Your organization has probably had to figure out new communication channels this year. You may have been incentivized to make file access easier. You might have felt pushed to streamline your operational workflows.
These things are all part of the normal progression of running an organization, of course – but, this year, the level of change has been amped up.
It’s been a lot.
But the good news is that much of the change mentioned above can be accomplished with a single, powerful technology solution: Microsoft Teams. At ATB Technologies, our in-house developers appreciate Teams for its all-in-one approach, robust functionality, and integration options. We’ve been able to put it to use in impactful ways to help organizations move forward this year.
As you’re considering what technology innovations you need to make in your organization, here’s an overview of Teams, as well as three stories to inspire you in how to use it.
Let’s dive in.
What Is Microsoft Teams?
It may be helpful to frame Microsoft Teams in terms of other tools you’re likely familiar with. The platform provides the chat and messaging capability of Slack, the video conferencing capability of Zoom, and the file-sharing power of Dropbox, all inside of one platform. Basically, it’s everything you need to make work happen with other people.
It’s also seamlessly integrated within the Microsoft ecosystem – meaning that it ties into Office365, SharePoint, Microsoft productivity tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and more. And, Teams is also designed for use with Power Apps, which is Microsoft’s low-code, developer-friendly app framework, making use cases truly limitless.
The bottom line is that, if you have a workflow issue, Microsoft Teams can probably help to solve it. If you’re already working with Microsoft tools, Teams becomes almost a no-brainer.
With that said, let’s look at a few specific examples.
1. A nonprofit made remote access easy.
2020 ushered in the age of remote work, and, for one of our clients, it brought about a troublesome realization: accessing their network was too difficult.
The organization had had a VPN set up, but that solution posed some technical challenges. Not all users had access to it when they needed to connect. For example, sometimes employees would be in the field with an iPad and wouldn’t be able to access critical files until they were able to travel into the physical office.
This was time consuming and inefficient. The necessity to be in-office hindered the organization’s ability to provide services, and, ultimately, it was hurting their mission.
We worked with them to set up Microsoft Teams, providing a better, more efficient way for them to access their data.
Now, because Teams is cloud-based, this nonprofit’s employees are able to access the platform from any location and on any device. No longer are they required to drive into the physical office – they can simply access and upload files to their Teams repository without having to worry about being on the organization’s network or using the VPN.
2. A business got rid of PTO confusion.
Teams is also valuable for its ability to integrate with other systems’ APIs. In other words, not only can it be a central repository for files, but it can also pull in data from other systems to make operations cohesive across your organization.
Here’s how one of our clients was able to capitalize on a Teams’ integration.
The company was using a separate payroll service to log and track (among other things) paid time off. They were pleased with their payroll service’s capabilities, but they faced challenges due to the solution’s lack of integration with their calendars inside of Teams.
Employees would request time off and get it approved in the payroll system, but it wouldn’t be incorporated into their professional calendars, leading to confusion and hastily rescheduled meetings to accommodate unexpected absences.
We were able to work with the company to connect PTO within the payroll system to calendars in the Microsoft environment; the solution used API commands through Microsoft Graph. Now, requests for time off and scheduled days out are visible on the calendars inside of Teams.
The result is one system to see all data – and that means less confusion.
3. A chemical manufacturer streamlined their sales process.
A chemical manufacturer had an outdated specification process that was slowing down sales.
When customers came with a request for the company to manufacture a compound, the sales team would create a Word document outlining the specifications. On the document, they’d attempt to lay things out using a list of hundreds of potential options. Because sales people weren’t always subject matter experts, getting this document right took a lot of back and forth between sales and engineering.
In other words, the process was very inefficient.
We were able to help the company transform their process using Power Apps inside of Microsoft Teams. Using this approach, we designed a solution that performs complex data pulls from a variety of sources based on the customer’s request. It’s made life much easier for the sales team. On their end, they simply select basic options that pull in correct data and eliminate irrelevant information. From there, they can add additional data as needed.
The end result is much less back and forth between sales and solutions engineering – which means quicker turnaround times to customers and, at a bottom-line level, more efficient business and more sales.
Want to see how Microsoft Teams can change your business?
Hopefully, these stories can give you inspiration as you consider how you can use technology to upgrade your business.
The possibilities truly are limitless. Microsoft Teams is a platform that’s made to be tailored to your needs. Whether you use Power Apps, API integrations, or simply set up an environment that allows work to happen efficiently from anywhere, you’ll be able to level-up your work and empower your people with this solution.
If you have a process problem that’s holding you back – manual data entry, convoluted workflows, or disparate systems – stop putting up with the pain and get in touch with us today. Our in-house development team is ready to get to work to make your technology an advantage.