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Category Archives: Office 365

3 Ways Businesses can ready themselves for flexible working

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Flexible work arrangements have long been a feature in the workplace, but as more collaboration technologies move to the cloud, it’s becoming increasingly common for workers to work from home. A recent report by the TUC shows that the number of employees choosing to ditch the office continues to soar, with a 20% increase in home-workers in the last decade. According to Phil Flaxton, Chief Executive of WorkWiseUK and the organiser of National Work from Home Day:

“Increasing mobility and technology is shifting the acceptance or need for traditional office based, 9-5 work patterns, to be replaced by more home-based, flexible ways and periods of work”

Not only has this shift increased the options available to workers, but according to data published by Gallop, the added flexibility has dramatically impacted employee engagement, with the most productive workers reported to be spending just one day a week in the office.


Source: Gallup State of the American Workplace Report 2013

So it’s clear that the ability to spend time working outside of the office environment is not only desirable for employees, it brings numerous benefits for organisations. But companies need to consider their readiness to adopt such working practices. With this in mind, how can employers adapt their work practices to suit the growing trend of flexibility?

  1. Integration
    Within every organisation, there are a variety of ways departments communicate with each other. Whether it’s with instant messaging, teleconferencing, email or carrier pigeon, when you throw long distance in the mix, it can be overwhelming. Despite the number of tools claiming to be able to cover all the niche requirements of collaboration between teams, they usually end up just adding one more source of information to the already overcrowded collection. Instead of trying to cover all bases with one solution, it’s becoming more desirable and realistic to use tools that integrate into a single platform. Microsoft’s offerings in productivity software are ever-growing, and their ability to work with each other is unrivalled. For applications with less cross-compatibility, apps such as Flow allow processes to be linked together; for example, you can use Flow to get a push notification when you receive an email from your boss.
  2. Centralise Information
    As the amount of data storage required by businesses increases exponentially, it’s more important than ever to have files stored in one central location, accessible from anywhere. It’s no longer enough to hold information on a physical hard drive – it’s expensive, insecure and it relies on the user being in the same location as the storage device.  For maximum productivity, your employees need to be able to find the information they need in one place, without laborious searching of archives and trawling through dead links. A digital workplace allows information storing, sharing and collaborative working in a centralised location, and can also act as a training platform with access to internal resources and how-to guides.
  3. Security
    With the ability to access sensitive data from any location, companies have reduced control over the security measures in place when staff work from home. Risks vary from the loss of files that have not been backed up, the theft of passwords or the computer itself being compromised. For these reasons, it’s essential that there is a protocol in place that establishes the rules for working from home or outside the office. Using cloud-based platforms – such as Microsoft Office 365 – allows users to access Office applications, email, calendars and file sharing via a secure connection, with no data being stored on the employee’s own computer.

With the trend of working from home looking set to last, it’s vital that businesses invest in the technology that allows their workers to enjoy the benefits of flexible working. For more information on strategies to improve your businesses ability to allow working from home, check out our webinar on the top ten benefits an Intranet can bring to your business.

5 Ways Office 365 Can Save Your Organisation Money Right Now

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Microsoft Office 365 for Business comes with a whole host of benefits to many organisations of any size around the world. However, when it comes to making decisions it can be difficult to see straight away the “quick-wins” that could tempt you or your decision makers to take the plunge.

There is already a lot of excellent material on the Internet demonstrating all the features that Microsoft Office 365 for Business can provide, but here is a run down of the immediate benefits you can achieve by signing up.

Reduced infrastructure costs

Arguably one of the biggest selling points of Microsoft Office 365 for Business is that you can get access to all of the incredible productivity features as soon as your tenancy has been created, without any extra outlay for more infrastructure in your organisation.

For example, if you wanted to install a collaboration platform such as SharePoint, traditionally you would need at least 3 high-powered servers, licenses for each user accessing the environment, and to manage your data (backups, database maintenance etc). And then you have costs for your data centre footprint which includes electricity costs, cooling, hardware failures and end-of-life disposal. A lot of small things can up to a large total cost of ownership.

If you maintain a server on-premises for email currently, you will be able to migrate your accounts to Exchange Online and decommission your on-premises servers.

With Office 365 and SharePoint Online, all of this is taken care for you, for the cost of your user subscriptions only.

Simple, subscription-based licensing

Managing your user subscriptions and licenses is now made a lot simpler thanks to the Admin Centre. This gives you a single place to monitor how many user licenses you have purchased, how many you’ve assigned, and what your monthly cost is.

O365Subs

Which Microsoft Office 365 plan is right for your business?

Improved communications tools

Office 365 for Business includes powerful communication tools such as Skype for Business, which is a voice and video conferencing tool. With this you can telecommute with ease, arrange meetings with voice and video and send these to people outside your organisation, who will join the meeting using Skype for Business (if they are also users of Office 365), or with the web-based client.

O365SkypeForBiz
This lets you make dramatic cuts to your travel costs for meetings and presentations, allowing you to deliver to your customers regardless of where you (or they) are!

Read more about Skype for Business’s web conferencing capabilities.

Secure online storage

All of your data is securely stored in Microsoft data centres which are geographically local to your part of the world. The infrastructure is maintained by Microsoft and therefore is regularly kept up to date with the latest security updates and virus scanning capabilities. Backups and data redundancy are all taken care of for you without the need for any extra personnel or hardware. Office 365 also complies with the EU Privacy Law so you can ensure your data is safe.

O365OneDriveForBiz

The Office 365 Trust Centre has a wealth of information regarding your data security as a Microsoft Office 365 customer.

Access to your data anywhere, on any device

To be able to access Email, Documents, Tasks and even Skype for Business, all you need is an internet connection and a device with a supported browser. Here’s more on the system requirements for Office 365 for Business.O365Mobile

Because Microsoft manages data security and integrity (leaving it to you to decide and manage who can see what), Office 365 allows you the freedom to implement a “Bring Your Own Device” strategy, allowing your users to use any phone or tablet device to access their data.

As you can see, your organisation can start reducing costs almost immediately by switching over to Microsoft Office 365 for Business.

Get started today with a FREE no obligation Office 365 Trial.

How to create an exportable Script Editor web part in Office 365

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The Script Editor web part is one of my favourite tools in my SharePoint development kit as it enables developers and designers to be able to inject HTML, JavaScript and CSS into any SharePoint page without having to open SharePoint Designer.

Great, but… there is a drawback, and a quite annoying one at that… you cannot export a default Script Editor web part.

No way, no export!
No way, no export!

Why is that annoying? Exporting web parts is the easiest way to replicate the functionality configured inside them in SharePoint. You can take your exported web part, store it in your Site Collection Web Part Gallery and reuse it using the Add Web Part button on the SharePoint Ribbon.

However, there is a very simple update you can make to change this and create your own version of the Script Editor that you can export by default.

Add a Script Editor to a web part zone and click the Edit Web Part command from the web part menu. This will open the Web Part Properties pane.

On the properties pane, expand the Advanced section. You will see that there is a field to set the Export Mode of the web part, change this to Export All. This will enable the Export command on the web part menu, which will allow you to save the web part locally to your desktop.

advancedproperties
Export All the things!

After saving the web part locally, rename the file to “ExportableMSScriptEditor.webpart”. You can save this back to you SharePoint site for it be reused by uploading it to your Web Part Gallery.

Go to your site and click the Settings cog to access the Site Settings page, from here you can access the Web Part Gallery under the Web Designer Galleries heading.

Upload your new web part file into the Web Part Gallery using the Ribbon, on the Files tab click the Upload Document button and select the file when promoted by the “Add a web part” dialog box.

Once uploaded, you will be asked to confirm or alter the file name, title, description and group of the web part.

Once that is complete and your new web part is showing in the Web Part Gallery, you can now add this to your page via the Ribbon.

Edit the page, got to the Ribbon and select the Insert tab, click the Web Part button to open the Web Part Picker to find and select your web part to then add to the page.

View the web part in the Web Part Picker
View the web part in the Web Part Picker
It lives!!
It lives!!

You will now be able to Export the web part from the web part menu.

Now that you can use your own version of the Script Editor web part you can create web part functionality and easily export them for further reuse or simply for a quick backup, just in case someone changes and breaks it.

Here is an example of a web part that used the Exportable Script Editor web part as a starting point to display a simple list of links.

usefullinks

 

 

 

I hope you’ve found this little trick helpful and thank you for reading 😀