Using Onenote for Shared Information and Collaboration

Our client had a typical challenge of receiving email on to their admin employee from suppliers and customers etc.  In order to get to these attachments and correspondence, you would traditionally need access to this person’s computer or open their email on your Outlook and search.  With Office 365, there’s a much better way.  Every-day scenario’s for every small business are the following:

  1. Statements. credit notes etc from Suppliers
  2. Emails sent and received on a small project
  3. Emails that need to be brainstormed using different media – audio recordings, link to internet resources, various attachments etc.

Several ways to deal with this on Office 365.

  1. Groups feature on Outlook.
  2. Forward to a shared email
  3. Onenote

Each method has pro’s and con’s.  As the customer’s requirements was a secure shared resource that included the email message, was searchable and with the added bonus of being able to collaborate on, Onenote won the day.

Basically, you use the feature in Outlook to send email to Onenote – choose the notebook and section to send to.  Onenote automatically syncs for all who are connected and authorised to do so.

This will work perfectly for small business who possibly generates a few records per day and who’s attachments are not ‘huge’. Most of us are in this position though!

Company Outlook Address Book

Outlook Address Book
Company Address Book

In my years of running my businesses, I’ve regularly come across this challenge facing most businesses – silo’s of information restricted to only some members in the organization – a typical example of this is the company address book.  This is not by design but just due to traditional means of communication and tools.  In the case of a common address book, this is kept by someone, say a PA, in a book or at best, in an excel file which is not shared efficiently.  Similarly, the buyer has his own hoard of addresses.  I think you know what this leads to! Fortunately, we have managed to address this problem with one of the features of Office 365 – a common and shared Company Outlook Address Book. As usual, there are many ways to skin the cat, pardon the cat lovers!, however we have found this method is the most convenient way to implement this.

This involves the following mojo:

  1. Creating an address book on Sharepoint team site with the necessary permission rights
  2. Syncing this address book to Outlook of the people who have been granted access and configuring address book for easy reach.

The benefits of the shared outlook address book are the following:

  1. Secured shared address book and notes to your whole organization
  2. Anyone given permission can edit and change content.
  3. Automatic backup and easy restore of deleted/modified contacts.
  4. Easy search for contacts.

Scenario:

Your business, at one time had an issue that only one supplier was able to fix – say your exclusive coffee maker for VIP clients(and yourself 🙂 ).  Its years down the line, it breaks down at a critical point in time and nobody can remember who the repairer was as there was only one person who dealt with this company.  She has left the company and nobody can find the contact!  Sound familiar?

Easy Peasy! Since you set up the company outlook address book in Office 365, and had added the details there in the notes, all you do is search for the word ‘Coffee’.  Abracadabra!  The details come up and Office 365 magic saves the day.

What this cannot do:

  1. As yet, Sharepoint contact lists cannot sync with your phone.
  2. However you can bookmark a direct link to this outlook address book on your phone browser and login to Office 365 this way.  Bit of an inconvenience for phones with small screens though!

My interest in finding ways to share information was inspired by reading this article:

https://www.successfactors.com/en_us/lp/articles/using-technology-to-increase-your-business-productivity.html

Hope this provides value to you too!  Please feel free to contact us below for assistance on setting this feature up for your company.

Office 365 – Why choose this for your Business?

Office 365
Office for all your devices

Office 365 is good for your business!  Being in the computer support business since the beginning of my career(about 20 years now) has given me some insight into the usual challenges facing business on a daily basis.

As a small business, you have limited resources – not enough TIME in the day and, budget. You just cannot afford for things to go wrong – it costs soo much more to get back to work if something happens!

Computers are a part of this – gone are the days which you get away with just faxing and calling clients and suppliers on the phone.

EMAIL!

Love or hate it, its here to stay! Microsoft Outlook is the de-facto standard for reading your email. And with email are electronic documents like your Excel and Word documents. Every business has to have this as basics at least. And as the days of faxing and traditional voice calls are going the way of the dinosaur, so too is the old way of emailing and document management.

  • Email down? Used to be that this was tolerable for clients and suppliers. Now? Happens often enough, they’ll just go to your competition.
  • Not responding to email fast enough? Ditto!
  • Documents getting lost or in the wrong format? You get a frown from the recipient – too many and you in danger of the same.
  • Can’t access email and documents while on the move? There goes that client who needs someone to respond fast.

This article provides a good analysis of the impact of email downtime.   Needless to say, your facilities need to current, reliable and most of all, MANAGEABLE!

Office 365 to the Rescue….

Office 365 by Microsoft offers you all of this. It is provided by the company which has provided you with the products since the day you started on computers. Now all they have done is taken what you use, made it much better, taken the need for you to have a server onsite and shifted it to their computer centres. As long as you have a reliable internet(and even if not) you can access all services securely and reliably, which is guaranteed to have a 99.9% uptime. You have the latest software and features normally reserved for big enterprise at a fraction of the cost. Office 365 is a bouquet of powerful pieces of software and services which when used well, can increase the efficiency and productivity of your business significantly.

Watch this video to get an idea on what Office 365 does:

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