Document Management in Office 365

Document Generation
Document Generation

Electronic Document Generation is standard in any business now.

Documents such as letters to suppliers, quotations, budgets on excel spreadsheets and presentations on PowerPoint for the sales person.  Traditionally, a document is emailed back and forth when worked upon.  If you have a formal IT service, you may have a server in which you store documents in folders. These are shared with relevant team members.  Nowadays, it is convenient to use a service such as Dropbox to backup and share documents with staff and external contacts.

Most companies require:

  1. a reliable and secure means of backing up their documents.
  2. having a simple way of searching for relevant documents. This includes content contained in the document.
  3. document organisation that makes more sense than using traditional folder structure.
  4. security and protection of company sensitive documents.  (NOT Dropbox!)

Traditional means of working with documents wastes valuable company time. There is a cost effective solution!

Office 365 by Microsoft allows you to address all the requirements above at a reasonable price.  There a many additional features which contribute towards better teamwork and collaborative environment.

Delve:

Delve Teamwork Collaboration Documentation
Teamwork and Collaboration

This utility allows everyone on the Office 365 platform to truly collaborate with each other. You can keep in touch with any document generation in your company.  Permissions are strictly enforced – only documents which are accessible can be viewed.

Planner:

Similar in function to Microsoft Projects, Planner is a simplified version of a project management tool – think about several people working on a project requiring common documentation, tasks, calendaring and common email.

https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-planner

In terms of productivity and teamwork, the Office 365 stack is a great tool to use in your organisation.  Try out Office 365 for your organisation – contact us below and we will get back to you to set up an appointment to demonstrate features and listen to your requirements.  Look forward to hearing from you!

Procedures and Documentation – Eeeeish!

Having been in this sector for a looooong time, I’ve grudgingly come to appreciate documentation.

I diligently scan articles in my company sector and came across this article: Great Way to Document Procedures and Policies

This ties into a book I read recently, The E-Myth, Revisited.  The basic principle is that if you want to scale your business and provide a predictable and comfortable experience for your customer, you must ensure that you have procedures and policies in place.  This should be in a central and easily accessible documentation repository.  This ensures that your business provides a consistent and superior service.

One of the biggest challenges in our field is understand how the environment works, what it took to get there and if the doodoo hits the fan, what to do to REMOVE THE FAN! Then see what you can do about the doodoo….

Documentation

Each customer’s environment has its quirks and special sauce.  A common occurrence is that only the Technician that fixed the problem, rarely documents the procedure taken to fix this problem.  This is endemic in our field of work – its actually cultural.  Ours is traditionally a break-fix mentality.  It if works, leave it alone and move on to the next one.  Pray that it does not break, and if the Gods have a sense of humor on the day, react the best you can.  A technician’s sole purpose is to fix the problem.  However this does not work for a Managed Services environment and for those of us that want to provide a long term valued service!

What we have started using is Onenote stored on Sharepoint for Office 365.  This ensures that we can add video’s, audio, pictures and doodles in Tech speak.  We also have the ability of sharing a Knowledge Base or Wiki with our customers so that they too can also help themselves.  Using the Office 365 platform also affords us the ability of using Rights Management (excuse spelling mistakes in this article – author explains very simply what Rights Management is) to provide secure access to sensitive content like passwords to equipment.

Over the long term, this will build a good knowledge base for new technicians to familiarize themselves with. It will also give us the edge on avoiding issues or solving them in record time.  Met EEEEISH ya….:-)

Terminals and Office 365 for Education

More benefits for our client – Terminals and Education Pricing!

We recently implemented an updated solution at a training center for an 18 seat computer laboratory. We had to use existing infrastructure with terminals and ensure the customer’s budget was respected.

Cost savings on correct Microsoft Licensing and Terminal Setup

Most Educational Institutes, in our experience, are unaware of the benefits of using terminals vs traditional computers. Significant cost savings are also obtained from Microsoft Educational pricing.  This combination allows the organisation to obtain the benefits of running terminals with the added advantage of saving on licensing costs normally applied to such a design.  A business organisation would pay several times more for the same solution!

Multipoint Server Magic!

We licensed the client for the latest Microsoft Multipoint Server.  That is, Multipoint Server 2012 Premium, on Educational Microsoft Volume licensing. This afforded the trainer several advantages which come with Multipoint 2012:
Disk  Protection – when the server reboots, sessions go back to defaults . In a student environment, if USB sticks are allowed or the student downloads malware, all that needs to be done is reboot the server.  All issues are resolved as the server reverts back to defaults.
Control of Student Sessions – see what is happening on each students screen on a dashboard, project teacher or select student screen to every other student for teaching purposes, lock keyboard and mouse, restrict internet access, chat to one or several students at once and so much more.

We managed to get this done on hardware that was past support for latest system.  Multipoint Server 2012 with some creative fiddling on driver support allowed us have everything working as stable as can be.

Office 365 Education Terminals
Office 365 Pro Plus

The added benefit is that we licensed the school on Microsoft Office 365 Student Advantage – free Office Pro Plus software for Students. Educational institutes qualify for this if they are properly licensed on Educational Volume licensing – we made sure they are.  So Students can work on ANY terminal, log out, work on any terminal again and pick up where they left off in their Word document with the added benefit of doing the same at home!!! Students can load office on their home computers as well! Winner 🙂

At the end, the training institute saved a significant amount of money using existing infrastructure, using terminals to provide students with a computer session and using education licensing.  The school also provides the students with the latest legally licensed Microsoft Office, so that they can work from home.

Customer and students are happy.  And so are we!