Meeting the needs of remote workers

Meeting The Needs of Remote Workers

Microsoft breaks remote workers down into six categories. Your night owls, jet-setters, road warriors, commuters, migrators and industry experts. Here’s how we can cater to each one.

Night Owls

These are the ones who get their work done in the evenings, because their days are so full of meeting and other distractions. So closing time means uninterrupted time, and their chance to focus.

Key tools: Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint

They may work out-of-sight, but Microsoft Teams ensures they don’t go out-of-mind. This helps them maintain crucial contact outside of business hours. Meanwhile, SharePoint and OneDrive give them the 24-hour access they need, so they can hit the books when no one’s around.

Jet-Setters

Their presentation is at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Tonight, they’re in an airport with weak Wi-Fi. They need security, accessibility, and the ability to work on or offline on any device.

Key Tools: Advanced Threat Protection, Microsoft Teams, Mobile Device Manager, OneDrive, SharePoint

With SharePoint, the jet-setter can work on any device. Extremely convenient – especially if one of their devices run out of juice. OneDrive lets them work offline, which is key while they’re waiting at the gate. All of the changes made will automatically update when they reconnect. Microsoft Teams puts them right inside the meeting room from their mobile device.

Road Warriors

These are typically your sales reps. They’re constantly on the road, and don’t often have a spot to access the internet.

Key Tools: Microsoft Teams, Mobile Device Manager, OneDrive

Microsoft Teams give the road warrior timely flexibility. They can check in on their mobile device between meetings to get up-to-the-minute updates from the home base. OneDrive keeps their productivity high, when their signal isn’t. They can upload their files, and share them with the team once they reconnect.

Commuters

For this group, travel time, and the inevitability of opting to work from home on a regular basis can make things tricky. They need be able to securely access files and effectively communicate with people at the office.

Key Tools: Advanced Threat Protection, Microsoft Teams, Mobile Device Manager, OneDrive, SharePoint

SharePoint gives the commuter access to the most updated company files. So they can check-up on their ride in, or not miss a beat if they’re working from home. With Microsoft Teams, they can shoot a quick message to the office or easily jump in on a video call. And OneDrive lets them co-author documents in real time on any device.

Migrators

It’s 2018. The internet has connected us more than ever. So yeah, it’s highly possible one (or more) of your company’s key assets lives in another country. The biggest key here is eliminating borders.

Key tools: Microsoft Teams, Mobile Device Manager, OneDrive, SharePoint

The migrator needs to coordinate with headquarters. OneDrive and SharePoint let them do so across different time zones. Microsoft Teams ensures they’re always kept in the loop. Mobile Device Manager keeps your data safe. If a migrator loses a piece of equipment, IT can wipe it instantly.

Industry Experts

Bringing in the big guns? You need to integrate them, so they don’t function as an outsider.

Key Tools: Microsoft Teams, Mobile Device Manager, OneDrive, SharePoint

With SharePoint, you can share only necessary files with the industry expert. That way, you keep private what needs to stay private, and you don’t inundate the expert with files he or she doesn’t need.  OneDrive lets them collaborate on their own time, and Microsoft Teams brings them directly into your team’s conversation.

 

6th Street Consulting is a Microsoft technology firm specializing in user productivity and collaboration on SharePoint and Office365.  Our biggest differentiator is we put business before technology in creating solutions tailored fit to your organization.

For additional information please contact:

Michelle Hollis

michelle.hollis@6sc.com

(310) 694-3844


Ramp Up Your Enterprise Social Network

Ramp Up Your Enterprise Social Network

When it comes to business, social networks can provide secure spaces where teams in different offices, cities, states or countries can communicate and collaborate on projects in real time. They allow people who may never meet to discuss project details, divide and conquer tasks, discuss clients’ needs, and generally come together to accomplish a common goal. As an added benefit, teams who work together regularly can also use their company’s enterprise social network to get to know one another, learn about each other’s strengths, understand how they think, and bond as a team – which will, in turn, create a stronger team that creates stronger work.

Like social networks for the general population, social media for business organizations begins with being social. They allow real-time communication, and usually include a playful element or two, like emojis that can help message recipients infer tone. But enterprise social media also offers a slew of business-appropriate features and functions that can help teams work more efficiently and effectively. Four things that your teams can benefit from the most include:

  • Document Collaboration: With the power to share and discuss documents as a team, as well as the ability to edit and co-author documents directly within your social network, this feature allows teams to create more insightful, inclusive, and meaningful deliverables. It also gives teams the unique ability to edit and share items on the fly – as they’re discussed within the group.
  • Internal Groups & External Collaborators: Internal groups allow your teams to create a space that’s just for them – and joined by invitation only. It’s a place where they can discuss work, as a team, and tackle projects and initiatives together. In addition to internal groups, some enterprise social networks allow your teams to invite outside client representatives, vendors, consultants, contractors, etc. into the space so that you can all discuss and collaborate on projects either on a limited or an on-going basis.
  • Search & Discovery: Some business social networks allow users to search throughout their system for experts, conversations, and files that are relevant to their work. This can help teams reduce the about of duplicate work, use best practices, and work more efficiently. In addition to search, discovery features that allow users to stay abreast of what’s happening within the company (in general) can help your teams find people, information, and groups that are relevant to them, their clients and/or their interests. Through the discovery process, users might meet mentors, and find areas for cross collaboration, etc., which can help them not only grow professionally, but improve their work.
  • Seamless Integration: Regardless of how highly praised an enterprise social media solution may be, if it won’t support your current tools, including your word processing and presentation programs, then it’s probably not the right solution for you. After all, the point of purchasing a solution like this is to streamline communication and encourage collaboration, and if your teams have to use “tricks” in order to get your programs to work with your platform, it will cost them time and slow down your process.

In addition to the features that your team will use every day, it’s the one feature that your team won’t see that can truly make social networking for any business a success or failure – and that’s security. With an enterprise social network that encrypts data at all times, at-rest and in-transit, and includes multi-factor authentication to enhance identity protection, you can ensure that not only is your data protected, but your employees are protected, too.

 

6th Street Consulting is a Microsoft technology firm specializing in user productivity and collaboration on SharePoint and Office365.  Our biggest differentiator is we put business before technology in creating solutions tailored fit to your organization.

For additional information please contact:

Michelle Hollis

michelle.hollis@6sc.com

(310) 694-3844


4 Ways to Better Teamwork Using Intranet Software

4 Ways to Better Teamwork Using Intranet Software

Every project manager has had to learn how to keep his or her teams on target when their workloads may be pulling them in dozens of different directions. In some cases, that may mean working with other project managers to prioritize projects, or helping team members get (and stay) organized as the work ramps up, or it may mean giving team members – who may live in different cities, states or countries – the tools they need to collaborate effectively. And while project prioritization skills will come through personal experience, there is intranet software available that can help you not only keep your teams organized and collaborative, but will also allow you to communicate effectively with individuals and your teams.

Of course, not all intranet portal software is created equally, so let’s take a look at four tools to look for in an intranet solution.

Information Management

In order to keep everyone on track, it’s important for your team to know who’s responsible for what, and when. In addition, you’ll also need to give your team information on how to contact other members, details on how to access important web pages or documents (especially if they’re password protected or on staging servers), have the ability to make important announcements or post reminders, etc. So, look for a company intranet that allows you to seamlessly create team pages that can be customized for your needs. This way, you’ll be able to house, and share important information in a central location.

Libraries

Collaboration software should, first and foremost, make it easy for your team to work together. So choose a solution that allows you to give everyone access to the same files, documents, images, meeting notes, etc. By giving you the power to create libraries of documents, labeled in a way that makes sense for your project and your team, everyone can find the most up-to-date information on your project, review past iterations of deliverables, see current artwork, refresh their memories on project requirements and more.

Collaborative Tools

An employee intranet portal should include the ability for your team members to create spaces where they can share and manage information – and work on files together. To that end, look for collaboration software that features things like threaded discussions, as well as surveys – which can help make meeting planning and/or decision-making easier, shared calendars, task lists, and meeting spaces and where you can house all of your meeting notes, documents and agendas, etc. Like meeting spaces, an intranet solution with a work space tool can allow specific team members, like a graphic designer and copywriter, to work on the same file in the same space, without overwriting the other’s work, which can ultimately improve productivity.

Integrates with Existing Tools

No matter how much intranet portal software promises to improve your productivity and collaborative efforts, if it’s challenging to use or requires you to replace your existing tools (like your word processing, spreadsheet, graphic design, and/or email tools), it may be difficult to convince your team to use it. In order to achieve the level of productivity and organization you need, look for an intranet solution that integrates well with the tools that your team already uses. This way, your organization won’t need to purchase costly, and possibly less effective, programs, and your team won’t have to endure a steep learning curve.

When it comes to collaboration software, it should be simple, seamless, and customizable – giving you and your team the things you need to work together as a whole, and in smaller groups. When you choose a solution that allows you to organize your files your way, use your existing tools, and gives you collaborative tools that make it easy for members to simultaneously work on files, share documents and information, and track important discussions, you’ll achieve what every project manager wants – an organized, productive team.

 

6th Street Consulting is a Microsoft technology firm specializing in user productivity and collaboration on SharePoint and Office365.  Our biggest differentiator is we put business before technology in creating solutions tailored fit to your organization.

For additional information please contact:

Michelle Hollis

michelle.hollis@6sc.com

(310) 694-3844


Do Less So You Can Achieve More with SharePoint

Do Less So You Can Achieve More with SharePoint

Business process automation is integral to any growing business. Let’s look at how SharePoint can help business’ of all sizes streamline, automate, and transform processes with rich forms, workflows, and custom mobile apps.

Gather and manage data and files

SharePoint lists collect data—just like you might in Excel—and are easy to share and manage on an intranet. More than ten million custom lists are in use across Office 365—from simple lists like contacts and tasks to lists that power mission-critical business operations for large enterprises. Use Microsoft PowerApps to build custom forms to view, create, and modify data and files.

 

Automate repetitive tasks

Free yourself and your team from the time you spend on recurring manual team and organizational processes. Use the simple, visual designer in Flow to lay out the steps. You can do everything in Flow from configuring alerts and approvals to modeling complex, multistage processes.

 

Connect to and integrate data sources and services

When your process needs data from other sources and services, Flow lets you automate data exchange, synchronize files, and more. Use Flow, for example, to copy information entered by a sales team in Microsoft Dynamics to a SharePoint list used by operations. Flow also integrates with on-premises and third-party services.

Build apps that transform your business

With PowerApps, you can create, without writing code, apps that interact with data in SharePoint lists and libraries, as well as other cloud and on-premises sources. Use PowerApps to create digital experiences that take advantage of technology like cameras on mobile phones to work in innovative ways.


Find Content and Expertise Across Your Company

Find Content and Expertise Across Your Company

In today’s workforce teams are spread out all over the States. In order to stay in the know and discover relevant people and important content when you need it most, based on who you work with and what you work on, SharePoint should be your go to. Read on to discover how SharePoint can help.

Discover relevant, recommended content

 

Search for and discover content when you need it most. See real-timequery suggestions and get personalized results in sites, files, and people with full-text matches across Office 365. See personalized content that Delve surfaces to you from OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, and other sources. In Yammer, uncover conversations, groups, and people to leverage the knowledge of others.

People and content find you

 

Be discovered and connect with other people—including by their expertise, projects, education, and contact details. Let others find and tap into your expertise with your skills and interests listed in Delve and your conversations in Yammer. Gain insights and perspective to make better business decisions by connecting with the right people and content—even if you didn’t know you needed it.

Get the right information quickly

 

See refined and relevant search results with SharePoint’s built-in enterprise search capabilities. Easily see sites you frequent or files you’ve recently viewed or edited. Take advantage of the type-ahead and smart results features as you search for sites, files, or people. Search for sensitive content and use SharePoint’s search capabilities to support eDiscovery and compliance.

6th Street Consulting is a Microsoft technology firm specializing in user productivity and collaboration on SharePoint and Office365.  Our biggest differentiator is we put business before technology in creating solutions tailored fit to your organization.

For additional information please contact:

Michelle Hollis

michelle.hollis@6sc.com

(310) 694-3844

 

 


New in 2018—enriching teamwork across devices

New in 2018—enriching teamwork across devices

There are a ton of great new features launching into 2018 adding great new value to Office 365 subscribers, with updates that enhance how teams work together and unlock new ways to create and manage content across devices. Read on for details.

Get more done in Microsoft Teams

New features for Microsoft Teams enable you to interact with apps in new ways, customize your personal workspace, and take quick actions.

Find and use apps in new waysNow you can include interactive cards from apps in conversations the same way you would add an emoji or GIF. With one click, you can bring important information, like a task from Trello, into a channel conversation or chat. Finding new apps and services in Teams is now easier with the new Store, where you can search for apps by name or category, such as “Project management” or “Analytics & BI.”

Command apps and take quick actions across TeamsAlso introduced is the new command box in Microsoft Teams, a single point of entry that integrates your search and command experiences. Now you can quickly interact with apps, perform tasks, and navigate throughout Teams directly from the command box, in addition to searching across people, messages, files, and apps.

Work together more effectively with updates to iOS and Mac

New Office 365 capabilities for iOS and Mac enhance how teams create content together, make it easier to produce advanced documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from anywhere, and introduce new ways to search, preview, and interact with files.

Co-authoring for iOS and MacIt is now easier for individuals to work together across devices with the general availability of co-authoring in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for iOS and Mac. Now, whether you work on a Mac, PC, or mobile device, you’ll know who else is working with you in a document, see where they’re working, and view changes. Co-authoring is already available on the Office desktop applications for Windows, Office for Android, and Office Online.

Automatically save your work on MacThis month also marks the general availability of AutoSave in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Mac for Office 365 subscribers who store their documents in OneDrive and SharePoint. Whether you’re working alone or with others, your latest changes are now automatically stored in the cloud, so you never need to worry about hitting the Save button again. You can also view and restore content from earlier versions of the document at any time with support for version history.

Drag and drop content and files on iOSThe Office and OneDrive iOS apps now support drag and drop for content and files. One of the most common and powerful tasks when creating content is integrating photos, graphs, and other objects from a variety of sources. Now Office 365 subscribers on iPad and iPhone can easily drag and drop content into documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from other Office apps or OneDrive. Support for drag and drop for iOS also enables you to move files to and from OneDrive and other sources—such as SharePoint or iMessage—making it easier to organize content scattered across different apps and services.

Access OneDrive files from more iOS appsOneDrive for iOS now natively supports the new iOS 11 Files app. This means iPhone and iPad users can upload, access, edit, and save content to OneDrive or SharePoint from any iOS app that supports File app integration—a top requested feature. Users can also tag their favorite OneDrive and SharePoint files from within the Files app, making it easier to find and use the content that matters to you.

Preview more file types with OneDrive for iOSMicrosoft redesigned the OneDrive for iOS app with a more detailed list view, making it easier to scan file names, see relevant information, and sort files by specific attributes. The updated OneDrive for iOS app also creates crisp thumbnails and supports previews for over 130 file types, including Adobe Photoshop and 3D objects, so you can open, view, and share the right content without leaving the app.

Search across your organization with Outlook for iOSThe new search experience in Outlook for iOS leverages the Microsoft Graph to surface results from your top contacts, upcoming travel itineraries, package deliveries, recent attachments, and more. Together with proactive search suggestions and a unified design, it now provides consistent, personalized results that enable you to discover information from across your organization faster.

Improve reading skills with Learning Tools for MacWord for Mac now supports Immersive Reader and Read Aloud, tools previously available in Word for Windows and mobile apps. These tools enable content to be viewed in ways that are optimized for learning differences and allow documents to be read back with simultaneous highlighting. These features make it easier to recognize and correct errors as you write, improving reading and editing accuracy for everyone—especially users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Additional updates

  • New ways to share on YammerEarlier this month, Microsoft introduced new ways for users to share engaging company-wide content from wherever they are with the Yammer mobile app. Users can now post announcements to groups, add animated GIFs, and more.

Updates to SharePoint and the SharePoint app on iOS

Catch up with all your team’s news in the SharePoint app on iOS

If you use the SharePoint app on iOS, you get the first look at the mobile experience of team news. When you tap the Newstab, you will see a list of aggregated news using the intelligence of the Microsoft Graph from the sites you work in, the sites you follow and the sites your colleagues work in. SharePoint mobile on iOS gives you one place to catch up on the news from across your intranet. That’s your news in your pocket!

News on SharePoint mobile will come to other platforms as a future update.

Create a modern team site and an associated Office 365 group from the SharePoint home

We’re pleased to announce that soon you’ll be able to create a site and a group for your team—right from SharePoint home in Office 365. The Create site wizard will create an Office 365 group as well as a modern SharePoint team site. You will even be able add members and classify the site along the way. And if you’ve ever waited for a SharePoint site to be provisioned in the past, you’ll discover this process will create the site in mere seconds.

Create a team site right from SharePoint home.

Know who’s who, and who’s working on what, with new people cards

Teamwork is all about the people and what they’re working on. Now, when you see a person in a SharePoint team site, document library, list, or in OneDrive for Business, the value of discovering more about that person lies at your fingertips where you are already working.

People cards appear in SharePoint document libraries when you hover over a person’s name.

When you hover over a person’s name or photo, you’ll now see a richer people card. Previously, the card contained basic contact information and one-click methods to connect with the person. Now, you instantly see who the person works for and what documents they recently worked on. Powered by the Microsoft Graph, these intelligent people cards provide a personalized and actionable experience as you work with your files across Office 365.


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.


Better Together - SharePoint Tasks List plus Project

Better Together – SharePoint Tasks List plus Project

SharePoint tasks lists provide a great way to collaborate and stay up to date on the status of your projects. By using Microsoft Project Professional, you can take your project management to the next level by using more advanced features like scheduling and even create gorgeous and comprehensive reports. In a way, the SharePoint site and its tasks lists are where team members can view and edit the progress of their tasks, and Project Professional is where project managers can manage the progress of their projects. SharePoint tasks list sync empowers you to use the great functionalities of both Project and SharePoint tasks lists, at the same time.

You can create a new SharePoint tasks list that supports tasks with hierarchy, and indent/outdent those tasks while typing them in SharePoint, using the Alt+shift+Right/Left shortcuts. Then, in order to sync this SharePoint tasks list with Project, all you need to do is select the “Open with Project” button in the List tab of the ribbon:

This will open your tasks list along with the timeline view in Project Professional and you’ll even be started in a screen that walks you through 3 steps to show you how you can take advantage of the powerful features of Project:

And when you switch to the Gantt view, you can see the same tasks list as was in SharePoint:

You can continue editing the project plan in Project, and when you hit Save, Project will automatically sync the plan with the SharePoint tasks list, and also save the project file (.mpp) in the Site Assets library of the SharePoint site. Therefore, every time you, or any other project manager, open the project plan, you can view the most recent status of the project. By saving an up to date project file in the Site Assets library it makes sure that users won’t have to deal with multiple conflicting or out-of-date project files.

Accessing and re-opening a project is very easy: if you are in the SharePoint site, you can open the same project plan by selecting the “Open with Project” button. Alternatively, if you already have Project Professional open, you can find this project in the Recent Projects list in the Open tab:

Using the SharePoint tasks list feature, you can also convert standalone project plans into SharePoint tasks list and start collaborating with other team members on those plans. For instance, if you are using Project Professional to manage a special launch event, you can now go to the Save As tab of the File menu and create a new project site with an associated SharePoint tasks list:

This will create a new Project Site and save the project plan in the Site Assets library of that site. From that point on, you can open this this project plan from the tasks list and keep the tasks list and the project plan in sync.

During the SharePoint tasks list sync, the following fields between your SharePoint list and Project by default: task name, start date, finish (due) date, % Complete, resource name, and predecessors. However, if you want to map more fields to be synced between Project and SharePoint, you can do so in the Info tab of the File menu: open the “Map Fields” dialog, and pick any new fields that you’d like to sync. This way, you can have your team members report on other custom fields, or generate reports based on non-default SharePoint columns.

This is a great feature for all you project managers, try it out and let us know what you think!