IM on it—Why Instant Messaging is Collaboration’s Secret Weapon

Implementing an instant messaging platform is important for productivity for teams of all sizes. Enabling a system for quick, informal, easy-to-reference and mobile chats keeps teams connected for nimble collaborations—resulting in a major value-add to your business.

How much value, exactly? Businesses that have embraced instant messaging practice have seen remarkable improvements in productivity and streamlined communication. According to a survey of employees using chat services conducted by SoftwareAdvice.com, 75 percent saw decreased call and email volume, and 66 percent noticed quick resolution for simple questions. When it comes to productivity, 21 percent noted either moderate or significant increase.

IM instant messaging is collaborations secret weapon FI

As company-wide IM benefits become clear, more and more businesses are getting on board. If you’re interested in these benefits but are wary to ensure proper implementation and use throughout your company, provide best practices for your employees to reference to increase productivity and reduce frustrating growing pains.

Don’t shoot the messenger

The following five best practices help ensure successful adoption and usage of IM in your organization:

  1. Provide a company-wide solution—Don’t require employees to use personal accounts; implement a company-provided instant messaging offering. This will streamline features and allow all your employees to find each other to chat.
  2. Choose a secure solution with robust featuresCompliance standards (like HIPPA, DPAS and FISMA, FERPA and banking) apply to more than just email and other secure information sources. Ensure that all your business communication tools align with common compliance standards.
  3. Integrate with other collaboration tools—Standalone instant messengers can leave employees with cumbersome roadblocks. Ensure your solution integrates seamlessly with other tools like business email, phone and video conferencing. Encourage employees to start conversations within project-specific documentation, so that the goal of the conversation remains clear and important information can be easily referenced.
  4. Empower employees to set and respect boundaries—Being reachable 24/7 is unrealistic and sets up your employees for burnout. Encourage colleagues to mute their instant messaging tool for periods of private productivity and focus, then remind co-workers to respect that virtual space.
  5. Don’t replace email completely—Instant messaging is a great option to communicate with even the most inbox-overwhelmed colleagues. But, instant messaging should not replace email or other collaboration tools that are core to keeping record of memorialized conversations. Set standards and show examples of the types of content best handled via IM, email or other project management tools. A general rule is length, if the message will contain more than a few words or sentences, email remains the best option.

A valuable tool for company-wide collaboration, instant messengers should be used to keep employees productive—not distracted or stressed. By implementing and encouraging best practices and sticking with a solution that includes everything you need to implement these practice at the outset, you can see skyrocketing productivity and results.

For more information please contact Atidan at office365@atidan.com.

Reference: https://blogs.office.com/2016/07/20/im-why-instant-messaging-is-collaborations-secret-weapon/

National Small Business Week Webcast—“Small Business, Big Ideas: Live Expert Q&A”

Small Business Big Ideas

Join us for a bonus episode of the Office Small Business Academy, “Small Business, Big Ideas: Live Expert Q&A, in celebration of National Small Business Week, airing May 5 at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET.

We invite the small business community to ask our experts their questions about entrepreneurship during this special one-night event live from the Microsoft flagship store in New York. Together, we’ll discuss the best ways to lead and grow your small business—including tips to empower employees, embrace change, manage resources and create a loyal customer base.

Carol Roth, CNBC on-air contributor and best-selling author of “The Entrepreneur Equation,” will host the event and take your questions, along with Ramon Ray, publisher of Smart Hustle Magazine and small business evangelist, and Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media and former editorial director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Don’t miss this chance to ask our experts your burning questions!

Submit your questions now—Don’t miss this opportunity to ask our experts your burning questions! Submit your questions for Carol, Ramon and Rieva on Twitter with the hashtag #OfficeSmallBiz.

Special offer—And as a special offer for attendees, One Month of Office 365 Enterprise Plans or Two Months Office 365 Business Premium Free from Atidan with a one year committment. Email office365@atidan.com Offer good through May 31. You do not need to attend this event, just mention this offer.

Yammer External Groups Launched

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Collaboration doesn’t stop at the company boundary. Sometimes you need to work closely with customers, consultants, partners or suppliers outside your organization.

Today, we are pleased to announce the new external groups feature in Yammer, enabling you to include people outside your company in a Yammer group—making it easier for extended teams to work together. The external groups capability builds on the existing ways to work with people outside your company, such as external networks and external messaging, which enables you to add people outside your organization directly to a thread in your organization’s Yammer network.

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Creating a Yammer external group.

External groups allow team members with appropriate permissions from outside your organization to fully participate in projects and initiatives by providing access to all the conversations and content in the group. At the same time, we maintain the security of your network data by listing all external groups in a distinct section under the Groups menu and using clear indicators in the UI alerting users to the presence of external team members. Each external group requires group admin approval for external members to join, and a set of proactive controls via Exchange Transport Rules prevents sensitive company information from being shared. We also added functionality to our data export to help verified administrators see which files and conversations are accessible to external users.

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An external group in Yammer.

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Group membership in a Yammer external group.

External groups are available in your Yammer network today, so you can start working with your extended team right away! We are very excited about bringing this functionally to Yammer that helps our customers break down the silos between team members who work together from different organizations.

Learn more about how to create and manage external groups in Yammer.

Contact us at office365@atidan.com for more information, a free Yammer trial, and deployment offers

Updates to Microsoft OneDrive

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New features added to the Microsoft Office 365 OneDrive Next Generation Sync Client:

  • Windows 8.1 support—This completes our commitment around Windows OS support (7, 8, 8.1 and 10).
  • Office 2016 integration—In conjunction with an Office 2016 update currently rolling out, key features such as real-time co-authoring, open documents from the Most Recent list and share documents from within the Office app will be available.
  • Improved setup—Now it’s easy for anyone to get and install the new OneDrive sync client. No more registry keys needed on Windows or Terminal window on Mac!
  • Seamless client migration—If you are running the previous sync client (groove.exe), this update seamlessly transitions without requiring a resync. For full details go here.
  • Pause sync—A handy feature when you want to suspend syncing for a period of time, like when you are tethered to your phone or using Wi-Fi on an airplane.
  • View files online—You can now right click any document in Windows Explorer and select “view online” to navigate to the OneDrive for Business file or folder in the browser.
  • Sync any file type you want—We’ve added support for .json, .aspx, .swf files and more; you can now add any file type to your OneDrive for Business.
  • Block file types—IT admins can now block certain file types from syncing, such as PST or MKV files protecting limited bandwidth.
  • Performance and reliability improvements—Give small files in particular a big boost in upload and download speed.

Most of these new capabilities will be available to all customers within 1–2 weeks, the Office 2016 integration (including the associated Office 2016 update) and Pause sync features will continue rolling out during the course of the summer. There are additional sync updates to be rolled out later this year:

  • Manage bandwidth—By the end of June, we’ll deliver IT controls to throttle bandwidth consumption of the client.
  • Extended Windows Explorer integration—A simple right-click action to get a link or share files directly in Windows Explorer.
  • SharePoint Document Library Sync—We’re adding SharePoint Online document library sync, starting with a preview in the third quarter of 2016, with general release by the end of 2016.

Browser experience enhancements

We’re introducing a simple way to remove files and folders from the “Shared with me” view in the browser experience. Removing an item from the “Shared with me” view doesn’t delete the file; it can still be found via a search, so it’s not lost if you need to get back to it.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 1Easily remove items from your “Shared with me” view.

Sharing with people outside your organization is now a whole lot easier!

We’ve streamlined the process for an external recipient who doesn’t have an Office 365 or Microsoft account to open files you share with them from OneDrive for Business. Now, anyone without an Office 365 or Microsoft account who receives a file invitation just needs to enter an email address or phone number and a password, then confirm their account (one time only), and they’ll have access to the file.

 

Simplified creation of a Microsoft account.

Driving mobile productivity further

This update is a big one for our iOS and Android apps! We’re integrating Outlook mobile with OneDrive for Business, so you can share files through email on both iOS and Android—this update will roll out in the coming weeks.

 

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 3Composing an email on an iPhone and attaching a link to a OneDrive for Business file is quick and easy.

We’ve introduced a richer sharing experience in the OneDrive app for Android, including a fantastic new PDF viewing and annotation experience and an embedded Office Lens experience. You can now take a photo of the whiteboard after an important meeting and have it automatically converted to a PDF file and uploaded to the OneDrive for Business folder of your choice, in one simple process. We’ve included support for Office 365 Data Loss Prevention (DLP). This builds on the DLP integration already in the browser experience. This update will start rolling out today and be available to all users within a week.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 4In the OneDrive app for iOS, we have a new, richer sharing experience including SMS, Mail, Outlook Mobile, Copy Link (both Edit and Read-only links), Invite People and others. You can also save files to OneDrive for Business from any iOS app. As with the Android update, this iOS update also supports Office 365 Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies defined by your organization. Again, this update will roll out to all users in the next week.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 5This iOS update has much richer sharing options for OneDrive for Business files.

New insights, governance and controls for IT

One of the great things about Office 365 is the ability for IT to get an unprecedented view of what’s going on with your critical business data across email and files. We recently started to roll out a new reporting portal in the Office 365 admin center, where you can see key usage metrics for all of your Office 365 services including OneDrive for Business.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 6Comprehensive usage reporting across Office 365 services is now available.

In addition, along with making external sharing easier for end users, we’re also giving IT administrators more controls over who their users can share with. For example, perhaps your organization is OK with files being shared with external parties, but doesn’t want employees to share files with certain organizations, such as direct competitors. Now, IT administrators can set up a list of domains that people can share with or a list of blocked domains (but not both). This new capability is currently rolling out and will be available to all OneDrive for Business customers by the end of April.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 7Setting a list of domains that users can share with.

In September 2015, we rolled out the ability for end users to define an expiration date for an anonymous or guest sharing link. Now we’ve added the ability for IT to set a tenant policy (RequireAnonymousLinksExpireInDays) that makes expiration dates mandatory for anonymous or guest links and assigns default expiration period (e.g., 7 days). Users can still set an expiration date that is shorter, but not longer, than the default period.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 8The user experience if they try to set an expiry date beyond the organization’s policy.

For more information please contact Atidan at office365@atidan.com

New SharePoint Online Interface Enhancements

Improve end user collaboration and sharing with latest SharePoint Online Document library updates. These new enhancements are rolling out now and are similar to what has appeared in OneDrive for Business in December 2015. Six cool enhancements are described below!

  1. Add Links You can Add Links pointing to other documents in the document library. These links can be from user’s OneDrive or another SharePoint Online site.

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Create a Link and otice the .url extension when the link is added.

The links are security trimmed are treated as any other file or folder in your document library – all with properties and workflow options. Perfect for adding a link to a Shared folder user’s OneDrive.

  1. Upload Folders With the new library experience, users will now have option to Upload Folders.

Simply select the folder to upload on your local and then Drag and drop onto a library.

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Hints:

  • If you don’t see the option to drag and drop files, update your copy of Office.
  • If you’re using Windows 10 Edge browser, drag and drop might not work. Use Upload instead.

 

  1. Pin Folders or Documents Now you can Pin folders and documents on the top of the view in a document library. To highlight the file or folder menu when in thumbnail view simply Pin them from the edit menu.

Manage your Pinned documents and folders through the Edit Pin in the banner.
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  1. Move or Copy Documents\Folders\Links Now a fantastic way to move document libraries into SharePoint in mass quantities

SharePoint Online Atidan 5Move Items – Select one or more documents and then click on three dots

Copy Items– Select one or more documents and then click on three dots

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  1. Thumbnail or Grid View At the top right of the document library page, you can change the document library views using All Documents drop down menu. You can either choose list view or thumbnail view or Grid View to change the entire view of the library.SharePoint Online Atidan 7

You can also edit the views and select columns right from the page itself.

  • The highlight area is specific to a single folder or library view. When using custom views, you need to pin the item in each view where you want it to appear.
  • You can highlight a maximum of 3 items per library, folder, or view.
  1. Properties Quick View You can edit  properties of a document and share from the menu on the right.SharePoint Online Atidan 8SharePoint Online Atidan 6

Power BI publisher for Excel (Preview)

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With Microsoft Power BI publisher for Excel, you can take snapshots of your most important insights in Excel, like PivotTables, Charts, and ranges and pin them to dashboards in Power BI.

What can you pin? Just about anything in an Excel worksheet. You can select a range of cells from a simple sheet or table, a PivotTable or PivotChart, illustrations and images, text. What you can’t pin: You cannot pin 3D Maps or visualizations in Power View sheets. There are also some elements you can pin, but it wouldn’t make much sense to, like a Slicer or Timeline filter.

When you pin an element from Excel, a new tile is added to a new or existing dashboard in Power BI. The new tile is a snapshot, so it’s not dynamic, but you can still update it. For example, if you make a change to a PivotTable or Chart you’ve already pinned, the dashboard tile in Power BI isn’t updated automatically, but you can still update your pinned elements by using Pin Manager. You’ll learn more about Pin Manager below.

Download and install

Power BI publisher for Excel is an add-in you can download and install on desktop versions of Microsoft Excel 2010 with SP1 and later.

Once you have the publisher installed, you’ll see a new Power BI ribbon in Excel, where you can sign-in and out of Power BI, pin elements to dashboards, and manage elements you’ve already pinned.

The Power BI publisher for Excel add-in is enabled by default, but if for some reason you don’t see the Power BI ribbon tab in Excel, you’ll need to enable it. Click File > Options > Add-ins > COM Add-ins. Select Microsoft Power BI publisher for Excel.

Pin a range to a dashboard

You can select any range of cells from your worksheet and pin a snapshot to any number of existing or new dashboards in Power BI.

  1. In your worksheet, select a range, and then click Pin. If you’re not already signed into Power BI, you’ll be prompted to.
  2. In Pin to dashboard, select an existing dashboard or create a new one, and then click Pin.

Pin a Chart to a dashboard

Just click on the chart, and then click Pin .

Manage pinned elements

With Pin Manager, you can update (refresh) a pinned element’s associated tile in Power BI. You can also remove the pin between an element you’ve already pinned to dashboards in Power BI.

To update tiles in your dashboard, in Pin Manager, select one or more elements and then click Update.

To remove the mapping between a pinned element in Excel and the associated tile in a dashboard, click Remove. When you click Remove, you’re not removing the element from your worksheet in Excel or deleting the associated tile in the dashboard. You are removing the pin, or mapping, between them. The element will no longer appear in Pin Manager. If you pin the element again, it will appear as a new tile.

To remove a pinned element (a tile) from a dashboard, you’ll need to do that in Power BI. In the tile you want to delete, click the Open menu icon and then click Delete tile .

Contact us for PowerBI information at office365@atidan.com

Blog post content credit to the Microsoft PowerBI team!

 

How to Work From Home and Look Good Doing It

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In the last decade, the mobile workforce has increased by more than 100 percent—not that surprising when we consider the abundant improvement in technology over that same time period. Telecommuting offers wonderful benefits to companies and workers alike, with an improved work-life balance topping the charts. Not only that, but a 2015 Gallup poll shows that telecommuters are more likely to be more engaged in their jobs, and being engaged can lead to higher profitability, mobile productivity, customer engagement and other positive business outcomes.

How to work from home FI

But mobile teams experience problems of their own. At the forefront is the disconnection that naturally occurs when team members work separate from the rest of the team. Not only do telecommuters sometimes miss out on deeper relationships with co-workers, they don’t get to experience office culture and can easily miss important announcements. A case study conducted among full-time telecommuters at a Chinese travel agency even showed that mobile workers were up to 50 percent less likely to receive promotions.

If you’re part of the mobile workforce, here are some things you can do to make your experience as successful as possible:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate—While telecommuters often make their own schedules—using two hours for lunch (and making it up later) or taking a break to pick up kids from school, for example—it’s important to let your team know when you’ll be away from your desk for any extended period of time. That way, they’ll know when you’ll be back in case they have anything pressing. Teams work better when members know what to expect of each other.
  • Always meet your deadlines—This should go without saying, but it’s important to make sure you aren’t slacking off. According to the aforementioned Gallup poll, work-from-home productivity is at least as good as in-office productivity, if not better. Don’t be the one that causes your boss or co-workers to lose faith in the system.
  • Use all technology available—While email certainly has its place, other technology—such as instant messaging, conferencing, etc.—helps you connect with team members in the moment. Because you don’t have the ability to stop by a co-worker’s desk or see team members at the water cooler, you should take any opportunity you can to create conversations and collaboration when appropriate.
  • Regularly visit or work in the office—Many remote workers do not live close enough to visit the office weekly, but—depending on your role—regular time spent in the office is crucial to team cohesion. You and your manager will need to discuss how often is “enough,” but you’d be amazed how much it helps to show your face every once in a while. When co-workers have spent time with you in person, it makes it easier for them to approach you online or via phone when they need to chat about an issue or project.
  • Build relationships with co-workers who can keep you informed—Even if you visit the office on occasion, you’ll probably miss out on some news or information when you aren’t there. Check in regularly with office friends who will gladly keep you apprised of anything important—even a shift in the office culture or mood.

But being successful isn’t just up to the mobile workforce. Companies can help their telecommuters stay more engaged with the whole team by instituting proper training, using collaboration software that allows for file sharing and ensuring proper security on mobile devices so mobile teams have the same access as everyone else, no matter where they’re working. In addition, scheduling regular videoconferences ensures face-to-face time, which can go a long way in a telecommuting situation. When telecommuters feel like part of the team, they’re more likely to stay content and engaged in their job—a fact that benefits everyone involved.

Related content

Contact the Atidan team at office365@atidan.com for additional information about our unified communications solutions and cloud services.

Blog credit to Microsoft https://blogs.office.com/2016/03/03/how-to-work-from-home-and-look-good/