Tim Coalson is a Senior Consultant in the Transformation Practice at ThreeWill. Tim has been developing solutions on the SharePoint platform for over 15 years and has been a developer/consultant for over 30 years. Tim has been involved in migrating SharePoint on-premises farms to the Microsoft Cloud, Power Apps, and Power Automate (aka Flow) which are part of the Microsoft no code/low code solutions.
How to Get The Most Out Of Your Microsoft 365 Subscription.
A Microsoft 365 Subscription (M365) comes bundled with lots of services. There are probably few people who could begin to name them all, much less understand the benefits of each. How can I start to get a handle on all of the services that are available to me? The challenge is understanding each service enough to know which is best for what task and how they best work together. To make the challenge even more difficult, new features and enhancements are rolled out regularly in the cloud. What is the best way to do something today may not be the best way to do it tomorrow.
So, how do I get the most of my M365 subscription?
While the answer to this question is not simple, I’d like to suggest a process that, if consistently followed, should help your organization be more effective. First, know which features and updates are being deployed and when they are being deployed. Be an early adopter to test out the functionality, provide instruction to others to help with adoption, and be intentional.
Know What and When
Understanding what changes are being rolled out in the cloud requires some due diligence. Fortunately, Microsoft provides some resources to give you this information. The Microsoft 365 Roadmap site is a great place to start. There are several different filters available to focus on the products and time-frames that concern you the most. Use this resource to know which features and updates are being deployed and when.
Be An Early Adopter
While most organizations will generally want to use the standard release of new functionality that has been tested by the Target Release tenant and users, specific power users in your organization/tenant can be configured for Target Release so they have early access to new features. This allows them to test out the new features and evaluate the impact when they roll out to the organization in the Standard Release.
Now that you have people in your organization who are familiar with the upcoming features, appropriate training can be shared with everyone in your organization. At ThreeWill, we have a 15-minute meeting each week where we can be given a live demo of new capabilities. For larger organizations, this may not be practical, so individual power users may train a smaller group of their peers. Or, create short training videos that might be sent out to the organization to view at their convenience. A combination of these is probably ideal as repetition can be important for learning.
Learning/Education does not often happen without it being intentional. Someone in your organization or a group of people in your organization must have this as a responsibility. Or this should be outsourced to a company that can help provide this service. Having a great set of tools and not knowing how to best use them can be both costly and frustrating. It also could possibly create some security concerns when it comes to dealing with external users. One resource I would recommend is Matt Wade. I think he does a good job of explaining each service and also comparing and contrasting ones that might have overlapping functionality. Check out Matt’s blog here. And check out his video here where he provides a quick overview of each service.
So, be proactive in making sure your organization gets the most out of your Microsoft 365 subscription. Let us know if ThreeWill can help.