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Microsoft Teams – Your Organization’s Best Friend

The software offers many interlaced methods of communication to help bring your staff members together.

Have you ever felt like the success of your organization is just a little bit out of reach? That if you just had that….something….everything would start really going places? Sometimes we short-circuit ourselves instead of moving ahead and doing what we can with what we have – analysis paralysis is the common expression – and the practice of chasing after that “magic bullet” that will fix all of our problems, correct everything that’s off course, and put us on a trajectory for greatness is an undeniable waste of time. If we’re always waiting for that one big thing, we’ll always be waiting, because there’ll always be another big thing right behind it.


But the happy flipside of this is that you can recalibrate your expectations to strike a more healthy balance in your organization. Instead of lamenting what you can’t afford or don’t have access to, you can make solid, tangible changes in the way that you do things that’ll help you to be better postured when it’s time to grow. Exploring creative problem solving to move things forward will generally require some level of financial investment, and sometimes all it takes is a modest expenditure to reap huge benefits. You may feel that the only way to really branch out in your organization is through the costly investment in a Customer Relationship Management software, but Microsoft Teams is actually a viable alternative that can open up tremendous possibilities.


Or perhaps you’re coming at this from a different perspective. Maybe your small business or nonprofit is still very much mired in the world of paper, and you’ve shied away from the whole idea of embracing technology as the framework for your operations. The events of 2020 clearly illustrated how damaging that kind of attitude can be to the health of an organization. Chasing after bells and whistles is one thing, but there definitely is a prudence in being open to technological possibilities. Being willing to find ways to integrate tech into the fabric of what you do almost always brings positive results, but unwillingness to do so immediately labels your organization as out-of-date and obsolete. Your competition is looking at ways to leverage tech to their benefit, so simply refusing to explore it yourself really isn’t an option.


One of the most significant benefits of utilizing Microsoft Teams in your organization is that it becomes a standardized, focused platform for everyone to work on. You might still supplement it with other third party tech, but Teams can become the primary outlet that serves all the facets of your daily operations. It might take your staff a little while to recalibrate, but a Teams-centric operating structure instantly improves overall communication in the organization and makes it significantly easier for people to interact and collaborate. And, perhaps most beneficial of all, the fact that Teams is a cloud-based solution makes it possible for your organization to operate remotely with full access to your files and data. Many businesses made this discovery in 2020 when circumstances made remote operations a necessity, only to later learn that cloud-based access to your organization also opens the door for real development and growth.


Although Microsoft offers a free version of Teams, obtaining paid licenses can provide better options for businesses with a commitment to security and compliance adherence. And, beyond the basic functionality of Teams, it’s also possible to obtain a license for Microsoft 365. This comprehensive, cloud-based suite provides access not only to Teams but also to familiar apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This, coupled with its full integration into Microsoft Outlook, can provide a truly comprehensive package for your organization to carry out its daily operations. But, even within the vast palette of creative tools contained in Microsoft 365, it’s Teams that will still likely be the core component of your structure.


The overall layout of Teams is designed to help you to apply the technology in ways that are logical and relevant. The main divisions within Teams are also referred to as “teams”. A team will generally be created for a specific group of people who collaborate together in a certain segment of your business. When you create a team, you have the ability to invite whoever you would like to belong to it. The team itself provides a place where documents can be uploaded, created, and collaborated on, and the cloud-based aspect even lets different people simultaneously access and edit the same documents.


A further sub-division under a team is what’s referred to as a channel. Whereas teams are geared toward groups of people working together, channels are generally specific to individual categories like programs or projects. This is beneficial from that standpoint that it makes accessing critical files or conversations much easier. Rather than having to rummage through a disconnected assortment of data housed under the overall team, channels serve as a true focal point for narrowing and defining what people are working on. This is further enhanced by the fact that you have the ability set the privacy level of the channel. You can permit everyone in your team to have open access to the channel and its contents, or, in situations involving confidential data, restrict the channel to only those specific people who need access to it.


One of the best aspects of working in Teams is that there are so many interlaced methods of communication to help bring your staff members together. A chat function permits dialogue between two or more team members, and the thread is retained within Teams for future reference. If Teams is being used in conjunction with a Microsoft 365 Business license, meetings and appointments can be scheduled in Teams and will automatically be mirrored in the user’s Outlook account. This all works in tandem to keep inter-organization communication clearly focused and centralized, and the net result is an inevitable increase in operational efficiency. It’s much more difficult to overlook things when all the efforts of the organization are occurring in the same space.


Another convenient feature of Teams is the integration of video conferencing. Meetings can either be conducted on the fly or pre-scheduled via invitation, and the available tools for supporting them include screen sharing, breakout rooms, and polls. These meetings can be held exclusively in the video realm, or combined with in-person meetings to permit staff members to access the proceedings remotely. As with all other aspects of Teams, the emphasis on the structure of the meeting function is very much centered around collaboration and ease of access. An option to record and transcribe meetings also helps streamline the process of documenting key discussion points for further review after the meeting has concluded.


Working with Microsoft Teams is a fairly straightforward process, but it does take the buy-in of your entire staff in order for it to truly serve your organization. Being a cloud-based entity, Teams can experience intermittent hiccups, but these fortunately are few and far between. If you’ve never considered exploring an option such as this, research Teams further to see what it might be able to do for you. Chances are high that it can prove to be a valuable tool for your organization, helping you to solidify the operations you’re already carrying out and to mature and develop the nature of your business as you move forward.

 

Would you like more training on Office 365 products? If so, email us at info@valorexcel.com or call us at 240-329-9387 to see how we can help you work smarter, not harder. In the meantime, make sure you check our recent videos on YouTube by clicking HERE. Each episode is designed to inspire, empower, and transform you and/or your organization.

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