In the early days of business documentation and communication, printers and paper were synonymous with productivity. As technology advanced, workplaces saw the promise of paperless process optimisation but began experiencing a different set of challenges. Instead of paper stacks, professionals found themselves overwhelmed by digital clutter.
The problem moved from being paper-based to being disconnected. Tasks sat on people’s personal to-do lists, and project management often occurred in email chains where people shared documents. Disconnected processes consumed significant time as people searched for documents and read through email threads. These tasks also increased the error margin, sometimes leading to costly mistakes.
Microsoft 365 solves many of these challenges with a comprehensive suite of tools that enhances process optimisation with automation and analytics. Here are five ways Microsoft 365 enables your business to optimise processes today.
Replace paper-based processes with digital forms
Replacing your paper processes with digital forms is more than a move to reduce environmental impact or costs. It reduces manual processes by automating paper-based workflows. Microsoft 365 includes Forms, which enables people to design surveys, quizzes, and polls, eliminating the need for physical paperwork and the back and forth that comes with it. You can also automate forms required when onboarding people.
Digital forms ensure accessibility because anyone with the link can access and complete forms regardless of location and on their chosen device. You can also collect immediate responses, unlike paper forms which often require printing, scanning, sharing and filling out.
Share data securely in SharePoint
Secure data sharing is an essential requirement for business today. Teams cannot function with different document versions stored locally on PCs that people share via email or instant messaging. Breaches or unintended data leaks can lead to financial repercussions and tarnish your company’s reputation and trustworthiness in the market. So, sensitive documents especially must sit in a space that restricts access based on user permissions.
Access control ensures that only authorised personnel can view or edit specific data, allowing your team to restrict access based on roles or requirements. This way, you can reduce insider threats by ensuring that people can only access information relevant to their work. Restricting access also reduces the chances that a document becomes accessible to people included in an email chain with sensitive information attached.
Automatically create and assign tasks
Good task management can be the difference between your team working cohesively or struggling to keep up with demands. Properly managed tasks ensure your team meet deliverables within their deadlines, optimise resources and remain aligned with objectives.
Microsoft 365 enhances task management with tools like Microsoft Planner and To Do. Microsoft Planner provides a visual way to organise teamwork, set priorities, and monitor task progression. Team members can quickly review the task board to determine their responsibilities, deadlines, and associated details. To Do acts as a personal task manager, allowing individuals to set daily tasks, reminders, and categorise lists, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.
The real power comes with managing tasks in Microsoft Teams. You can manage tasks from Planner and To Do, so your team can discuss, assign, and reprioritise without switching between applications. With this integration, you can achieve process optimisation by reducing application switching and improving team productivity.
Trigger workflows across the Microsoft 365 suite
Workflow triggers reduce manual work and achieve process optimisation in project management. In the past, someone running a project would have needed to stay abreast of tasks, coordinate the people involved and pass on the correct information. Microsoft 365 provides tools to automate workflows in SharePoint and across various applications within Microsoft 365.
Using Power Automate, your team can trigger email notifications in Outlook, upload documents to SharePoint, and automate data collection in Excel based on survey responses from Forms. These triggers reduce manual labour, and eliminate errors. What’s more, your team can quickly automate routine tasks, ranging from simple to complex processes, without requiring a deep understanding of coding.
Access reporting and analytics
You cannot build a business or process on gut instinct and uncertainty. You need concrete data and KPIs to understand your current state and what needs improvement.
Microsoft 365, combined with Power BI, transforms raw data into visual and interactive dashboards and reports. With it, your business can connect myriad data sources from within your Microsoft ecosystem or external databases and collate this information into visual formats that are easy to understand and share within apps like Teams.
Using Power BI in Microsoft 365, your team can understand data and uncover patterns, trends, and anomalies in areas like sales, operations or customer service. If your organisation is in the process of adopting Microsoft 365, your team can also use Power BI to assess user adoption and target areas for improvement to ensure a seamless migration.
Microsoft 365 is an excellent toolkit for businesses looking to achieve process optimisation. With tools for automating digital forms, securely sharing data, building workflows, managing tasks and delivering analytics Microsoft 365 provides businesses with the capabilities to optimise various operations.
Wyntec can build your business process optimisation strategy
Wyntec can guide your business on optimising Microsoft 365 to drive your business processes. We believe that optimisation starts with the right technology leadership, so we developed IT Leadership as a Service (ITLaaS) to help our customers drive digital transformation, bolster cyber security, and ensure business continuity.
Our IT leaders will collaborate with your company to understand the unique challenges faced by your team and build a strategy for solving potential issues, minimising downtime and maximising productivity. Visit our IT Leadership as a Service page for more information on what we offer.