What’s New in Office 365 Webinar

Are you making the most of your Office 365 software? Microsoft has recently introduced a range of updates to the Office 365 suite. In order to ensure you are getting the most out of your software, Ben hosted a webinar to give you an overview on the latest updates and features you can start using today.

Watch the replay of the webinar, and there are some notes below for your reference. Here’s a free notes page you can download and print if you’d like to jot down a few notes as you’re listening.

Latest Updates in Office 365

Here’s an overview on what was covered in our webinar:

General Updates

  • One of the most noticeable updates recently has been the new icons for each of the Microsoft applications, and a ‘simplified ribbon’ – the menu bar above the applications is a bit more simple and easier to read.
office new icons
  • There is improved integration between applications for more seamless collaboration
Office Online
  • The online version of Office 365 is accessible from a web browser, which is extremely useful when trying to access documents or data from the cloud
  • The online versions are becoming more popular around frontline workers who can access the programs from mobile devices when they’re out of the office.
  • Apps are getting progressively more useful and introducing more functionality, so there are less differences between the online and desktop versions.
  • ‘Design ideas’ is a new feature whereby the program can offer ideas on how to layout your document based on what it thinks you’re trying to achieve (side note: does anyone remember “Clippy”, Microsoft’s Office Assistant in versions of Word?? #flashback)
Microsoft Office Clippy
Office Desktop (PC)
  • Unlike previous versions of Microsoft Office where you have to wait for an upgrade to access updates (ex. Office 2013 to Office 2017), the modern day desktop version of Office automatically delivers updates as long as your subscription is active.
  • Autosave functionality is now on by default and allows real time saving of changes on documents saved in the Office365 cloud.
  • Updates on user interface for improved user experience.
  • Some apps are starting to develop and improve some functionalities that are useful to hybrid devices (Tablet Laptops).
Office Mobile
  • “Any device, anywhere, anytime” is Microsoft’s main mantra at the moment.
  • Outlook mobile has amazing built in applications, which you can download from the App Store and log in as you would to Office 365 online.
  • Through a feature called Scanning, you can take a photo of a text or document written on any surface. You can then have the file saved as pdf with the correct orientation into your OneDrive file.
 Sharepoint and OneDrive
  • ‘Mentions’ are now available within Office documents for better collaboration – for example, if you are editing a document, you can insert a comment and tag a colleague by writing @johnsmith and John will be notified that there is a comment waiting for him.
  • Create reminders for Sharepoint to keep track on which files or documents to update. For example, company policies or risk management assessments that are meant for periodic reviews.
  • Sharepoint allows real-time file sharing that helps create a more efficient collaboration on document and content.
  • There is now more control on how we can share and grant access to content and documents. For example, we can now issue access that blocks the ability for the reader to download the content.
 Stream and Teams
  • Microsoft Stream is a powerful video library for your business. It is now commonly being used effectively for training videos and job interviews. And with the other Office365 apps out there that it can be integrated with, there can be a lot of powerful uses for Stream.
    • Speaker timelines are read with face detection powered by AI technology that detects which speaker is speaking.
    • Speech-to-text functionality automatically takes all of the audio from your video then converts it into text or transcript. It will then be saved next to the video within the Stream application.
    • Transcript search and timecodes is enabling users to search for certain parts of a video more easily.
  • Skype for Business is now being phased out and is going to be replaced by Teams.
  • Microsoft Teams is becoming a hub of where we do work. It is being integrated to most of the apps and features in the Office 365 suite. Also, more businesses are now using Teams as their telephones replacing previous methods of telephony.
  • Staffhub is now replaced by Microsoft Shifts, a little feature in Teams that helps you coordinate your rostering of frontline staff.
  • Microsoft To Do integrates with Outlook’s Tasks to help keep track of important reminders and notes.
 Planner
  • Planner is a task management tool based on kanban methodology that works on the concept of filling Buckets with tasks or, as Microsoft calls them, “cards.”
  • It is a simple and powerful way to organize and keep track of tasks and jobs assigned to team members that allows real-time collaboration and content sharing.
Webinar Q&A

Q: Is the Design Ideas feature available in the desktop version of programs as well as online versions?
A: Yes they are.

Q: Autosave. I assume from what you have said that this won’t work for Box-saved docs?
A: No, it’s just for documents being save to the Office 365 cloud. (Box is another cloud storage software)

Q: Outlook mobile app. Can I log in for my work email and my personal email separately?
A: Yes. You can have multiple email accounts sitting within Outlook mobile app.

Q: If we’re already subscribed to Office 365, do any of these apps cost over and above that?
A: All the ‘standard’ apps exist with your Office 365 plan. There may be additional costs for specialist programs such as Project and Visio, which you could buy on a single license basis.

Q: How do I best deal with tasks in Outlook on iOS?
A: You could use the Microsoft To Do app, as To Do items are now essentially being synced with MS Outlook Task items.

Q: Can I use my OneDrive just like Dropbox for sharing with others outside my organization?
A: Yes. Absolutely.

Q: Does a Search look through all the apps?
A: Yes, but, it can depend on context. (For further explanation, please refer to the webinar video at 55:25)

All of these features, products and services are already available in your Office365 subscription and are ready to be utilized by you. Your challenge is now to make the most out of your Office 365 subscription by taking action on these new features. You don’t need to change everything at once, but what is one thing you can take action on today to improve one part of your business efficiency or productivity? It may only look like a small step at first but all of these little one percenters can make a big impact in the long run.

If you’d like to discuss and understand any of these Office 365 tools further, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

O365 Power Up Package
Office 365 for the Real World Webinar

Office 365 for the Real World Webinar

Office 365 for the Real World Webinar

Have you ever wondered how other businesses utilise their business software? The Office 365 suite offers so much capability in powering up your business with a great range of tools available, sometimes all it takes is to have a wider knowledge on how to utilise them. Watch our webinar replay to see how other businesses are using Office 365 to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

In this webinar, Mia McIntyre talks about case studies of real businesses who efficiently make their existing Office 365 tools work for their organization, rather than having to pay for external subscriptions and remember multiple logins. Have a watch of the replay, and there are further notes below.

How Other Businesses are Using Office 365

File Storage and Sharing

Company: Sovereign Property Development

  • Property Development Firm
  • 15 staff and growing
  • Were paying Monthly or Annual payments for Dropbox accounts

Having to share files throughout the team and to external parties can be a tough job and an expensive one too. However, Microsoft’s solution to this is Sharepoint (for business files) and OneDrive (for personal files). These tools only require a single log in and let you efficiently and securely store, manage and share your files in the cloud, through to the organisation and to external people.

1-7

A lot of people get confused with the functionality of these two tools. They are both cloud storage options and are very efficient with file sharing but their difference lies on their purpose:

Sharepoint

  • This is where business data is stored
  • It lets you choose who has access to the data
  • It is a single source of truth – only one true document, rather than multiple versions

OneDrive

  • Can be an alternative to your internal hard drive storage (Local Disk C:)
  • Can be automatically synced to your local storage

 

Feedback Forms and Surveys

Company: Healthy Helpers

  • Health Consultancy
  • A team of 42
  • Uses a paid SurveyMonkey subscription to send feedback forms to clients and exports results into Excel

When it comes to capturing feedback from our clients, the Office 365 solution is Forms, with the additional functionality of Microsoft Flow to export the data into other programs. These apps are already included in your Office365 suite.

3-3

Forms

  • Simplified form creator
  • Offers Anonymous feedback

Flow

  • Automation tool
  • Captures form information to bring into another environment (e.g email, newsletter, document, etc.)

 

Managing Tasks

Company: Good Change

  • Not-for-profit organisation
  • Many volunteers and staff
  • Currently uses Trello to track team tasks

When it comes to task management, there are a lot of tools that stand out and there is one in your Office 365 suite. It can be a headache to set up a new account to track the tasks of a fresh employee onboard but Office 365 has a solution –that is Planner. With a single login, you eliminate the risk of forgotten login details. Planner uses Kanban methodology that helps provide an easy and intuitive view of your tasks.

5

Planner

  • Manage and Monitor Tasks for the Team
  • Assign and track tasks of team
  • Collaborate tasks with the team

 

Education and How-to Documents

Company: Moving Forward Logistics

  • Logistics firm
  • Onshore and Offshore staff
  • Struggling to manage onboarding with regards to training

In an organisation that is rapidly growing, it is vital to keep track of company systems and processes and enable new staff to be onboarded easily. Office 365 offers Stream and Sharepoint to keep track of these systems easier. Sharepoint lets you store and manage your content to share with whomever you want, so it’s a great place to store company procedures and other documentation. Having Stream is simply like having Youtube exclusively for your business, which means that it is well suited for recording and storing training videos for your team.

7

 

Managing Communication and Meetings

Company: Change Solutions

  • Consulting Firm
  • Global staff
  • Currently using paid Slack for communication, meetings and sending files

How many of us are using paid meeting tools? What if there is another option that won’t cost you an extra buck? We’re talking about Microsoft Teams here, which allows you to either internally or externally set meetings and communicate with the people in your organization. Another good thing is that it is fully integrated to the rest of your Office 365 tools so all your data, such as files, chat conversations, plans and videos, is fully accessible within Teams.

9

Microsoft Teams

  • Schedule Meetings for video or audio calls
  • Record video and audio during meetings and save to Stream
  • Create Teams where you can communicate as a group chat
  • Connects to Sharepoint so data is integrated

 

Simple Application and Automation

Company: Home Helpers

  • Carers Agency
  • 20 carers
  • Quoted $50,000 to get various apps for logging job information

Who would’ve thought that a simple process of trying to know when carers clock in or clock out could cost so much? Having to plan and build an application from scratch is a long process and by the time they’re done, they might not be as flexible to the changes in processes and technology as they should be. Microsoft provides a solution for this –Powerapps and Flow. With Powerapps, you can create form-style apps that can integrate with Flow for actions. And this is cost-effective and adaptable to your future changes.

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 Powerapps

  • Create simple business apps using templates and point-and-click design
  • Easily connect your app to data and use Excel-like expressions to easily add logic.
  • Publish your app to the web, iOS, Android, and Windows 10.

Flow

  • Create action from the Powerapp

 

What is an Online Environment?

Put simply, “because it’s online, it’s essentially like Googling your files” (Mia McIntyre). In a modern world of IoE, it’s no surprise that it also influences how the modern work environments are set. Nowadays, you can access the whole lot of your organisation’s documents, files, processes and even teams in just one click of a mouse.

You can create a company dashboard that has your Vision, Mission and Values plus anything you might be needing for your team. It’s endless what you can do, just limited to your imagination!

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Webinar Q&A

Q: Does Forms offer an option for anonymous feedback?

A: Absolutely. There are two options in creating forms, a) create an anonymous form; b) shows your Office365 login

 

Q: Do volunteers need a paid Office365 account on your domain to access Teams and Planner?

A: You can have external users in those environments but, Microsoft is still a money-making business so even if it can be done, some features may be unavailable. Security-wise, no one can anonymously access the account randomly therefore, it still requires an active log in.

 

Q: With Teams Meetings, do all attendees need to have Teams set up or can their Skype for Business link into the Teams conference call?

A: Yes, it’s linked at the moment but, remember that Skype for Business is being discontinued in the future so you can’t guarantee the experience.

 

Q: Is Teams a practical, direct replacement for Skype for Business or should they co-exist?

A: The change management plan is to completely replace Skype for Business with Teams.

 

Q: Can OneNote be used with Flow?

A: You can connect documentation in OneNote with Flow but, it would be a lot of setup. Our advice would be to capture your information in Powerapps by Forms not in OneNote.

 

Q: What can you recommend as alternative to Microsoft Project?

A: There is no clean replacement for it.

 

Q: Where does Outlook Customer Manager fit into all this?

A: Customer Manager is a plugin that you get from a business premium account. It is tied into everything. A plugin that sits in Outlook that allows you to capture information around a client based on their email address.

Now that you can see how other businesses are using Office 365, you must be filled with ideas on how to improve the utilisation of your own Office365 business tools. Were all your questions answered? If you do have additional questions or points that weren’t discussed in this webinar, we’d be happy to have a conversation with you.

 

Want an assessment on how you can power up your Office 365 usage? Talk to us today to see if our Power Up Package is right for you.

New Ways with Office 365: webinar

By choosing to leverage the power and flexibility of Microsoft Office 365, your business is in fine company. Many of the most successful businesses in the world (and locally in your industry) are reaping the rewards of having made the same decision.

But the big question is – are you getting the most out of your Office 365 subscription? Many organizations take the step into Office 365 to move their email to the cloud, which is great, but then fail to take advantage of all the other amazing stuff that Office 365 has to offer. And it has so much to offer.

That is why we decided to run our ‘New Ways with Office 365’ webinar, to give you a rundown on all the latest features available in Office 365. If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, here is a video of the replay:

Here’s a recap of what is discussed in the webinar:

What is Office 365?

Office 365is a Microsoft brand used to describe a suite of software programs, the most well known of which are probably Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook.

Historically, we would have purchased a ‘perpetual license’ to own a copy of a particular version of the Office software to be installed onto our servers and computers inside our offices. These days, Office 365 is a cloud based subscription, whereby we pay a monthly fee to access these applications. Because the programs are web based, they are continuously being updated behind the scenes and we will always have access to the latest versions and updates of the Office software for as long as we pay for the subscription.

Most people have their first contact with the Office 365 suite through email, using the Outlook software, and are familiar with Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Perhaps you also regularly use Sharepoint and Skype for Business. Today we’d like to focus on the less well-known features of Office 365.

App Launcher and Web Versions of Office 365 Applications

From your Office 365 web portal, you can quickly access any of the web versions of the Office applications through the ‘App Launcher’. Click on the button on the top left of the Office 365 portal which shows a grid of dots and you can choose from a list of applications.

Applauncher

If you click on the three dots to the right of the application name, you can choose to open the application in a new tab or ‘learn more’ about the application.

apps2

Some of the web versions of the Office programs have slightly less functionality than the full desktop versions, but they are very useable and can be good for making quick changes when out of the office.

Web version of Microsoft word

Mobile Apps

mobileapp

 

Many of the Office 365 programs have native mobile apps. Because they have been designed to use on a mobile device, the user interface will be different to that available on the desktop version and the features more simplistic. However, they can be really handy if we need to open an Office document to make last minute changes while out of the office. As well as the more well known programs such as Word and Excel, you’ll find handy apps like Office Lens. These apps are available on the App store for iPhone and Google Play for Android.

 

Sharepoint

Sharepoint has improved in leaps and bounds in recent times. Once only used in the ‘big end of town’ recent improvements have made Sharepoint much more accessible and appealing to smaller organisations.

Microsoft has invested in the ‘Sharepoint Modern Interface’, making Sharepoint now responsive when used on various mobile devices, much more user friendly and feature rich. Simple things like moving a file between folders had been ridiculously hard, but now can be completed in the click of a button.

As an example of Sharepoint’s capabilities, many organisations using Sharepoint now no longer need a file server, as all file storage for the organisation is in the cloud. Communication sites can be set up as a method of communicating internally. As well as being attractive and easy to use, they are also easy to manage on the back end.

If you have looked at Sharepoint in the past and decided it didn’t meet your needs, it is worth revisiting and assessing Sharepoint again in its current form.

Flow

Microsoft Flow is similar to programs such as Zapier and Ift, which enables multiple separate applications to be connected. For example, a set of rules and triggers can be set up in Flow so that attachments on an Outlook email will automatically be saved into a folder in OneDrive. It’s not limited to Microsoft programs – Flow will enable integrations between a large number of external programs, such as Facebook or Twitter, as well.

flow

We personally use Flow to connect our company CRM (ConnectWise) to Hubspot, which manages our marketing automation. Ben uses Flow to set up ‘notes to self’ within Outlook without actually opening the Outlook app.

Bookings

Microsoft Bookings simplifies how customers book and schedule appointments through a web based interface. Using a customisable web page, it shows clients and prospects the available dates, times, services and consultants and allows them to book, change and cancel the booking themselves. The application can also send reminders, and has a direct integration with Outlook calendars.

Forms

We all know what a form is – a series of fields in which we enter information. Microsoft Forms enables us to create electronic forms and send to people to capture information. For example, maybe you want to survey your clients or staff. We use Microsoft Forms in our business to check-in items for repair into our Workshop. With Forms, we can create basic forms, or make them a little more complicated with conditional fields. Forms easily integrate with the other Office applications, or you could use Flow to setup an integration with an external program.

form

Planner

Based on a Kanban method of task management, Planner works in a similar way to web based programs like Trello. It’s not a project management program (like Microsoft Project), but a way of organising tasks within an organisation or department. Task details are entered in a card, and the card can be moved between lists/buckets. The tasks can be colour coded, categorised, allocated a due date and a team member. With the ability to use across multiple devices and email notifications, Planner is a great way to visually keep track of where everyone in the team is up to on a particular job.

StaffHub

Microsoft StaffHub is designed to enable employees to manage and schedule rosters. The app can be installed on a mobile device, so even staff without access to a computer can utilise the features of StaffHub. Using the app, staff can read company announcements and communicate with other employees, swap shifts on rosters, and access training and onboarding information.

staffhub

Stream

Like a corporate version of YouTube, Microsoft Stream is a secure video library for use within your organisation. These days, we’ve all realised the value of video as an extremely powerful knowledge transfer tool and it’s becoming a dominant form of content on the internet. Stream allows you to easily upload videos to a secure site, then categorise and present the video content and it’s great for keeping a library of team training videos and shared knowledge. At Grassroots IT, we use it as part of our onboarding process, with a video to welcome each of our new employees. We have an array of training videos, some quick how-to clips and recordings of some long, indepth training sessions with external consultants. It can be really beneficial to use the training videos to then create a written procedure. It’s very easy to create videos these days – most of ours are just created with an iPhone or a screen recording using SnagIt.

Teams

These days, many work teams (including ours) cross geographical locations and culturesMicrosoft Teams is a program designed to help collaboration between team members even if they aren’t working from the same office using various features, including text chat, calls, and virtual meetings, as well as shared file storage, and integration with Planner, Skype for Business, Sharepoint and other Office 365 programs. At this stage, the Teams program feels a bit “version 1” but we have no doubt it will evolve in the near future and become a really useful tool as it evolves. If nothing else, if you don’t yet use chat software (such as Slack) it might be worth giving the chat function on Teams a go as a starting point.

Power BI

While we all have plenty of data in our organisations, it’s not particularly useful unless the data is transformed into information and business intelligence from which we can make informed business decisions. Power BI creates a visual representation of information based on one or more data sources. For example, you could bring in information from your financial software, such as Xero, and combine in with data from your email marketing software, such as Mailchimp, and create a map which highlights all your clients by location, spend and by degree of engagement with your marketing, so you can get a deeper insight into where your most profitable customers are coming from. While it can be a little more complicated than the other programs mentioned, Power BI can be an extremely powerful tool and is well worth investigating. There are some good tutorials online to help you gain a better understanding of it.

powerbi

Power Apps

PowerApps allow for the rapid development of custom business applications with little to no coding. This is more for internal use within your organisation, rather than something for your clients or to sell (and make a billion dollars ;)). The apps can be delivered through a web page or a native app and can integrate with the Office 365 suite, as well as non-Microsoft custom applications that you may use in your business. One way we could use PowerApps at Grassroots IT would be to use the workshop form (as mentioned above in the Forms section), use our mobile phone to scan the QR code and scan the equipment, then automatically bring in information about the equipment from third party vendors, such as HP or Dell.

Webinar Questions

We had some great questions from the audience during our webinar. Here are a few Q&As we discussed:

Q: Would Flow work to import orders from customers onto our own database?

A: Hi, as long as there are integrations for the database that may be possible. There is quite an extensive list of systems that you can use with Flow these days

Q: Can people attach documents to the response in Forms?

A: Microsoft are currently working on the ability to upload document, images etc to Form responses.

Q: Is Stream the same as Sway?

A: Stream and Sway are slightly different animals. Sway is designed as a tool to make it simple to combine text and media to make a presentable website, whereas Stream really is a secure, corporate YouTube style of product. You can import your video from stream into your Sway presentations though!

Q: Can Power BI views developed, for example, by a finance team be served up to certain users based on their role in the organisation?

A: Yes. There is some good control in permissions with relation with how you can control access to PowerBI presentations.

Q: Can some of these Office 365 apps be also used by staff who do not have office 365 license? i.e. if someone has the old-school desktop license?

A: For staff to access these apps, they will need valid Office 365 licence and it would depend on what form of Office license they have. However, this may depend on the circumstances – for example, if you create a form in MS Forms, other people will be able to view your form, even if they’re not an Office 365 user.

Q: Does Office 365 have an effective CRM app or is it spread across a number of apps?

A: Microsoft Dynamics CRM is their dedicated CRM product. It can be purchased as stand alone subscription, but it integrates with the Office 365 suite (and it is being brought into the Office 365 model). It is a big and full featured service, so you would need to bring in an implementation specialist to ensure you get it right. Coming down a level, Microsoft Outlook does have a CRM module that you can use.

Q: Hi, after just upgrading to business 365, can I integrate my old 365 account?

A: We’re going to give you a cautious “yes” to this question, but it’s probably best to send through specific details so that we can ensure the integration is done correctly and you don’t lose any data.

Q: I bought my Office 365 subscription through GoDaddy. Does this mean access to certain apps would be limited?

A: You may need to check exactly which type of Office 365 subscription you have, as there are different plans available and they will include different applications.

 

We hope you were able to learn about some the latest features of Office 365. Are you making the most of your Office 365 subscription? Download our checklist to see how many of the latest features you are utilising.

 

If you need any help working out how best to use Office 365 in your organisation, make a time with our Client Success Manager for a free half hour consultation.

Customer Service is the New Marketing

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

Have you ever wondered why customer service is more important than ever?

Do you wish you could use social media can help you improve your customer service?

Have you ever thought, ‘how can I surprise and delight my customers?’

We all have! These are common challenges for all of us in business.

Mel Kettle has a Master of Business in Marketing, has run her marketing practice for 11 years, and is a highly sought after speaker and mentor. She has helped clients from around Australia, as well as Canada, England, and USA to communicate effectively and authentically so they attract, engage and retain customers.

We were lucky enough to feature Mel in a recent webinar on why Customer Service is the New Marketing, which you can replay here:

We do business with people we know, like and trust, and Mel discusses how it’s possible to utilise social media to have conversations with our customers and build trust in us and our brand.

Organisations that use social media to engage positively with customers have a higher rate of trust and, research shows that a higher rate of trust can lead to 76% more engagement for a business.

We know that it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer, so how can we can work smarter at keeping our existing clients happy? Customers generally decide how they feel about a business based on their customer experience. They tend to talk about a business publicly when their experiences are a) terrible and b) awesome, but not when they’re just average. Better service isn’t unique, but a better experience is.

There are three ways we can give customers a positive experience – we can provide great service, have conversations and provide opportunity. It is in the intersection of these three vital elements that we are able to truly engage with our customers, communicate well and individualise their experience and give them a positive experience with our business. Mel explains this in more detail in the webinar.

Mel offers a number of practical examples of how businesses have surprised and delighted her as a customer, including her recent experiences at Weber and when the owner of Dello Mano reached out via Twitter after Mel had experienced the sudden loss of her mother. It is due to the positive experiences with these businesses that Mel continues to talk about them publicly, and thus the one seemingly small act of excellent customer service has led to very positive marketing benefits.

Social media expert Mark Shaefer says we need to “Be more human. In every engagement and comment.” We need to make our customers feel valued. These days, people expect a timely response to their comments on social media. Some organisations manage their client’s expectations on social media really well. Royal Dutch Airlines has a banner on their Twitter account that is regularly updated (every five minutes) with the length of time in which you can expect to receive a response to any tweet.

How can we fall more in love with our clients, rather than our own business and products? Research shows that just a 5% improvement in customer service can lead to significant increase in profitability. Going above and beyond for our clients can go a long way. GE had a great response to their #healthyshare campaign, sending surprise gifts to their customers and generating goodwill for the company. While this is a big budget example, even just a handwritten note to a customer can serve to surprise and delight them.

After a terrible, drawn out experience when his guitar was broken flying with United Airlines, Dave Carroll wrote a catchy tune called ‘United Breaks Guitars’ which led to a subsequent PR disaster for United Airlines. As a great example of a business being open to opportunities, guitar manufacturer, Taylor Guitars, responded by providing a new guitar to Mr Carroll and reminding customers that they offer a repair service.

Mel concluded the webinar by discussing how just saying thank you to our clients can be a simple yet powerful communication to enhance their experience of our business.

Speaking of thank yous, we are very grateful to Mel Kettle for her time in preparing and presenting this webinar and sharing her insights and knowledge on customer service.

How to Get Started with Sharepoint

SharePoint is cloud-based software that businesses can use to create their own team sites and portals. These sites enable businesses to share and collaborate on their content with colleagues inside and outside the organization from any device.

So, for example, picture a website that employees can login to, with a home page that has links through to the main apps used within their organisation, plus lists (maybe an asset register) and document libraries, with easy access to policies and procedures, forms and templates, marketing collateral and images that need to be shared by all staff, and maybe some promotional videos. Sound pretty cool?

A sample view of what Sharepoint looks like on a mobile device.

While historically it’s been a program used only in big enterprises, the features of SharePoint are now easily accessed by small businesses as SharePoint is included in Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription, which many businesses use anyway. So, for no additional costs, small businesses are able to utilise SharePoint and harness the power of their very own virtual office.

So how do we get started with SharePoint?

We invited Mia McIntyre from MiVirtual to deliver a webinar on how small businesses can get started with SharePoint, and she gave an awesome presentation. If you missed it, here’s a replay:

As well as doing a detailed demonstration of what SharePoint can do, here are the main points that Mia covered in her presentation:

Why should we use SharePoint?

  • Cost
    • If you already have Office 365, SharePoint is included in your license so you don’t need to pay for other file sharing services, such as Dropbox.
  • Efficiency
    • Just use one login to access a number of different programs.
  • Collaboration
    • Document collaboration is one of SharePoint’s best features.
    • You can work on the same version of a document simultaneously with colleagues and clients, and it will save automatically (instead of having to email drafts backwards and forwards and not knowing which is the most current version).
  • SSOT
    • ‘Single source of truth’ – if you’re working on a file stored in the cloud on Sharepoint, you are making changes to the same single source so you know that you are always working on the most current document.

What is Sharepoint?

    • It’s a cloud-based service hosted by Microsoft
    • For businesses of all sizes
    • Included in your Office 365 plan (or stand-alone)
    • Use it to create sites to share documents and information with colleagues, partners, and customers.
    • Every site has a landing page
    • You can have subsites, lists, apps, document libraries, etc.
    • Everything is highly customisable

What do I need to do before starting to build my SharePoint site?

Think about your current situation and what your requirements are for a cloud-based document storage system.

    • What programs do you currently use?
      • Write down all your logins and do an audit.
      • Are there any that require you to have documents stored locally?
    • What are your current pain-points in the business?
      • What causes the most frustration and inefficiency when you’re dealing with document storage and collaboration.
    • What features can’t you live without in your business?
      • What are your integral pieces when dealing with documents in the office – shared calendars? Etc.
    • Review your organisational structure and file structure
      • Even if there’s only you in the business, write out your organisational structure based on the roles/responsibilities performed and what it takes for your business to function.
      • Where and how are your files currently stored?

Get Ready to Build 

    • Create an example structure of how you want your SharePoint site to look, confirm the structure you want to run with and think about your basic theming and aesthetics.
    • Prepare your team. Get them on board for the change, get their input and feedback, and provide training and support after the change.
    • Outsource what you need to. Get help with things like data migration from your IT provider so that it’s a smooth process.

What if I still need help setting up my SharePoint site?

Grassroots IT and MiVirtual are on hand if you have questions about SharePoint or you would like assistance with creating your team site. We have some basic, fixed-price Sharepoint Packages available if you want us to get your site up and running quickly and need training on how to use it, or some consultation can be provided on an hourly basis.

Get in touch today to discuss your SharePoint needs further, either by email or call us on 1300554138.

 

Xero Cloud Accounting: is it right for my business?

Are you considering moving your business across to Xero Cloud Accounting? It can be a tough decision. We know, because we went through exactly the same decision making process here at Grassroots IT before we made the switch to Xero.

We are grateful to Jac Gallagher from Notch Above Bookkeeping who presented a webinar for us on Xero for Small Business.

Here’s a replay of the webinar:

Here is a rundown of what Jac discussed in the webinar:

Xero is a cloud based system, so there is nothing to install and updates to the Xero system are done in the cloud, without causing any downtime for the user. Backups are also done automatically, so you don’t need to manually backup any of your data.

You can log in to Xero through any web interface. This is great if you’re on the road, as you can do most financial tasks, such as invoicing a client, from your smart phone. Xero has bank level security, and it’s possible to add an additional level of authentication if you’d like to.

Jac walked us through using Xero from the perspective of ‘A Day in the Life of a Small Business Owner’. Starting from the dashboard, we were able to see her complete a number of transactions, including:

    • Reconciliation of bank transactions, using the bank information that comes in automatically each night from our own bank account.
      • Matching transactions, including split payments or one payment for multiple invoices
      • After manually entering vendor details, the system remembers the vendor details for future transactions
      • Being able to collaborate – write a note to your bookkeeper or accounting using the ‘discuss’ box
      • Xero can remember particular transactions and where they need to be coded to without having to manually enter account code each time.
      • Xero can make suggestions on where items should be coded, but the user needs to double check it’s going to the right place.

 

    • Sales – who owes you what and who your major debtors are.
      • Diagrams for visual representations of the information.
      • Based on daily reconciliation, an automatic system can be setup to reminder debtors that payments are due.
      • As you’re creating invoices, you can customise line items as you go
      • You can track particular sales staff or offices and report on that later.
      • Invoices can be tailored with your own company branding.
      • Invoices can be printed or turned into a PDF and emailed.
      • ‘Pay Now’ is add-on option in invoices so that clients can click a button and connect with payment system, such as PayPal.
      • The system can track when invoices are sent and opened/viewed by the debtor.

 

    • Purchases – shows who you owe money to
      • PDF version of invoices from suppliers can be attached to the transaction, so that paper copies can be destroyed but you still have a copy. Great for audit time, and searchable through Xero.
      • Receipts can also be attached to transactions.
      • Each Xero file has its own email address, so if you’re shopping and you receive an invoice, you can forward the invoice through to Xero via email and it sits on your file until you get a chance to process.

 

    • Payroll
      • Employees can use the Xero Me app and send in leave applications or submit time sheets electronically.
      • If leave is approved, you can allocate the leave to a particular date and it will be allocated in that time period.
      • Pay Run – can look through prior pay runs for history, and look over draft pay runs before saving and approving to post the pay run.
      • You can email the pay slips, which are customisable with company branding and fully compliant for what needs to be included for ATO.
      • Xero is compliant with SuperStream, and superannuation can be paid directly from your business bank account into multiple superannuation funds, which is a huge time saver.

 

    • Reporting
      • Can be run on a cash or accruals basis.
      • Categories can be tracked so that you can run profit and loss per region, salesperson, etc.
      • Aged Receivables report can be annotated (ie. ‘This payment is considerably overdue. Shall we call them?’) and notes can be included in printout/PDF.

 

Every business is different and Xero may not be able to cover every function of a business, but there are other add-on functions that can integrate well with your Xero accounting package, eg. an inventory app for retail businesses, a payment gateway, invoicing software. Whatever business you’re in, there will be an app to suit. Jac recommends consulting an expert in the particular app you require to ensure the integration is setup correctly from the beginning.

At Grassroots IT, we are really happy that we made the switch to Xero Cloud Accounting. But, as Ben says, it’s not right for every business and it’s important to make an informed decision before making a change to your accounting package. We hope that listening to Jac’s overview of Xero in the webinar is helping your decision making process.

If you’d like a copy of our two page handout from the Xero for Small Business webinar, you can view and download it by clicking on this Xero Webinar Handout link.

skype for business

Skype for Business: Quick Start Webinar

Are you looking for effective communication methods within your business? If you haven’t used Skype for Business before, you might not know how well it integrates with Office 365 as a communication solution for your team, connecting them together from any location. If you’re already using Skype for Business, check out the webinar below to see how you can make the most of its great features.

In this webinar, Ben shares his experience and suggests different uses that can be implemented into any team communication practices. Annie has put together an awesome visual map of the notes so you can follow along with the webinar.

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Skype for Business:

If you have Office 365, it’s more than likely that your subscription includes Skype for Business and (the best part is) you can use the same login.

If you’re familiar with Skype, you’ll know the basics include instant messaging, voice call and video call. Skype for Business goes beyond these features and allows you to:

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  • categorise your contact list
  • co-author documents
  • share your desktop screen
  • share particular files or presentations
  • and do all of this in individual or group chat rooms.

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Create Skype Meeting invitations in Outlook.

Easy integration with Outlook lets you jump directly into a Skype Meeting from your Outlook Calendar invitation. If one of your attendees doesn’t have Skype for Business, it will take them to a web based version so they don’t miss out.

As it is now, you can only set up a Skype Meeting in your own calendar, not in other calendars that have been shared with you. This is a feature that may change in future updates.

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Use features to engage a large group:

Use whiteboard, polls and Q&A features to help energise and engage your group discussions.

skype for business

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Your questions answered:

Q: How many can participate in a S4B meeting?

A: Across all Office 365 options, you are allowed 250 participants.

Q: How many can simultaneously co-author a doc?

A: Default 10, Max 99. You may find that if you have more than 10 users co-authoring a document at the same time the user experience will degrade gradually.

Q: Is S4B call conferencing available?

A: Yes with the E5 plan or as a paid addition to the E3 plan.

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By now you should be ready to collaborate with your team. Remember, you can use Skype anywhere that has a good internet connection (SFB is a bit bandwith hungry!), so stay in the office and chat with your team while they’re onsite.

Ready to put your new found knowledge into practice? Follow this link to download Skype for Business.

 

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Keeping your business safe with Datto Business Continuity solutions

Ransomware is becoming a leading threat to small business in Australia. It’s a type of malware that encrypts data on infected systems and locks its victim’s files and allows criminals to demand payment to release them. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to these attacks.

In this webinar, James Bergl from Datto shares the steps you can take to keep your business safe from these expert hackers.

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More data is being created and stored, by companies of all sizes. Data will continue to grow at rates from 11% to 40% annually (Enterprise Strategy Group). Amount of data could grow by 50 times by 2020. (IDC)

SMBs are part of the “big data” wave.  It really just means smarter use of their data, in turn making it more valuable.

For SMBs, their data is their lifeline.

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Have you experienced disaster in your business?

Earthquakes are a real threat here.  And even in a minor earthquake you may not be let back into a server room until the building is inspected. However, there are more and more threats to a business’ data.  Not just big natural disasters but the day-to-day data loss disasters caused by malware, server failure, power outages and human error.

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Evaluate your risk

Aging equipment and more security risks will drive more data failure and potential data loss for businesses of all sizes, particularly small business.

95% of companies experienced an unplanned data center outage in the past two years. (Ponemon Institute)

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Protecting your data is protecting your business

You wouldn’t consider running your business without insuring your employees or the physical components.  For example, you have have insurance for the physical desktops in case they get stolen, but what about the more valuable data that it contains?

Most business liability insurance policies do not cover data loss.

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What is true Business Continuity?

Just backing up the data is not enough. Business Continuity is about keeping the business up and running in the event of an outage.

  • Hybrid cloud-based backup
  • Image-based backup

Backup entire servers, not just select sets of files.

  • Delivers superior

RTO = Recovery Time Objective
How much downtime can you withstand?

How long can your business be down without it affecting your bottom line?

  • Seconds
  • Minutes
  • Hours
  • Days
  • Never

 

RPO = Recovery Point Objective
How much data are you willing to lose?

  • Eliminates downtime (Virtualization)

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dattoo

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To sum it up…

 

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  • Ransomware is rife & will cost your business money and time
  • Backup is not enough to deliver business continuity
  • Grassroots & Datto are committed to delivering a complete solution to protect you against downtime

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Offer:

FREE RTO/RPO Consultancy Session with Grassroots IT

30% discount on all 3 year contracts before December 14th 2016

Email: ben@grassrootsit.com.au

 

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building offshore team beepo

Building your offshore team with Beepo

Welcome to Building your offshore team with Beepo! Outsourcing and offshoring is a global phenomena and the resourcing market is changing. The Internet and Cloud are enabling businesses access to the World’s best talent. We were joined by Aimee Engelmann, CEO of Beepo, to share her insights of the outsourcing and offshoring market.

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Why is the Philippines #1 for outsourcing and offshoring?

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  • English is the primary language
  • Half a million University graduates a year
  • Cultural fit
  • Accent more palatable
  • Time Zone 7am start for 9am AEST

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Hiring offshore talent

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    • Ability to hire specifically for your needs, match a staff member 100% to your business
    • Skills test staff using your business scenarios to find a stand out performer
    • Management of all Human Resources aspects and day-to-day supervision is done for you
    • Work from office mode, secure, and you can protect your IP
    • Facilities, professional office, high speed internet connectivity, direct dial phones, training
    • Less staff turnover, reliable, and highly scalable

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Beepo

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Types of Roles

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      • Customer Service Consultants – phone, email, chat
      • Graphic Design, Animation, Web developers
      • Social Media Marketing & Digital Marketing
      • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Marketing (SEM)
      • Data mining, database management
      • Software and App development
      • Bookkeeping, Accounting, AP, AR, payroll
      • AutoCAD Drafting, Building Estimators
      • Back of house processing
      • Executive assistant
      • Outbound agents – telesales and appointment setting

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Beepo

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Why is this so important?

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      • Fleet Scheduling
      • Level 1 Maintenance
      • Accounts Reconciliation
      • Fines, Tolls processing
      • Sales and Reservations
      • Content Development

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Beepo

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Manufacturing

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      • Dip their toe in the water with administration support roles
      • Moved into product design – CAD Drawing
      • Main competition on high volume products was from China
      • Opened a Manufacturing facility in Clark, Philippines to support their Australian business
      • No decline in Australian staff

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Beepo

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Professional Services

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  • Struggling with inaccurate bookkeeping and the expense of tidy up as an Accountancy Firm.
  • Discovered offshore talent and launched a Bookkeeping company.
  • Staffed and Marketed 100% by Offshore talent.
  • Profitable and viable business as stand alone. Solved a major pain point in the Accounting Firm.

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The 5 common paths to outsourcing failure

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  • Superhero – don’t try to find someone with a wide variety of skills. Apply the same logic of hiring someone to what you would do if you were hiring in Australia.
  • It’s true because it’s in the resume – test skills before hiring.
  • Yes=? – the soft yes. Avoid asking questions that require a yes or no answer. Rephrase your questions so you can get the right answer you’re looking for.
  • No feedback – make sure the feedback is communicated in a speedy manner.
  • The time poor entrepreneur – dedicate time to communicate with your offshore team regularly.

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For more resources or any questions you may have please visit:

www.beepo.com.au

www.aimeeengelmann.com.au

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5 Steps to an Awesome Workplace Culture

Organisational culture is just like everything else. It will constantly change over time.

So what does this mean for your business? How we can preserve things that are great about our business?

Grassroots IT has recently recruited the help of wattsnext HR to help make the our team great and we want to share these secrets with you!

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5 Steps to an Awesome Workplace Culture from Grassroots IT on Vimeo.

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Step 1: Get your story straight

 

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Vision

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Where do you want to go? What do you want to be?

 

 

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Mission

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Why does this business exist?

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Values

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What are the guiding behaviours that will make it happen?

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Integrity: We get it done with no ego and no excuses

Courage: We work on the skinny branches

Honesty: We have confidence to tell it as it is

Innovation: We let our creative juices flow

Passion: We are always passionate and in tough times we fight

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Step 2: Connect the dots

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How can we make sure that the story of your business becomes a day-to-day reality?

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Role Clarity

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  • What are the three big rocls of each role?
  • What outcomes do we require?
  • What does this role look like when it is being done exceptionally?

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Structural Clarity

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  • Is the structure funcational?
  • Has it been built in response to functions or people?

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Communication Lines

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  • Are the same questions going to different people?

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Decision Making Parameters

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  • Can we remove all the grey areas?
  • How can we empower people?

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Step 3: Alignment with your “humans”

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We’re dealing with actual, real-life people here!

Find the right humans – how are you going to source them?

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  • Proper onboarding and reboarding.
  • Keep them informed and accountable.
  • Help them work together and make it enjoyable.
  • Development. Development. Development.

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Step 4: Sell the benefits of leadership

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Leadership is a mindset and a skill set.

It is not a title on a business card.

People don’t want managers, they want leaders.

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Step 5: Grab your crystal ball

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The future of work is here – embrace it!

Seriously, things are about to get really different.

There’s a healthy competitive advantage waiting for anyone who wants to move now.

Google “millennials”  don’t end up as someone who doesn’t get it.

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future

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About wattsnext

 

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  • A provider on insourced HR
  • Operating nationwide and abroad working with SMEs
  • Performance/HR Management/Compliance/Recruitment Strategy
  • Don’t like “HR” very much!

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To learn more about workplace culture and the future of work, connect with wattsnext online:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

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