The difference between Groups, Yammer, and Teams

Yammer, Microsoft 365 Groups, and Microsoft Teams are all Microsoft 365 tools that are designed for sharing files and communicating with colleagues. So what differentiates them from one another, and when should you use which? Let’s find out.

Microsoft 365 Groups

With Microsoft 365 Groups, every member gets a shared inbox, calendar, project planner, notebook, and document library. You can also integrate third-party apps like Twitter, Trello, and Mailchimp to Groups so notifications are sent directly to your shared inbox.

This means all relevant messages and information are sent to one place, so if your organization normally communicates via email, Microsoft 365 Groups is ideal. What’s more, HR and sales departments that communicate with external parties will also find plenty of uses for its email features.

A big downside of Microsoft 365 Groups, however, is email overload. Since all messages and notifications are sent to one inbox, users may become overwhelmed by the number of emails they have to sort through every day.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams, a chat-based collaboration platform, works with Skype for Business, so you can text, call, video chat, and share files with colleagues. Thanks to its seamless integrations with other Microsoft 365 apps, you can even work on shared files without leaving the app.

Unlike Groups, Microsoft Teams is designed for more advanced collaboration, making it great for completing projects with tight deadlines or other tasks requiring immediate feedback.

Yammer

Much like Groups and Teams, Yammer works well with other Microsoft 365 tools like Outlook and OneDrive. However, Yammer is a professional social media app designed to foster open communication and break down barriers between teams.

Yammer serves like a virtual office bulletin board: important files and announcements can be shared with the entire company through this platform. Users can also see the most popular post on their feeds, follow it, and even comment.

Yammer also takes design elements and features from social media apps like Facebook, making it a popular choice for companies with millennials in their workforce.

Although we’ve discussed the fundamental differences between Groups, Teams, and Yammer, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what each app can do. To figure out which apps you need, you must understand how your employees work, how they like to collaborate with one another, and what you want to achieve from such collaborations.

Fortunately, there’s another way to find the right app for your business: ask the experts. Contact us today for an IT assessment!

This post was originally published on this site

Maximize your Microsoft Word subscription with these tips

Microsoft Word is synonymous with document processing, which isn’t a surprise given its ubiquity and reputation for being user-friendly. Yet, many users are still surprised to learn that it has plenty of useful features, albeit ones that are hiding in plain sight. Here are some of them.

Work online

Don’t have the Word app on your computer, tablet, or smartphone? Go to office.com, sign in with your Microsoft account, and open Word Online, the web version of Word. This is particularly useful for users who have limited free storage space on their devices, as the Word app can be pretty hefty in terms of storage space (2.11 GB for Windows and 1.2 GB for Mac). It allows for the same level of functionality without the storage burden.

Collaborate effectively

You and your colleagues can now edit the same Word document simultaneously and in real time. Simply save the document to your Microsoft OneDrive account, click Share, and send the link to the file to your coworkers. People with the link can access and edit the document using the Word desktop app or Word Online.

Maintain editorial control

Use the Track Changes function of Word to monitor all edits made to your document. To turn on Track Changes, click on the Review tab, and then select Track Changes. You will then be able to view all changes made to the file by every user, and you will also have the ability to reject or accept suggestions and edits as you see fit.

Use Smart Lookup for research

The Smart Lookup feature helps you do online research while you’re working on a document — no need to open another tab and type in a query. Simply highlight and right-click the word or phrase you want to look up, and select Smart Lookup from the menu that appears. Word uses Microsoft’s Bing search engine to conduct a search on the selected word or phrase, and displays the results in a pane that appears on the right side of your screen.

Format your documents

The Styles gallery contains predefined formatting options for text. You can also add your own styles, or those you use frequently, to the gallery. By saving your own style preferences, you can apply them anytime without having to manually format everything. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to format as a new style (e.g., a heading or a certain phrase).
  2. Specify the formatting you want on the mini toolbar that appears. For instance, click Bold and Red if you want the text to appear as such.
  3. Click the More arrow in the lower-right corner of the Styles gallery. Select Create a Style. This will open the Create New Style from Formatting dialog box.
  4. Give the style a name and click OK. Your new style will appear in the Styles gallery, ready for you to use anytime.

Search and use images quickly

With Word, there’s no need to open your browser to look for images for your document. Just place the cursor in the area where you want to insert the photo, click the Insert tab and select Online pictures (type “clip art” in the search box if that’s what you need), select an image, then click Insert.

Edit PDFs

Word’s PDF editing function allows you to make quick changes to PDF files without having to download and use a PDF editing app or software. But before you can edit a PDF file in Word, you have to convert it to a file format that Word can display. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Click File > Open > Browse
  2. Choose the PDF file you want to edit, then click Open
  3. Click OK to make a copy of the PDF file and convert its contents into a format that can be opened in Word. (Note: The original PDF will be preserved.)
  4. Make edits to the copy of the PDF file.
  5. When you’re done, click File > Save as > PDF

Microsoft is constantly rolling out nifty new features for its popular word processor. To stay updated on the latest Word features and functionalities, reach out to our Microsoft experts now.

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Workplace Analytics: An essential tool for business productivity

Microsoft Workplace Analytics presents a clear picture of employee performance, giving managers and leaders actionable insights to enhance productivity. Learn more about this valuable tool and its benefits to businesses of all sizes across industries.

How does Workplace Analytics work?

A paid add-on to Office 365 enterprise plans, Workplace Analytics extracts behavioral insights from data gathered from emails, calendars, documents, and Office 365 apps. This means any data an employee enters into Office 365 can be used to assess their performance and productivity.

The data from which insights are gleaned are generated by employees themselves — how much time they spend on meetings, who they communicate with, and how much time they spend on productive tasks.

All this data can be viewed on the Workplace Analytics dashboard, where information is sorted using the following metrics:

  • Week in the life provides information on how the entire organization spends time and how employees collaborate with one another.
  • Meetings overview shows the amount of time people spend in meetings.
  • Management and coaching presents information about one-on-one meetings between each employee and their direct manager.
  • The internal networks metric shows how people within your organization communicate and collaborate with one another.
  • External collaboration provides insights into how your employees connect with individuals or teams from third-party organizations.
  • Teams collaboration takes a look at how employees and managers use Microsoft Teams to communicate with their colleagues.

What does Workplace Analytics aim to do?

Workplace Analytics is designed to solve businesses’ most common problems, specifically issues related to productivity and engagement.

Using Workplace Analytics data, business leaders can develop effective productivity strategies for the entire company. For instance, if the data shows that employees spend 60% of their time in meetings, managers can come up with a strategy to make meetings shorter or less frequent so staff can focus on productive tasks. Similarly, human resources personnel can use data on employees’ work patterns to identify the causes of burnout — now a widespread issue across businesses and industries — and make recommendations to address it.

Workplace Analytics can be also used to determine how workers collaborate with internal and external parties. Suppose a member of your sales team frequently works and communicates with certain vendors. The sales team’s manager can pull up Workplace Analytics data and use it to assess whether or not this collaboration is helping the team meet targets, or if it’s causing them to miss out on other, more critical opportunities for collaboration and/or making a sale. Based on this information, the manager can also identify which employees are most likely to meet or exceed their targets and set company-wide standards accordingly.

Finally, Workplace Analytics allows managers to determine an employee’s level of engagement, and whether workloads are fairly distributed among workers and/or departments.

To ensure you get the full benefits of Workplace Analytics, partner with a reputable managed IT services provider like us. Our experts are highly skilled and experienced in implementing and managing Microsoft programs and services, so you can rest easy knowing your business is in good hands. Drop us a line today.

This post was originally published on this site

Workplace Analytics: An essential tool for business productivity

Microsoft Workplace Analytics presents a clear picture of employee performance, giving managers and leaders actionable insights to enhance productivity. Learn more about this valuable tool and its benefits to businesses of all sizes across industries.

How does Workplace Analytics work?

A paid add-on to Office 365 enterprise plans, Workplace Analytics extracts behavioral insights from data gathered from emails, calendars, documents, and Office 365 apps. This means any data an employee enters into Office 365 can be used to assess their performance and productivity.

The data from which insights are gleaned are generated by employees themselves — how much time they spend on meetings, who they communicate with, and how much time they spend on productive tasks.

All this data can be viewed on the Workplace Analytics dashboard, where information is sorted using the following metrics:

  • Week in the life provides information on how the entire organization spends time and how employees collaborate with one another.
  • Meetings overview shows the amount of time people spend in meetings.
  • Management and coaching presents information about one-on-one meetings between each employee and their direct manager.
  • The internal networks metric shows how people within your organization communicate and collaborate with one another.
  • External collaboration provides insights into how your employees connect with individuals or teams from third-party organizations.
  • Teams collaboration takes a look at how employees and managers use Microsoft Teams to communicate with their colleagues.

What does Workplace Analytics aim to do?

Workplace Analytics is designed to solve businesses’ most common problems, specifically issues related to productivity and engagement.

Using Workplace Analytics data, business leaders can develop effective productivity strategies for the entire company. For instance, if the data shows that employees spend 60% of their time in meetings, managers can come up with a strategy to make meetings shorter or less frequent so staff can focus on productive tasks. Similarly, human resources personnel can use data on employees’ work patterns to identify the causes of burnout — now a widespread issue across businesses and industries — and make recommendations to address it.

Workplace Analytics can be also used to determine how workers collaborate with internal and external parties. Suppose a member of your sales team frequently works and communicates with certain vendors. The sales team’s manager can pull up Workplace Analytics data and use it to assess whether or not this collaboration is helping the team meet targets, or if it’s causing them to miss out on other, more critical opportunities for collaboration and/or making a sale. Based on this information, the manager can also identify which employees are most likely to meet or exceed their targets and set company-wide standards accordingly.

Finally, Workplace Analytics allows managers to determine an employee’s level of engagement, and whether workloads are fairly distributed among workers and/or departments.

To ensure you get the full benefits of Workplace Analytics, partner with a reputable managed IT services provider like us. Our experts are highly skilled and experienced in implementing and managing Microsoft programs and services, so you can rest easy knowing your business is in good hands. Drop us a line today.

This post was originally published on this site

What are the benefits of the human cloud?

It’s a good time to start a business — not only can you take your ideas more quickly to market, but you can do so at reduced costs and without the traditional barriers in hiring skilled workers. Talented contractors are now available via the “human cloud” and ready to help you build and operate your company. Here’s how small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can benefit from it.

What is the human cloud?

The human cloud is a working platform where staff perform white-collar tasks from any location and on any device. Collaboration, file sharing, or discussions on projects are done in a flexible and productive manner, rewarding team members solely for their output.

Benefits of hiring on the human cloud

Companies looking to take advantage of the human cloud are entitled to the following benefits:

  1. Low cost
    The human cloud helps save time and money spent on traditional employment processes. Hiring is fast and easy, and you pay for the skills you need on a transactional basis.
  2. No overhead
    Hiring through the human cloud requires no overhead for office space, thereby enabling firms to stay lean and profit-focused. By becoming virtual, teams can work independently from anywhere. Remote collaboration via the human cloud is a game-changer that benefits companies, such as startups, that are inclined to spend fewer resources to build their business infrastructure.
  3. Get skills on demand
    Employers can contract for micro-tasks, such as copying text from business cards, to larger tasks, like selling products for a fee, to even more complex projects such as software design and programming.
  4. Global talent pool
    Even startups can be multinational today, so they are no longer limited by geography in finding key talent with specialized skills. Business can leverage overseas creative, administrative, engineering, and other high-level talent to build a well-rounded team. A good idea can come and be executed from just about anywhere.For instance, Foundr Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Nathan Chan started a passion project that enabled him to interview some of the most influential entrepreneurs around the world, which he shared through his monthly digital publication.

    For Chan, the launch of this successful project would not have been possible if it wasn’t for human cloud service and freelancing platform Elance. Elance allowed him to leverage overseas talent and build a solid team of graphic designers, audio/video editors, and writers. All tasks and projects for each issue of his magazine run through the platform, which also conveniently processes payments for his contractors.

  5. Easy collaboration
    Using an online platform gives SMBs the ability to manage projects through virtual workrooms. Collaboration software can be extremely important and even mission-critical for remote teams to work efficiently.

As more startups and SMBs become familiar (and comfortable) with the advantages of the human cloud, the future of work means that location is not the most important factor in determining who will contribute to your business’s success. A worldwide network of online contractors is now ready to serve you with the qualifications, skill sets, and shared enthusiasm you seek to turn ideas into valuable products or services.

For more information on how to leverage cloud technologies or collaboration software, get in touch with any of our cloud specialists.

This post was originally published on this site

What are the benefits of the human cloud?

It’s a good time to start a business — not only can you take your ideas more quickly to market, but you can do so at reduced costs and without the traditional barriers in hiring skilled workers. Talented contractors are now available via the “human cloud” and ready to help you build and operate your company. Here’s how small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can benefit from it.

What is the human cloud?

The human cloud is a working platform where staff perform white-collar tasks from any location and on any device. Collaboration, file sharing, or discussions on projects are done in a flexible and productive manner, rewarding team members solely for their output.

Benefits of hiring on the human cloud

Companies looking to take advantage of the human cloud are entitled to the following benefits:

  1. Low cost
    The human cloud helps save time and money spent on traditional employment processes. Hiring is fast and easy, and you pay for the skills you need on a transactional basis.
  2. No overhead
    Hiring through the human cloud requires no overhead for office space, thereby enabling firms to stay lean and profit-focused. By becoming virtual, teams can work independently from anywhere. Remote collaboration via the human cloud is a game-changer that benefits companies, such as startups, that are inclined to spend fewer resources to build their business infrastructure.
  3. Get skills on demand
    Employers can contract for micro-tasks, such as copying text from business cards, to larger tasks, like selling products for a fee, to even more complex projects such as software design and programming.
  4. Global talent pool
    Even startups can be multinational today, so they are no longer limited by geography in finding key talent with specialized skills. Business can leverage overseas creative, administrative, engineering, and other high-level talent to build a well-rounded team. A good idea can come and be executed from just about anywhere.For instance, Foundr Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Nathan Chan started a passion project that enabled him to interview some of the most influential entrepreneurs around the world, which he shared through his monthly digital publication.

    For Chan, the launch of this successful project would not have been possible if it wasn’t for human cloud service and freelancing platform Elance. Elance allowed him to leverage overseas talent and build a solid team of graphic designers, audio/video editors, and writers. All tasks and projects for each issue of his magazine run through the platform, which also conveniently processes payments for his contractors.

  5. Easy collaboration
    Using an online platform gives SMBs the ability to manage projects through virtual workrooms. Collaboration software can be extremely important and even mission-critical for remote teams to work efficiently.

As more startups and SMBs become familiar (and comfortable) with the advantages of the human cloud, the future of work means that location is not the most important factor in determining who will contribute to your business’s success. A worldwide network of online contractors is now ready to serve you with the qualifications, skill sets, and shared enthusiasm you seek to turn ideas into valuable products or services.

For more information on how to leverage cloud technologies or collaboration software, get in touch with any of our cloud specialists.

This post was originally published on this site

Your guide to Microsoft 365 Groups connectors

Microsoft 365 Groups has a nifty feature called connectors, which enables users to link to and get information from third-party apps in Microsoft Outlook. This means relevant content and updates are shared immediately in your group feed, making workflow and collaboration more seamless. Find out more about how connectors can boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.

How do connectors work?

Connectors enable users to access third-party apps and services within their Outlook groups, eliminating the need to scour through dozens of tabs to open a specific application. For example, your staff can keep tabs on a particular hashtag your company is following on Twitter without having to open the app in another tab. They can also receive the latest news and current events by adding the Bing News connector, or keep track of projects by connecting to Trello or Asana.

Content and updates from connected apps and services are delivered via connector cards, which offer a user-friendly way to interact with external applications. If a particular connector is added to a Group, connector cards are generated within the group’s activity feed. While most cards will display events in plain text, some applications like Twitter and Trello provide actionable messages. Trello, for example, allows you to assign or comment on an event card — which you can do without leaving Outlook.

Aside from configuring the apps and services to connect to, the connectors feature also allows users to set the frequency of delivery of content and updates, enabling you to better manage your Outlook inbox.

Who can create a connector?

Any group member can configure and use a number of connectors. Once they configure a connector for a group, that app will be made available to other members. However, only the person who added the connector can modify the settings of that app.

Microsoft 365 also lets your business develop its own connectors by embedding the Connect to Microsoft 365 button on your site. This allows users to connect to your service and get updates on your company, as they would with other third-party services. Your Microsoft 365 client basically becomes a hub for third-party apps, keeping your company in sync to get more work done.

How do you access Microsoft 365 connectors?

Simply navigate to a Group from your Outlook page and click on the Connectors tab at the top of the page. From here, you can choose the apps and services your group needs, and connect these to any of your Outlook groups.

As your business grows, you’ll need to use more apps and services to be more productive. By aggregating them all in one place, you save time shifting around apps to find the information you need. So the next time you create a Microsoft 365 Group, help your team members work more efficiently by setting up some connectors.

Microsoft tools like Groups and Outlook help organizations of all sizes improve their workflows and enhance their productivity. If you’re interested in learning about Microsoft apps and what they can do for your business, contact us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Your guide to Microsoft 365 Groups connectors

Microsoft 365 Groups has a nifty feature called connectors, which enables users to link to and get information from third-party apps in Microsoft Outlook. This means relevant content and updates are shared immediately in your group feed, making workflow and collaboration more seamless. Find out more about how connectors can boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.

How do connectors work?

Connectors enable users to access third-party apps and services within their Outlook groups, eliminating the need to scour through dozens of tabs to open a specific application. For example, your staff can keep tabs on a particular hashtag your company is following on Twitter without having to open the app in another tab. They can also receive the latest news and current events by adding the Bing News connector, or keep track of projects by connecting to Trello or Asana.

Content and updates from connected apps and services are delivered via connector cards, which offer a user-friendly way to interact with external applications. If a particular connector is added to a Group, connector cards are generated within the group’s activity feed. While most cards will display events in plain text, some applications like Twitter and Trello provide actionable messages. Trello, for example, allows you to assign or comment on an event card — which you can do without leaving Outlook.

Aside from configuring the apps and services to connect to, the connectors feature also allows users to set the frequency of delivery of content and updates, enabling you to better manage your Outlook inbox.

Who can create a connector?

Any group member can configure and use a number of connectors. Once they configure a connector for a group, that app will be made available to other members. However, only the person who added the connector can modify the settings of that app.

Microsoft 365 also lets your business develop its own connectors by embedding the Connect to Microsoft 365 button on your site. This allows users to connect to your service and get updates on your company, as they would with other third-party services. Your Microsoft 365 client basically becomes a hub for third-party apps, keeping your company in sync to get more work done.

How do you access Microsoft 365 connectors?

Simply navigate to a Group from your Outlook page and click on the Connectors tab at the top of the page. From here, you can choose the apps and services your group needs, and connect these to any of your Outlook groups.

As your business grows, you’ll need to use more apps and services to be more productive. By aggregating them all in one place, you save time shifting around apps to find the information you need. So the next time you create a Microsoft 365 Group, help your team members work more efficiently by setting up some connectors.

Microsoft tools like Groups and Outlook help organizations of all sizes improve their workflows and enhance their productivity. If you’re interested in learning about Microsoft apps and what they can do for your business, contact us today.

This post was originally published on this site