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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.

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What’s your Favorite Feature in SharePoint 2016?

We have been seeing lot of developments on SharePoint platform and many of the users are finding it great for their work today. We had a great month with lot of companies placing orders for Dock Intranet Portal and one reason behind this success is of course, the SharePoint Intranet Platform!

 

For people who haven’t gone with SharePoint 2016 or planning to upgrade, check out some of the favorite features we have heard from our customers:

1.Latest Team Site & Office 365 Groups Interface

Microsoft has been investing heavily on Office 365 Groups lately along with the integration with SharePoint Team Sites. What is the difference between Office 365 Groups and Team Sites? Confused? Don’t worry and there is no need for comparison as O365 Groups is just a membership management of users into the Active Directory Groups — which means it syncs with your existing SharePoint, Exchange, Teams and Planner for provisioning it for the group you need to create.

2. Microsoft Teams

If you have watched our video on Microsoft Teams, we have created 3 teams namely, Dock Intranet Ninjas, Global Infonet Champs and AD Team. We use Microsoft Dynamics 365 for tracking our Sales Contacts and Companies, Google Analytics and Power BI for Analytics, SharePoint (of course, that’s our sustenance) and MailChimp for Email Marketing.

If you come across the Team Hub, you have the provision to access Files right from the SharePoint Libraries and your own OneDrive Folders. There is no switching back to different windows to share content. Everything is available in one single window!

3. New Interface and UI

The best part of SharePoint is its visual appearance. We all know that Microsoft SharePoint has always been known for its document management capability and list-based. If you see the latest SharePoint version, SharePoint 2016, the User Interface has come out with clear headings and images. Something like OneDrive, you will be able to drag/drop documents into various folders, organize the file structures within your screen!

4. The Hybrid Capability!

As per our experience, 90 percent of the financial institutions will move to hybrid-based solutions by end of 2017. Reason? We are live with our smartphones and how about having all your work-related features with a click of a button? In this era, companies are looking forward to leveraging cloud environments. Features like Hybrid Search and other workflows are easily available within SharePoint 2016. What more can you ask for?

5. You will love Mobility!

Before I write about this, please download the mobile app ASAP. SharePoint is available in your hands, anytime and anywhere! With this new feature that came last year (June 21, 2016), Microsoft has assured seamless and responsive mobile app and its user experience is immense!

6. OneDrive for Business — For your Business!

If you come across the document libraries in SharePoint 2016, it has followed very much like OneDrive which makes it easier for new users too to start working. With the integration capabilities, there is a great boost for OneDrive so users will be able to collaborate, create and edit documents for their SharePoint Sites. Once the final document is ready, it can be transferred between Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. Check out our Video on “How to use Microsoft Flow to Integrate with your SharePoint?”. This is a great feature for Hybrid SharePoint environments. Especially for the below scenario.

Let’s say your Sales Rep is on-the-go after meeting his client. He picks up the budgetary quote from the on-prem SharePoint 2016 Interface and works on the cloud and directly shares from the folder to the client. How easier can this be, isn’t it? Also, co-authoring the document with your colleagues saves lot of time and keeps your team in the same page!

7. Office Graph

Office Graph helps in serving content and activity which is relevant to the end-user. Even Delve (which you can access by navigating through the left top most icon in your Office 365 Page) offers seamless user experience where it allows you to see your colleague’s files which they were working on. Hover on the contact cards to experience this when you are in O365 Environment.

Also, another recommended practice is to push on-premise data into Delve through SharePoint search. Let Office Graph show the information to the users. That’s it! You just made your content discover-able for your users irrespective if its on-prem or cloud based.

The Future: Content Targeting

This is very essential for organizations that are spread across the country. We have couple of clients who work at different locations. You don’t want them to see content which is irrelevant right? This is where Content Targeting comes into picture. Your users will see content based on characteristics like Job Role, Department, Location, Skills etc.

A great way to get rid of lot of emails, isn’t it? In terms of communications perspective, this is a great move.

If you want to learn more about SharePoint, visit our Dock Video Channel.

Scoop.it, Technology

Employee Resources Portal – Empower your Team and see them Grow!

Hello Everyone! Today, we will be discussing about Employee Resource Portal and how it can nurture your team.

Earlier, the employees were forced to approach their HR Personnel for every request, concern or query. If the team size is larger, imagine the amount of patience the HR Team goes through when assisting the employees? With Employee Resources Portal powered by SharePoint Online, you can request for leaves, submit travel requests, expense reports easily without anybody’s support anytime and anywhere! This way, the HR Personnel can focus on their pressing matters rather than reaching every single employee’s queries.

employee-resources

A Screenshot of Dock Intranet Portal – Employee Resources

What are the core features you get in Employee Resources?

  1. Employee Personal Profile
  2. My Benefits Information
  3. My Payroll and Compensations
  4. My Absence and Time Management
  5. Training Resources
  6. Policies and Procedures
  7. Employee Directory
  8. Expense Reports
  9. Time Off Requests
  10. Travel Requests and much more!
  1. Employee Personal Profile

Employees have the provision to add their personal profile here. Powered by Microsoft Delve, you get to see all the information like job title, employee photo, phone number, email address, location etc.

  1. My Benefits Information

Employees will be able to look into their Health Plan Summary, New Hire Eligibility, Dependents Coverage and Life Event Changes. No more hassles with the HR Department!

  1. My Payroll and Compensations

Get your Payroll details within minutes instead of days! Employees have access to Employee Pay Stub, W-4 Form, Direct Deposit Authorization and Compensation History details.

  1. My Absence and Time Management

The pain area of most of the HR Team is Time Management and Leave Management. Streamlining this gives a great opportunity for solving various concerns in one step! No more hassles involved in employee follow ups and leave management – eventually saves time and cost!

  1. Training Resources

There is no way that you will miss out any training sessions in your organization! Keep track of upcoming training programs with Dock’s Training Portal! We have setup New Hire Orientation and All Employees Training Guide features enabling users to watch and download training resources effectively!

  1. Policies and Procedures

Now this is more of a knowledge base management system which helps employees to learn about the policies and procedures within their organization. Avoiding statutory compliances is not a good idea. When you have Dock Intranet Portal that is user-friendly and hassle-free –Especially when it’s hassle-free – there is nothing to worry about!

  1. Employee Directory

Employees will be able to find their team members/all employee details within their organization. Powered by Microsoft Delve, you get to see all the information like job title, employee photo, phone number, email address, location etc. You also get to understand the Organization Chart and Department specific flow.

  1. Expense Reports

Tired of printing your Expense Reports and submitting it to your HR Team? Go paperless with the Expense Reports feature where your employees can accurately send Expense Reports that complies approval limits, business rules and company policies. This improves the quality and eliminates extra work – which helps to boost productivity.

  1. Time Off Requests

No more leave requests in hard papers! Just submit the web-form with your leave request and that’s it! Your HR gets notified on your leave request. The HR Personnel reviews it and may approve or disapprove your leave request. These workflows happen in minutes – eventually saving time!

  1. Travel Requests

Your Sales Reps might be busy travelling to customers for Sales Closures and probably, the HR gets the information during the weekends. You can’t blame the Sales Reps as they don’t have time to fill up forms, meeting the HR to get approvals. This way, lot of miscommunication occurs and leads to lot of confusions. With Dock’s Travel Request feature, the employee can submit the form within a minute which goes directly to the HR Team. The workflow can be customized based on your requirement. Once submitted, the HR Team can act on your travel requests easily.

Lots of features, right? We are working on the integration possibilities with ADP HRMS for enhancing our HR Module features.

Also, watch some of our videos: –

  1. Employee Onboarding Feature – HR Portal
  2. Working on Expense Reports, Travel Request and PTO Request
Scoop.it, Technology

What’s your Pick? SharePoint or Dynamics 365?

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With the launch of Dynamics 365 with lots of intelligent business applications are available in one roof (Both CRM and ERP). It’s like a shopping area where you can choose your desired apps to run your business and when you have more requirements, simply look for the tools available and add them.

Why did I quote SharePoint or Dynamics 365? I started my career as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant (Handled 2011, 2013 and 2016 versions) and currently I’m working as a Microsoft SharePoint Consultant. It’s not that I moved away from Dynamics Platform but it’s because I foresee the future for collaboration solutions that every organization is considering.

I have come across a question from my colleague Bradley Boman who is a SharePoint developer, “Sajin, what’s so great about Dynamics CRM? We can have those features configured in SharePoint, right?”. I couldn’t reply that as it was my first week at the company and today if you ask me the same question; my response will be: depending on your core requirement, how fast you want it implemented and most important – Cost.

At least 80 percent of the customers don’t know the difference between SharePoint and Dynamics 365 and I’m sure you do not either! All you know is that SharePoint Online comes as an add-on with Office 365 Business Subscriptions and it’s simply sitting there dusted but in the case of Dynamics 365, you must purchase each add-on based on your requirement. It’s like you are at Baskin Robbins and ordering toppings for your scoop.

For Microsoft Dynamics Users, SharePoint might be an extension but for us SharePoint evangelists, it is a platform all together!

Microsoft is rethinking on platform implementations with easy deployment, various training materials, easy buying options etc.

With the recent release of its Products, Microsoft and its Partners are providing solutions which doesn’t require expensive implementation costs and employing platform experts in client side. However, there is huge demand of end-user specialists and domain experts today.

In the current scenario, various SMBs find these platforms (Microsoft SharePoint and Dynamics 365) require some amount of technical and consulting needs for product installation and maintenance. Microsoft Certified Professionals/Consultants are required to perform such implementations to ensure that the desired solution is deployed effectively.

This is where Microsoft Partners play a great role in supporting the customers. IT departments are willing to ask help for software deployment and training programs regardless of higher expenses.

Let’s come back to the topic now. We started off with SharePoint or Dynamics 365 right? With all due respect to Dynamics 365 Experts, let me discuss that below:

SharePoint cannot become a full-fledged CRM

There is a reason behind every solution’s existence. SharePoint is known for its capability for Enterprise level Document Management and Collaboration Platform whereas Dynamics365 is not. There are SharePoint based solutions that have basic Sales, Marketing and Customer Portals designed but if you ask me if it is better than Dynamics 365, let’s be honest, the answer is no. If you are extensively looking to automate your Sales and Customer Service, Dynamics 365 could be a better option. Why do you need to kill lot of time on just replicating a CRM feature to SharePoint or other platforms? So, let SharePoint be an Enterprise Level Document Management Suite and Dynamics 365 be the Enterprise Level CRM and ERP platform.

Dynamics 365 can never be SharePoint

Vice versa! If you need any document management capability for Dynamics 365, the only option for you is to look for a 3rd party addon (For e.g. Document Core Pack) or integrating Microsoft Flow with your Dynamics 365 and SharePoint Online/Server Instance. Instead of cost, you should be focusing on the ROI. If you consider both solutions integrated for your organization, the benefits you get are immense (You will be generating maximum net results).

That’s why we have PowerApps and Microsoft Flow released and with the capabilities of these tools, organizations can simply create custom workflows without any programming or coding knowledge. Just define the flow and plugin the sites and start working! Thanks to Microsoft offering its customers to integrate solutions themselves without the help of a Microsoft Consultant (Referring to Common Integration capabilities only).

What should you do next?

I’ll never ask you to go for both solutions. Think about the outcomes and ROI for now. Which solution would solve your business-critical issues? Instead of getting fancy with the looks, see if either of the solutions can get your work done easily.

It could be SharePoint or Dynamics 365 or neither both or even both! You need to find out your desired outcomes proportional to the spending – ROI defined!