find out about all the things I care about.
After using the Newsfeed every day for the past year, I can’t imagine getting work done without it. I’m way more informed at work than I’ve ever been before, and I feel empowered to get quick answers to my questions and feedback on ideas that I share.