Blog

Scoop.it, Technology

[BLOG SERIES] : Get Used to Microsoft SharePoint!

Get used to SharePoint

As you may know, SharePoint is a collaboration platform focuses on establishing intranets for organizations. It is available in 2 offerings: Cloud and On-Premise. SharePoint Online comes with Office 365. SharePoint offers powerful features like Employee Directory, Discussion Boards, Blogs, Wiki Pages, Document and List Management Capabilities.

Well, that’s not all! You also get a load of engaging features like smart search, user friendly navigation which helps the employees to explore the company intranet portal effectively.

Looking at the past, Microsoft SharePoint was a neglected platform for a long time and vendors were losing customers as they had no idea about the solution’s capabilities.

It’s 2017 and with the current updates and enhancements, SharePoint has emerged as the greatest platforms for Enterprise Content Management. Check out the facts:

  1. SharePoint emerges as the Leader in The Forrester Wave Report – Enterprise Content Management – Business Content Services.
  2. SharePoint Community – Over 10,000 active members with up-to-date SharePoint news and add-on features.
  3. TopSharePoint.com is one of the promising websites that showcases SharePoint Site’s UX designs and portal features. What more can you expect from this SharePoint Directory?
  4. Increase in Turnkey Intranet Portals – As of today, there are over 32 Intranet Portal Solutions available. Today, companies are investing in third-party solutions (Like Dock Intranet Portal) which sits on top of Office 365 or SharePoint Server offering a perfect Company Intranet Portal.

Do you need to manage and organize Collaboration Platforms?

Yes, you have to! With SharePoint, it is easier for creating team spaces where a non-techie person can set it up and build areas for users to collaborate. Employees need to be empowered with their collaboration portals. These elements help in building a complete employee network to boost productivity and communication.

Why organizations fail to implement a perfect intranet? There’s no point of having loads of intranet sites with hidden content.

How to overcome this?

  1. Developing rules when creating new spaces. Encourage your team to use existing space whenever required instead of making a fresh one
  2. Formulate a plan to integrate important content into the Company Intranet Information Architecture.
  3. Indexing all your team’s content properly.
  4. Leveraging eDiscovery Feature in SharePoint.

Why do you need a Custom SharePoint Implementation?
We have been working with several clients for the past 15 years and their feedback on Intranet Portals are:

  1. 70% of the customers focus on functionalities rather than look and feel.
  2. 30% of the customers believe in having own branding on their portals and don’t want to look like SharePoint.

Spending lot of time and efforts for branding is not going to help your organization achieve their goals. You hire a consultant/developer and work on it, you end up losing lot of money and at the end of the day, you regret for the decision taken. Your Project timeline gets delayed and by the time you get it up and running, your team would have already made up their mind of not using it anymore!

This is where Ready-to-Go Intranet’s play an important role. It has got all the ingredients which most industries would require (For e.g. Departmental Portals, PTO Request, Expense Reports, Discussion Boards, Employee Directory, Alerts, Events, Image Sliders and so on).

Our experience shows:

  1. Users below 5000 never asked for heavy customizations for their Intranet requirements.
  2. Industries such as Aviation, Retail and Media Agencies require lot of custom workflows to smoothen their daily tasks.

It’s your call: Ready-to-Go Intranet Portal or Custom SharePoint Development (Don’t worry we have got both!)

This is the first series of my blog for “Get used to Microsoft SharePoint”. Stay tuned for more!

Scoop.it, Technology

Sync SharePoint features with your Microsoft Outlook!

Are you a sales or project person at your organization and don’t have time to work on your SharePoint intranet portal? This article will explain how you can utilize Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook synchronization to help you work on your tasks with ease. Synchronization means you can work right from Outlook and be completely productive—even when you’re on the go. Isn’t that a great way to impress your manager?

What types of files can you sync between SharePoint and Outlook?

You will be able to sync the following SharePoint features to your Outlook:

  1. Tasks
  2. Document Library
  3. SharePoint Calendar
  4. Discussion Board.

You can also integrate contacts to your Outlook.

Configuration – How to Sync SharePoint With Outlook

When talking about Outlook, please note that we are referring to Microsoft Offline Desktop version and not Outlook Online.

  1. Move to the SharePoint Web Part that you want to sync.
  2. Click on the tab seen on top left-hand side and open the last tab
  3. You can find “Connect to Outlook” tab, go ahead and click on it.

Connect to Outlook | SharePoint

You will receive a pop-up window asking to confirm the Outlook Sync. Click ‘Allow’ and the sync will start working.

Below is an example of one of our client’s key requirements. He wanted his sales reports and lead reports to sync with his Outlook App and for his meetings to be recorded in SharePoint, so whenever he adds a new meeting or task in Outlook, it gets reflected into the sales SharePoint calendar and vice versa.

Document Library Integration - Outlook

Document Library integration with Outlook

SharePoint Calendar Integration - Outlook

SharePoint Calendar integration with Outlook

SharePoint Discussion Board Outlook Integration

Discussion Board integration with Outlook

SharePoint Tasks integration with Outlook

SharePoint Tasks integration with Outlook

What You Need to Know:

  • Calendar sync is a two-way sync.
  • Tasks is a two-way sync.
  • Contacts is a two-way sync (Good for sales team, where any new contact added in Outlook gets replicated in your SharePoint and vice versa).
  • Discussion Board is a two-way sync.

In document libraries, there is only a one-way sync; meaning any files added to your SharePoint will be reflected on your Outlook Application.

Please note that any file that was synchronized from your SharePoint Portal cannot be deleted as it is “Read-Only.”

So, What’s the Verdict?

I highly recommend you not to synchronize document libraries into your Outlook application, because you will start experience a slowdown in the Outlook app and the file access is confusing. A perfect solution to this is syncing your SharePoint libraries with your OneDrive for Business (you can create workflows using Microsoft Flow too!)

For the rest of the features like calendar sync, tasks, contacts and discussion boards, this will be a right fit for users. Lower your clicks and searches with this integration feature and be even more productive!

Get in touch with our SharePoint Experts to learn more on how to get all these features integrated!

Scoop.it, Technology

Outlook Customer Manager – Out with Enhanced Capabilities!

Have you tried out the latest Outlook Customer Manager? It offers you a revolutionary way to track and grow your customer relationships directly from your Outlook application. Microsoft has come released this new feature for Outlook for iOS and Web (currently available to O365 Business Premium subscribers globally). Outlook Customer Manager helps you to maintain customer relationships more efficiently with the help of intelligent reminders and Bing, Cortana and Microsoft Flow integrations.

Accessing Outlook Customer Manager

Get customer information with the Outlook Customer Manager add-on that is available for Outlook iOS.

For the web version, just click on Outlook Customer Manager icon to get the customer information like meetings, emails, notes, files, calls, deals, deadlines and of course: tasks. In the future, Microsoft plans to add a detailed view of the deals and customers.

Viewing Customer Info on your Outlook for Web.

Outlook Customer Manager is widely available in 39 different languages! In Bing, when you accept a suggestion, a website or business address information, it gets automatically updated in the company’s profile in Outlook Customer Manager. Make sure to check “English-US” as your language in the language setting available on your Outlook to make this available.

Questions

  1. When will Outlook Customer Manager show up in my account?
  2. Microsoft is actively rolling out the service in all regions, and expect to be fully rolled out in the next few weeks. The Outlook Customer Manager icon will appear on the home tab in Outlook for Windows as soon as it is rolled out to your account.
  3. When will I see the option to schedule meetings with Cortana?
  4. This feature is currently only available for a limited number of users in the First Release program. Microsoft will be fine-tuning this feature with preview feedback before releasing it broadly.

Ready to learn more about how your business can use Microsoft products to improve customer relationships while increasing efficiency and productivity? Reach out to the experts at Dock and we’ll help your business realize its full potential.

Scoop.it, Technology

Can a Credit Union Intranet Portal Narrow Down your Business Processes?

Knowledge Management System Credit Unions

Intranet portals have always been a savior for organizations by ensuring higher levels of productivity, communication and coordination within the employees and yes of course, compliance! To be precise, SharePoint Intranet Portals have played a great role in enhancing document management and other banking related workflows effectively.

The combination of business workflows and social initiatives with democratic models has boosted knowledge base solutions today.

It’s a competitive market out there. To outsmart the competitors, credit unions must follow technology drivers for streamlining business processes, boosting coordination and saving time among its affiliates.

What about having an intranet portal to provide workflow automation to your entire team? Give everyone easy access to data they require so that they can focus on ensuring best-in-class service for your community members!

Collaboration is the future and with SharePoint-based solutions like Dock Intranet Portal, you will be able to enhance your offerings with the latest reliable and safe financial services to your affiliates.

What Are the Key Features a Credit Union Intranet Portal Should Have?

Business Intelligence

Power Business Intelligence helps credit unions to analyze important information when you need to keep track of your existing customers and future clients effectively. By creating rich and effective visuals with your company’s data, Power BI helps you better management. An intranet portal with Power BI integration is surely the best tool for growing your credit union.

Mobile Friendly-Portal

With a mobile-friendly platform, your employees can easily engage and connect with dispersed teams. Intranet’s with mobile-friendly platform allows your employees to communicate and collaborate real-time anytime and anywhere with using their own mobile devices.

Multi-Device Usage

To make your intranet portal as effective as possible, make sure that it is accessible from multiple devices. On your computer, cell phone or tablets – your intranet should be equally as accessible. Our intranet platform is easy-to-use across all devices, helping your users to contribute from whatever device they have.

Internal Security and Compliance

Microsoft SharePoint Online and Office 365 come preloaded with internal security and compliance features that work with your company’s content management and data usage. The best part of choosing Microsoft Technology is it complies with regulatory, legal and technical standards. If your solution is built on top of Office 365, you don’t have to worry about security breaches.

Document Management

A perfect SharePoint document management system for credit unions ensures better storage and management of member details and lowers pressures on filing spaces. You will be able to bring more efficiency to your management team by lowering the time spent on document searches. The power of SharePoint search feature matched with Policies and Procedures Management Portals makes looking for documents simple. This suite also provides you with peace-of-mind that your documents are protected and can be backed up regularly.

Front Office Management

Your tellers need to be speedy and give out accurate information regarding your credit union services, right? Best-in-class customer service is the key for any credit union to outshine other financial services.

With the help of an efficient knowledge base management portal, your front desk employees can research and find information relevant to the queries asked by the customers and provide reliable services accordingly. With knowledge management systems for Credit Unions powered by SharePoint, your tellers will be able to manage their day-to-day tasks easily and efficiently. 

What are the Challenges?

Tellers are the main point of contact with your customers. The quality of service from your tellers will directly reflect to your brand reputation. The right technology for carrying out their tasks with better speed and accuracy will empower your tellers to serve your customers perfectly.

So, where’s the challenge? If you don’t have the right solution for your team, it will affect your customer service eventually, turning off your customers.

What Causes Customers to Become Frustrated?

  1. When tellers handle new applications that consume more time.
  2. Inaccurate member details or information.
  3. Usage of traditional paperwork.
  4. Inadequate information about credit union services.

How Can You Evade Those Challenges?

  1. Leverage the latest technologies for ensuring automated workflows and enhancing the flow of data and information to the employees.
  2. Bring in automated interfaces and functions for streamlining business processes.
  3. An easy user interface with simple navigation will help employees navigate to their desired content quickly.
  4. The intranet portal should enable tellers to attain cross-selling skills where they get complete access to the member details and can address their grievances or needs effectively.
Scoop.it, Technology

GET USED TO SHAREPOINT!

As you may know, SharePoint is a collaboration platform focusing on establishing intranets for organizations. It is available in 2 offerings: Cloud and On-Premise. SharePoint Online comes with Office 365. SharePoint offers powerful features like Employee Directory, Discussion Boards, Blogs, Wiki Pages, Document and List Management Capabilities.

Well, that’s not all! You also get a load of engaging features like smart search, user friendly navigation which helps the employees to explore the company intranet portal effectively.

Looking at the past, Microsoft SharePoint was a neglected platform for a long time and vendors were losing customers as they had no idea about the solution’s capabilities.

It’s 2017 and with the current updates and enhancements, SharePoint has emerged as the greatest platforms for Enterprise Content Management. Check out the facts:

  1. SharePoint emerges as the Leader in The Forrester Wave Report – Enterprise Content Management – Business Content Services.
  2. SharePoint Community – Over 10,000 active members with up-to-date SharePoint news and add-on features.
  3. TopSharePoint.com is one of the promising websites that showcases SharePoint Site’s UX designs and portal features. What more can you expect from this SharePoint Directory?
  4. Increase in Turnkey Intranet Portals – As of today, there are over 32 Intranet Portal Solutions available. Today, companies are investing in third-party solutions (Like Dock Intranet Portal) which sits on top of Office 365 or SharePoint Server offering a perfect Company Intranet Portal.

Do you need to manage and organize Collaboration Platforms?

Yes, you have to! With SharePoint, it is easier for creating team spaces where a non-techie person can set it up and build areas for users to collaborate. Employees need to be empowered with their collaboration portals. These elements help in building a complete employee network to boost productivity and communication.

Why organizations fail to implement a perfect intranet? There’s no point of having loads of intranet sites with hidden content.

How to overcome this?

  1. Developing rules when creating new spaces. Encourage your team to use existing space whenever required instead of making a fresh one
  2. Formulate a plan to integrate important content into the Company Intranet Information Architecture.
  3. Indexing all your team’s content properly.
  4. Leveraging eDiscovery Feature in SharePoint.

Why do you need a Custom SharePoint Implementation?

We have been working with several clients for the past 15 years and their feedback on Intranet Portals are:

  1. 70% of the customers focus on functionalities rather than look and feel.
  2. 30% of the customers believe in having own branding on their portals and don’t want to look like SharePoint.

Spending lot of time and efforts for branding is not going to help your organization achieve their goals. You hire a consultant/developer and work on it, you end up losing lot of money and at the end of the day, you regret for the decision taken. Your Project timeline gets delayed and by the time you get it up and running, your team would have already made up their mind of not using it anymore!

This is where Ready-to-Go Intranet’s play an important role. It has got all the ingredients which most industries would require (For e.g. Departmental Portals, PTO Request, Expense Reports, Discussion Boards, Employee Directory, Alerts, Events, Image Sliders and so on).

Our experience shows:

  1. Users below 5000 never asked for heavy customization for their Intranet requirements.
  2. Industries such as Aviation, Retail and Media Agencies require lot of custom workflows to smoothen their daily tasks.

Next, I will be discussing more about the SharePoint Design, Customized Looks and Development.

Lot of SharePoint UI Designers are out in the Market

Hiring lots of SharePoint Developers/Admins is not going to help you manage SharePoint for your organization. You need someone with creative skills – A UI Designer to be precise. For a SharePoint good looking UI, UI Designers with SharePoint skills is going to be an added advantage for your organization. Let them come up with fresh graphical concepts and later, that could be your major requirement, right?

Lot of time required for Custom Portals

Lots of our prospects and customers speak about having customized SharePoint Intranet Portal for their business with their own branding. Most of the comments are like this – “Our Intranet Portal shouldn’t look like SharePoint”. Why so? What’s wrong with SharePoint? Especially with the 2016 SharePoint upgrade, SharePoint content management has gone to a great extend along with UI enhancements. We at Dock 365 Inc. have a dedicated team of UI designers with an average of 4 years of experience to cater our business needs. If you are looking for UI designers without SharePoint expertise, refrain yourself from signing up with them as your project timeline will get delayed for a longer period.

4 Key Elements – Plan, Design, Research and Develop

What’s the success factors for organizations implementing a Microsoft SharePoint Intranet Portal? It’s all about a perfect plan -> design -> research and development process that you need to follow wisely. There are various design strategies you can follow by following the developer’s recommended practices. Check out our strategy:

  1. Promoting your Intranet Portal within your Organization.
  2. Providing support and training facilities to boost your employees’ productivity.
  3. Considering your organization’s long term goals and how effectively an Intranet Portal can better perform the workforce and how it can transform into functional needs.
  4. How efficiently can you migrate your existing content to the latest Intranet Portal? You need to formulate a strategy for sure!
  5. Considering the company-change management policies before working on Intranet Initiative.
  6. SharePoint content management and SharePoint Governance.
  7. Intranet Navigation and Information Architecture planning – To better index files/documents and making it easier for access.
  8. To impress your Employees with the Intranet Portal UI design – making it easier for them to reach their desired files and workflows.

How to win the Best SharePoint Intranet UI?

Our SharePoint experts make use of SharePoint’s existing features to the maximum. We compile all these exciting features under one roof i.e. Dock Intranet Portal. There are various providers of Intranet Portals across the world. If you are confused on choosing the right partner, Collab 365 Directory is the right place for you to research on different products

(P.S. We are one of the active partners at Collab365 Directory)

So, what are the most important elements required to build a perfect UI for your SharePoint? Check them out:

  1. Content Rotator (Image Rotator) that is filled with Company Announcements, News, Alerts along with great images
  2. Company Branding which should be visually appealing (of course yes!)
  3. Easy Navigation – Your users shouldn’t complain of getting lost. 2-3 clicks and they should be there at their desired lists/libraries or sites.
  4. Availability of core features within the Landing/Home Page.
  5. A Perfectly designed User Guide linked within the Landing/Home Page.
  6. Color combinations used in the Intranet Portal design.
  7. Highlighting important tasks and search functionalities to help the employees use them effectively.

Who says SharePoint Is Turnkey?

SharePoint is just a platform developed by Microsoft. Simply subscribing to these services is not all! It’s just a hollow machine where you need to add features to get started. With dedicated and trusted SharePoint Experts like us, you will be able to attain the best SharePoint Intranet Portal for your business. That’s our promise!

So, if anyone asks if SharePoint is a Turnkey? You know what to answer right?

There are success stories and downfalls for SharePoint Implementations. It’s nothing to do with luck or other factors but depends on how strong your SharePoint resources are. SharePoint alone is not going to solve all your problems (It is not a plug-and-play solution). Realizing that will solve your first issue.

What you need to follow to ensure the success of your SharePoint Intranet Portal project?

  1. Understand that SharePoint is just a platform and installing that alone doesn’t solve your problems/requirements.
  2. Don’t be overconfident with your SharePoint Plans. Be wise.
  3. Research from SharePoint authenticated sources only (For e.g. blogs.mic wo’t lose lot of time, budget and of course quality!

It’s your call: Ready-to-Go Intranet Portal or Custom SharePoint Development (Don’t worry we have got both!