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How to make IT in your business more flexible

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we need to be flexible and adjust to a changing environment.  Many people are now working from home and businesses have had to adapt and get employees set up so that they can continue to work and be productive without any issues.

There are some steps that you can take to make the IT in your business more flexible.  Let’s look at these:

Moving to a cloud-based phone system:

Users can take handsets home or use softphone apps on their phones or computers.  Ilkley IT can get set this up for you through one of our partners.

Moving files to a cloud-based system such as SharePoint:

Having your files on a cloud-based system is a secure place to store, organise, share and access information from any device.  It helps you to manage content, knowledge and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information and seamlessly collaborate across the organisation.

It provides enhanced security and removes the need for a VPN. We have written previously about the benefits of using Microsoft SharePoint, read our blog post here.

Using Microsoft Teams for keeping communication going between staff members:

Teams is becoming an integral part of our day-to-day working life, from conference calls, holding team meetings to online collaboration.  It is the perfect platform to use to communicate with colleagues and can really help departments to continue to work effectively.  There are always new features being introduced in Teams, all focused on improving productivity and efficiencies.

Investing in laptops instead of PCs:

Buying laptops rather than PCs provides more flexibility for staff and businesses.  It will allow staff members to easily work from home if they have to. Laptop docks and monitors can still be used when in the office.

Move to Cloud Software:

Many software companies have cloud-based software products, such as CRM (HubSpot or SalesForce) and Accounting and payroll packages (Xero).  Cloud-based products can be accessed at any time from any location, whether you are working remotely or from the office.  Accessing tools in the cloud is very secure and provides a huge amount of flexibility.

Moving away from physical servers completely:

It might be time for you to seriously consider swapping your physical servers for virtual ones in the cloud.  All elements of your server infrastructure can be moved to the cloud.  There are many benefits to using Microsoft 365 Premium, all the products are becoming intrinsically linked to improve efficiency and productivity across your business.

If you have been thinking about making changes in your business and wondering how to make your IT more flexible, then get in touch with Ilkley IT.  Our experienced team can help you every step of the way with all the aspects mentioned and so much more.  We can implement the changes and get you up and running in no time with minimum disruption to you and your team.  We would love to hear from you and learn more about your systems and understand your business needs so we can find the best solution for you.  Get in touch today on 01943 601601.

Microsoft 365 Spotlight focus: OneDrive

Microsoft 365 has so many different products that users often feel overwhelmed with not knowing which ones to use and how to use them and then end up not using many of them at all. In this blog series we will spotlight each of the Office products and break them down to show you the benefits of using each one and how you can incorporate them into your business to help you to work more efficiently.

OneDrive is the Office cloud service that connects you to all your files. You can store and protect your files, share them with others and access them at any time of the day from any location and from any device. You can share photos, Office documents, other files and entire folders.

One of the biggest benefits to your business is OneDrive’s file sharing and collaboration. This can transform how you work in your business, particularly now that most of us are working remotely and from home. You will no longer have to email large attachments or try to keep track of multiple versions, you can simply save your file to OneDrive, share the file with the relevant people and you will always have the most up-to-date version. This will eliminate any worries of not working on the latest version. There is also an option to view the version history and restore older versions of files if needed at any point.

There is also real-time co-authoring on documents saved on OneDrive, meaning you can work on files at the same time with colleagues and external people. You will be able to see their changes and they will be able to see yours, as you make them. This will increase productivity and will really help to speed up the length of time it takes to get work completed.

If you are worried about keeping your information secure, the files and folders you store in OneDrive are private until you decide to share them. OneDrive files and folders can be shared with colleagues in your business as well as externally, but again, this is completely within your control as you can see who a OneDrive file is shared with and stop sharing any time. You can also restrict the level of access.

OneDrive can also be used to connect you to your files in Microsoft SharePoint and Teams, which we will also cover as part of this series.

If you are not using OneDrive yet, it is definitely worth seriously considering starting to use it within your business. It can transform the way you work with your team and external people. If you feel overwhelmed by all the different features of OneDrive and are confused about how to use it to its full potential, our team at Ilkley IT can help you. We will talk you through every aspect of OneDrive, explaining each feature and how it works to ensure you are up and running and using OneDrive in no time!

Contact us today, we would love to have a chat with you!

Using Microsoft Teams in each Department

With many of us continuing to work from home, and the likelihood of this carrying on into the future, the use of video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams has become a daily occurrence.  Also, for people who are going back to the office and having to follow social distancing regulations, using Teams really helps departments across companies to continue to successfully collaborate and continue working effectively.  If you have never used Teams before or have perhaps only used the chat facility, it can feel overwhelming to make the transition to using all the different parts of the software.

Let’s have a look at how Microsoft Teams can help each department individually and improve team collaboration:

Marketing

Marketing teams need to create and collaborate with many groups of people both within the company and outside of it.  Teams provides a shared workspace for all conversations, files and third-party services.  Teams makes it very easy to manage marketing campaigns, social channels, collaborate on content creation and plan events.

Top Tip: Add Adobe Creative Cloud Directly into Teams: https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-us/product/office/WA104381222?tab=Overview

Sales

Teams can help sales teams to deal with enquiries and quickly build quotations and proposals with input from different stakeholders.  Collaboration, reporting, and knowledge sharing can happen in one place, helping sales professionals everywhere – in the home office and the field – work together to meet sales objectives.

Top Tip: Use with PowerBI to create a dashboard for data relating to forecast and actual sales https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/

Finance

Finance teams need to collaborate on aggregating and reporting on data while conducting business reviews on a regular basis. Teams provides a central hub in which all files, data, conversations and meetings can happen in a single place, safely and securely.

Top Tip: Use file sharing to share monthly or quarterly reports with management or company owners.

Human Resources

Teams can help the HR team to manage recruitment and employee onboarding activities, including sharing CVs and interview notes, keeping track of candidate information, communicating employment decisions, and sharing new employee documents.

Top Tip: https://www.simpleinout.com/ and https://www.attendancebot.com/ are great addons to Teams that help keep track of your team.

IT

Teams provides the IT team with a single hub to collaborate, plan, execute, and manage all phases of infrastructure deployments and rollouts.  It is a very useful tool to help drive transformation and change management across the organisation.

Top Tip: Utilise the chat feature to answer questions your team may have about new systems.

Engineering

Engineers move quickly between ideas, development and deployment of a concept when delivering new features. Teams is integrated with developer tools, enabling continuous discussion across a distributed team to keep projects on track.

Top Tip: Utilise Planner to manage projects and OneNote to organised notes.

Project Management

Project managers often use a myriad of planning, meeting, and communication tools and services. Teams enables collaboration in one central hub with all the tools to organise and share project files, manage stakeholder meetings, and track progress for multiple projects.

Top Tip: Use Microsoft Planner to better manage projects within your team https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-365/business/task-management-software

If you would like more information about how Teams can be used within your business, download this helpful guide.

It can all seem a bit overwhelming making sure Microsoft Teams is set up correctly, but Ilkley IT know all the tips and tricks to help you to set up Teams so that you can use it effectively.  They will take you through each step to ensure that everything is configured correctly so that you use Teams to its full potential.

Contact us today, we would love to have a chat about how we can help!