5 Ways to Build Small-Business Efficiency with Microsoft 365

by | Nov 9, 2021

Business productivity needs to be more than a buzz phrase today. Without technology supporting communications and process productivity, remaining competitive is difficult. You’ll lack the agility and mobility needed to succeed. This article explores many ways a small business gains efficiency using Microsoft 365.

You may already be aware of the core functionalities of Microsoft 365. These include:

  • a business email address and shared calendaring services;
  • online storage offering a shared space for collaboration and large personal storage space for each user account;
  • productivity apps to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations;
  • communication tools, including messaging and video conferencing;
  • security features, including two-factor authentication.

Having all these features in one solution is helpful. Not having to switch between different vendors’ apps can help your business:

  • save time;
  • simplify deployment;
  • cut tech support and IT management challenges;
  • budget consistently with one invoice for one solution.
  • Yet there are still more ways Microsoft 365 helps run a small business more efficiently.

#1 Automate Processes

Powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Microsoft 365 allows everyone to automate work processes. The solution allows users to quickly and securely automate the mundane and repetitive. All it takes is using low-code, drag-and-drop tools, or pre-built connectors.

Processing forms with automation can be a real time-saver. For example, you might use Power Automate to detect text in PDFs, which would then cue certain actions. A business spending hours scanning paper to digital could save a lot of effort this way.

#2 Enable Online Booking

Another tool to help save time, Microsoft Bookings promises “a simpler way to organize schedules and manage appointments.” A hair salon, financial services office, or home services business could all benefit. Bookings integrate appointment settings with Microsoft 365 or Office 365 calendars.

Customers appreciate the ease of finding available time slots, and you avoid double-booking. You can also specify information needed upfront or assign certain staff to different bookings.

#3 Streamline Chat

Everyone is accessible with Microsoft Teams. The software allows users to chat, call, or jump on video calls, all from one place. Teams also keep documents, chat history, and meeting notes in one place.

With the Microsoft Teams instant messenger program it’s easier to:

  • keep people focused;
  • reduce email clutter;
  • make decisions faster;
  • communicate and collaborate wherever you are.

The Teams Chat option also helps bring people together, even if they’re working remotely. GIFs, stickers, and emojis can help share personalities.

#4 Use Online Whiteboard

Touted as a “collaborative digital canvas,” Microsoft 365’s Whiteboard helps small businesses collaborate and brainstorm, wherever people work.

You might enjoy:

  • using a digital pen or text objects to add content;
  • adding sticky notes to convey ideas and provide feedback;
  • selecting and moving objects to organize tasks or ideas on the whiteboard;
  • highlighting and annotating;
  • creating diagrams and process flows with shapes, lines, and text;
  • uploading images to improve engagement.

#5 Amp up Data Analytics

Any small business can grow more data-driven with Power BI. The Business Intelligence tool enables business owners to find and share meaningful insights. Hundreds of data visualizations, built-in AI capabilities, and pre-built and custom connectors reduce analytical complexity. The Excel integration makes reporting smoother, too.

Making the Most of Microsoft 365

You can choose a cloud-based Microsoft 365 plan, or download and install the software on up to 15 devices per user … or both! You’ll soon see the benefits of doing your small business with the support of Microsoft 365.

Need help deciding if Microsoft 365 is right for you? Or want to learn how to use its features more efficiently? Our IT experts are available to answer your questions. Contact us today at 931-542-9327.

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