Monday, 9 May 2016

Simple Answers - Question #1: What is Office 365 (O365)?

There is a lot of hype about businesses moving to Office 365, but what exactly is it and why is it so popular?  There are a waft of people (even in IT!) that have never heard of Office 365.  Over the next few months I will help demystify Office 365 & all the things great products that come with it.

Question #1: What is Office 365 (O365)?

O365 is a suite of products provided by Microsoft that can be purchased for a monthly or yearly fee. There are two basic types of subscriptions, Personal or Business.

As part of a personal subscription , you are provided with the latest version of Microsoft Office (2016) which can be installed on any device. This includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, Outlook, etc.

As part of a business subscription, in addition to a copy of Microsoft Office 2016 for all staff, you also get the option of using any of the list of products below which I will go into more detail on later:

  • Yammer
  • Skype for Business
  • Exchange Online (email)
  • SharePoint Online
  • OneDrive
  • Power BI
  • Delve
  • Sway
  • PowerApps
  • Flow

Sunday, 1 May 2016

From Intranet to Digital Workplace

On the 28th-29th April 2016, I attended the Digital Workplace Conference in Melbourne.  Here are my notes & thoughts about one of the sessions.

Session: From Intranet to Digital Workplace

Speaker: James Robertson - @james_steptwo

Session Takeaways:
  • Intranets should achieve the objectives of the business.  Shouldn't be used for any one team to push their agenda or workload onto others.
  • James' 3 simple steps for building a Digital Workplace:
    1. Have projects to utilise the technology currently available
    2. Develop a strategy for the technology that is on the horizon
    3. Have a vision to justify what paths you choose & that plainly explains what you are trying to achieve 

  • 6x2 Methodology - James' every-6-months approach to choosing the most critical & beneficial projects for the business.  As well as how to get executive buy in for your vision.
  • A Week in the Digital Workspace - A vision of how we will work in the future, and how to align that vision with your business objectives.
  • Showed great examples of next-level workplaces, utilising intranet to lower costs & increase productivity.
My Musings:
  • Building a digital workplace isn't about a sexy intranet, although that's a good start!  It's about having a long-term vision of where you are trying to get to.  The vision in turn justifies why you've chosen a certain strategy & why it's worthwhile for the business to keep funding you on your selected projects.
  • Every department should have a story about what they are trying to do and how it aligns with business objectives.
  • Does your IT department have objectives for this year?  Are they tangible?  Do they match what the company is trying to achieve?  Do they align with IT's long term vision of what the companies technology suite should look like?
Rating: 5/5 Strategic Visions

Reasoning:  Great speaker, inspirational, logical.

Agree or Disagree?  Please feel free to discuss your thoughts in the comments below!

Gather-Decide-Act: Three Business Process Case Studies That Transform Data Collection Into Inspired Action

On the 28th-29th April 2016, I attended the Digital Workplace Conference in Melbourne.  Here are my notes & thoughts about one of the sessions.

Session: Gather-Decide-Act: Three Business Process Case Studies That Transform Data Collection Into Inspired Action

Speaker: Mike Fitzmaurice - @MikeFitz

Session Takeaways:
  • Simple solutions using SharePoint lists and Nintex Forms to gather data easily
  • Nintex Forms allow you to fill out forms in offline mode on a mobile device  
  • Offline mode works like your email outbox.  It holds onto the data until there is an internet connection
  • Mike's theory is that if you show a company how to collect data with a simple form, they will see the value of the solution & be inspired to act on building solutions for their other problems
  • Tip: make data collection as simple as possible.  Don't build complicated forms
  • Nintex Workflow also has the functionality to generate contract documents using the data captured within online forms
  • Nintex Workflow can use Docusign to sign said auto-generated contacts as well!
My Musings:
  • Using Nintex Forms across multiple devices requires you to build multiple templates.  Which is fine until an update to a form needs to be rolled out across all devices.  Not a single form template that is responsive across all devices.
  • Can't believe Mike refused to click the 'update' button on his office suite mid-session! ;)
  • +1 for telling the Stone Soup story.
Rating: 4/5 Stone Soups

Reasoning:  Despite the projector difficulties at the start, Mike was a cool, calm & humorous speaker that gave simple examples of how to collect data across multiple devices using a single tool, Nintex Forms & Workflow.

I was personally hoping for a little more on the 'Inspired Action' part of the session (e.g. how do you convince a company to act on the data they collect).  My experience has shown the 'build it & they will come' mantra is true, but inspiring the business to utilise that data & act upon it does not happen without a lot of hand holding.

My understanding is Mike would have gone into further detail had he had more time, but that's the only reason I couldn't give this session full marks!

Agree or Disagree?  Please feel free to discuss your thoughts in the comments below!