Like nothing else in the 21st century, Covid-19 proved that remote work is not only a commodity but a necessity. After the lockdown, many companies quickly realized there’s a gap in the way they collaborate, and handling everything via e-mail is not enough.
This is where Office 365, and especially Microsoft Teams (being a part of it) comes into play by offering teleconferencing, chats, team-based, and project-based collaboration. Since its launch, Microsoft Teams has experienced strong growth: from launch in 2017 with 13 million users to more than 75 million daily active users as of April 2020.
One of the things that make MS Teams increasingly popular is the fact it helps to gather unstructured collaboration into a single space. That alone significantly improves user experience, especially when remote work is a must.
At the same time, many companies quickly experience a need for improvement in the area of structured collaboration. In all of the cases where following policies, enforcing procedures, and executing business processes is needed. MS Teams wasn’t designed to handle it but it’s open for integration and this is where process-based low-code platforms come in.
Structured & unstructured together – recruitment process
Let’s take the recruitment process as an example. You open a vacancy and post a job offer on your website and various portals. The CVs are sent via e-mail. The process application captures all incoming e-mails with attachments. Proceeds with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to recognize key data from the CV and enters it into the electronic form.
Then the employees involved in the recruitment process, review the CVs, and schedule meetings with the most promising candidates. After each meeting, all relevant data, impressions, and candidate grading is available in the process application. At the same time, all of that is available through Microsoft Teams where hiring managers can discuss their impressions and insights about the candidates.
Therefore, the whole recruitment process can be supported by a powerful combination of structured activities (data collection, enforcing policies, following procedures) with unstructured activities (evaluation based on soft skills and human aspect), all within Microsoft Teams.
There are way more use cases for integrating Microsoft Teams with process-based applications that can effectively ensure proper results while being as user friendly as possible. Let’s consider one more.
Creative & methodical combined – case study creation
Imagine your company has finished a huge contract, the client is very satisfied with the results and you want the world to know. It’s a great reason to create a case study.
Creating such material is always a complex process. It requires a good story, statistics, graphics, quotes, etc. The whole case study needs to be put together, approved internally, and by the client. The complexity requires proper management of working on the case study and this is definitely where process application can help. At the same time, it requires a lot of creative work and loose collaboration on all of the details involved to achieve. This is where the combination of Teams and business applications comes in handy once more.
Let’s start with a request for case study creation handled via business application where the requestor needs to outline the main subject, the goal, and some of the ideas. Additionally, they assign tasks and specify who should be responsible for each part (writing a story, creating graphics, overall layout, etc.).
Based on that, a new MS Teams channel is created and all selected members added. They can discuss all of the details and make sure they have a cohesive vision of the project directly in Teams. Then, they report on the task completion, which makes it easier to track progress in real-time.
Once everything is prepared, the process continues within the business application. The case study goes through internal approval and is also approved by the client. The last part of the process is to make sure the case study is published in all desired media platforms (company website, PR portals, industry magazines, etc.).
The key to making sure the collaboration between employees is as effective as possible is to give them user-friendly tools that would allow them to combine different types of work-related activities. Microsoft Teams allows employees to work dynamically, quickly exchange ideas and opinions. At the same time, its openness for integration allows for putting the process into place, and ensure clear task assignment, status tracking, reporting, and much more.
Mariusz Szubelski Partner Channel Manager