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Pack your bags kids, we’re heading for the cloud! 

Moving your organisation to “the cloud” may be an unnerving thought. 

However,  loads of businesses are making this move and, let’s face it, it is integral to the future of your organisation. No really it is. Whatever the size, industry, or maturity of your organisation,  the cloud is the way forward, and here’s why. 

Why bother?

Well, it’s all about collaboration. Collaboration is essential to productivity within organisations; whether it’s carrying out a task, sharing knowledge or solving an issue, cloud platforms such as Office 365 provide organisations with the toolset to increase collaboration. 

This makes things much more efficient by bringing together siloed applications. These are a huge waste of time and resources. There’s transferring data, dealing with duplicated information and the huge data leakage risk caused by lack of governance.

Less time wasted, fewer resources required, and less risk means kerr-ching! There isn’t an organisation in the world which doesn’t benefit from saving money.

The benefits don’t end there. Diving deeper into Office 365 specifically documents can be collaborated on by multiple users at once regardless of their location. The “Share” function enables users to send document links via email without needing to open Outlook, removing the need for attachments which cause duplicated documents, increase storage and cause confusion over which is the latest copy of a document.

SharePoint, previously an on-premises only application, is now available as part of most Office 365 licensing plans. SharePoint is a powerful document management tool that can be used as a corporate document management solution. Its powerful search facility can be customised to your organisation to enable users to find information quickly and easily, eliminating time wasted navigating through complex folder hierarchies. As well as managing documents, it effortlessly integrates with Yammer, Planner and Flow, the new Microsoft workflow tool which offers pre-built integration with hundreds of external applications, such as Salesforce and SQL databases.

In the cloud storage and scalability are not your burden any more. In Office 365 it’s managed by Microsoft. With the site collection storage limit increased to 25TB and allowance for 500,000 SharePoint site collections or groups per tenancy Office 365 can be scaled to any size organisation, while you only pay for the storage space your organisation requires.

Think ahead

Sounds compelling already. Well consider this: It has been projected that by 2020 millennials will make up 50% of the global workforce, bringing with us new perspectives, ideas and innovations. This is crucial to the future success of organisations. Having grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media we expect flexibility in how we work and for information to be readily available, rather than being governed by rigid corporate structures and information silos. There is also an expectation for corporate tools to blend, in terms of functionality and usability, with the personal tools we all use in our day to day lives. The Office 365 toolset is available to users anywhere with internet on any device, it allows you to use both traditional and innovative ways of working so that your whole workforce gets to work their way, seamlessly. This makes flexible working and online collaboration much simpler. Integrated chat, planning, notetaking, emailing, scheduling and document management tools are all in one place.

Flexible working is a key factor in agile working and it’s proven to increase productivity, efficiency and effectiveness within organisations.

I’m in! What do I do?

For Office 365 there are a few ways you might do this:

  1. Store all newly created content in Office 365 and leave existing content where it is.
    Office 365 is then ready to use straight away, in a free for all, wild-west kind of way.
  2. Actually plan your information architecture* and governance framework. Then store all newly created content in Office 365 and leave existing content where it is.
    This will ensure all content created now and in the future, will be stored and managed correctly. However, having content stored in multiple repositories can be confusing and time consuming for users.
    *Information Architecture is the design framework that outlines how and where sites, lists, libraries, content types, metadata, workflows, permissions management, retention and archiving are used in your Office 365 solution. Without prior planning of an information architecture your Office 365 solution can quickly grow and become a repository of unstructured information that is hard to find. A good information architecture will allow for scalability to ensure it is functional now and in the future, whilst increasing efficiency using workflows and metadata to tailor the search experience.
  3. Plan your information architecture and governance framework, migrate existing content into Office 365 and store all newly created content in Office 365.
    Taking this approach will ensure all content is stored and managed correctly now and in the future, whilst also increasing awareness of information.

Option 3 is (obviously) our recommended approach as all existing and new content will reside in one place, enabling users to discover information easily and increase adoption, all the while ensuring the correct governance is in place. Whoopee!

Sounds tricky, can anyone help?

Funny you should say that! We specialise in helping clients with this sort of move. It can be anything from light-touch guidance to full scale management of a project. To kick things off we would take you through these steps:

1. Content Discovery

Understand where all your information is currently stored, what should be kept, what should be deleted, what should be archived and what should be migrated to Office 365.

2. Scope

Define which areas of the organisation are going to use Office 365, for which activities and what will be maintained in existing applications.

3. Information Architecture

Whether you are using OneDrive, Team Sites, Groups or Teams, SharePoint will the document repository. The many document management features available can make day to day content management more efficient and compliant, which is vital with standards such as GDPR coming into effect. At Intelogy, we analyse your data and capture your business requirements to build a solution that encapsulates these features so you get the most out of your Office 365 solution.

4. Streamlining Business Processes

Automating your business processes is one of the key things you can do to drive efficiency, collaboration and data-accuracy. At Intelogy we champion the use of a wonderful cloud tool called Nintex and we can show you how it best fits with your Office 365 solution.

Check out our website for more details on how we’ve helped customers using Office 365, Nintex and other cloud-based solutions.

Alternatively, just get in touch to discuss.

About the Author:

Liam Harrison
I'm a Solution Analyst and a Workflow lead at Intelogy. I’ve always been at ease with technology. My generation were the first to use the old BBC computers with the bright red f-keys at school. We also had a six-wheeled rover at school and you could program a route for it, this was my first real experience of automation. These days I spend my time bringing the value of automation to our customers and helping them get started in Office 365.