productivity tools

Do More with Microsoft Forms

Do More with Microsoft Forms 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Most people are familiar with their Microsoft 365 subscription providing Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint. Those are the familiar options. But Microsoft is always evolving its cloud-based services. Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace integrating people, content, and tools. There’s also a Planner, To-Do application, Flow for managing notifications, and Power Bi Pro analytics. That’s to name just a few.

Another good one to get comfortable with is Microsoft Forms.

Microsoft 365 Forms Makes Data Collection Easier

Microsoft Forms allows your business to create surveys, generate quizzes, conduct polls, and capture data.

This easy-to-use application simplifies form creation: you simply select “New Form” or “New Quiz,” input the form details, add images if you want them, and you’re ready to go. You can click and drag to choose your question types from multiple choice, text, rating, or date options.

Ready-made themes allow you to pick different colours or graphics to personalize your survey. Before you go live, you can also preview and test your survey. You can even share with a colleague to collaborate on the survey design.

It’s that easy. In a few minutes you can create the tool you need to:

  • collect employee input;
  • measure customer satisfaction;
  • poll your team about how they feel about returning back to the office;
  • quiz employees doing virtual learning.

Once you have your finished link, you can paste it into an email, post it on social media, or put it on your website. You can also generate a QR code for mobile device use.

Get Results with Microsoft Forms

OK, you’ve shared your new survey, and the responses are raining down on you! There’s a dashboard for that. You can track the number of responses and average completion time. Plus, you can drill down into particular question data.

For any question, you can display your results in charts or graphs for that PowerPoint.

Since this is part of the Microsoft suite, Forms integrates with Excel, too. You can import the data there to leverage the full power of Excel’s analysis tools.

If you want to get even more advanced, upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Voice. Formerly Microsoft Forms Pro, this application helps you gather real-time customer feedback.

There are plenty of survey tools available online today. SoGoSurvey, SurveyMonkey, or TypeForm are top examples, but free versions can limit the number of questions or respondents surveyed.

Microsoft Forms integrates with other Microsoft 365 tools in your subscription. For quick intake or call center satisfaction, Forms is an intuitive application. It’s easy to keep in touch with customers and employees.

You can do more with Microsoft 365. We can help. Our IT experts get to know your technology and business needs, then we’ll identify the Microsoft 365 tools that can simplify the work you do. Contact us today!

Sharepoint tips

What is SharePoint?

What is SharePoint? 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Mobile, remote workforces still need tools to share and collaborate with one another. Business teams want to work together and get the job done efficiently. Microsoft SharePoint helps make that happen.

SharePoint can be used in practically any business, and its new features even allow using it as a file server replacement, provided it is set up correctly.

If you’re subscribing to one of Microsoft 365’s business plans, you already have access. SharePoint is Microsoft’s document management and collaboration tool. Users, wherever they are, connect to SharePoint through their own browser. SharePoint streamlines the process of tracking workflow and documents. But that’s not all that the platform offers.

SharePoint Core Features

Businesses gain several benefits from using SharePoint.

Collaboration. Now, you can store documents in a folder on a server. SharePoint lets you create workflows, see document history, track file access, and more.

Organization. SharePoint greets users with a screen that shows:

  • what they interact with most frequently;
  • sites that they are following;
  • featured links;
  • a search bar

Having recent activity and access to important links and relevant sites as the entry point to the platform can help keep your people productive.

Within SharePoint sites, you can also create lists to collect items. This might be announcements, contacts, links, or a task list.

Integration. SharePoint works with Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and more. A team might create a shared notebook to keep information in one place and evolve as projects do.

Create community. SharePoint websites are a centralized location for teams to find what they need. Human resources might set up a site with its updates and important forms. This allows everyone to quickly find the information they need.

Version control. Don’t worry about emailing documents to various team members for input. A SharePoint document becomes the single source for the one, current document.

Search. Advanced search capabilities make it easy to look across a site library. Or users can search content in all SharePoint sites they can access. Avoid decentralization where assets are spread over employee PCs or different department siloes.

Data insights. Keeping all business data in one place makes it easier to review. Determine what’s being used or who is accessing what to identify trends. Site admins, owners, and members can track number of views, popular items, how many times people interact with the site, and more.

Share news. Keep teams engaged and informed using the News feature. Users post updates, or share reports and documents in the newsfeed section of the website.

Mobility. Users can upload files and access them from anywhere. SharePoint works with Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox browsers. There’s even a mobile app to let people remain connected from their mobile devices.

Why SharePoint?

SharePoint bundles many features together in a dedicated platform suiting different industries. Replace inefficient, paper-based processes with a centralized, online repository of documents. This can help with accountability and limit business bottlenecks.

SharePoint helps you build personal, team, project, customer, and/or vendor-facing websites. Avoid unwieldy email threads or confusing conference calls. Chat online and track edits in SharePoint.

You can also automate business processes. SharePoint allows you to create intelligent workflows for simple tasks. For example, you can streamline processes, with SharePoint automatically sending files for approval. Once done, you’re notified the review is complete.

Success with SharePoint

You’ll need to establish an implementation strategy, and also train employee to understand SharePoint’s value. Know that businesses lacking IT resources struggle to customize features and build automated workflows.

Our IT experts can determine the SharePoint service model that’s best for you. We can help integrate SharePoint and add customizations where they can help you. Contact us today to see if SharePoint can help your business.

DROPBOX-SMARTSYNC-GREENTLIGHT

What is Dropbox smart sync and what can it do for me?

What is Dropbox smart sync and what can it do for me? 1280 500 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

It wasn’t that long ago that the office was the only place to access your company files, projects and see progress on collaborative documents. Then, mobile changed everything, and the only obstacle to working remotely was having access to this data. With the advent of cloud computing, what may have been deemed impossible only a few short years ago is now quite common. Having your files synchronized and available to access, edit and share at anytime, and on any device – that’s what it’s all about.

An essential tool with many features and benefits

Dropbox has become an essential tool for most people, and not just remote workers. Being able to work on a file at the office, and then later, work on it some more at home, not only saves time but allows you to act when inspiration strikes. Simply save to Dropbox, and you’ve made it available for yourself or other team members to access at any time.

The solution everyone want’s but hasn’t been available until now is:

  • accessing all the company files from anywhere without having to use a cumbersome and slow VPN.
  • Have all the company files they need on the local machine without filling up the hard disk.
  • Being able to collaborate with co-workers on documents without having to move files around or constantly send attachments.

Who is Dropbox Smart sync for?

Dropbox smart sync is designed to meet the modern business demands. So how does Smart sync help? In a nut shell you can see all files on your laptop or desktop no mater how many files there are or how limited your hard drive space is. As you open files they are synced to your computer on demand. Frequent folders and files are kept on your computer ready for offline access or imitate access no VPN, moving files from your desktop and back to the corporate drive or email attachments required.

Dropbox Smart Sync and other business features

Full Visibility: Each user can see all files they have access to.

Offline access: frequently used folders and files are ready when you need them.

Data encryption: files are encrypted in transit so that they can’t be accessed by any unauthorized source.

LAN syncing: enabling LAN sync allows you to increase the speed at which your files sync as long as you are connect to the local network. This can represent a dramatic difference in upload times, and great if you are syncing rich media files.

Access and restore deleted files: another great feature, especially if you are working in teams, is that if you or another person accidentally deletes a file, it is still accessible for up to 30 days.

File collaboration with Microsoft applications: Dropbox allows you to collaborate on Microsoft office files in real-time, always updating to the most recent version. Other file types don’t have the real-time feature, which may present a problem if two people are trying to work on a file at the same time.

Greenlight ITC: Sydney and Melbourne IT support

If you are looking IT solutions in Melbourne or Sydney, call Greenlight ITC today. We have been serving businesses in Australia for well over a decade, providing certified expertise that our clients have come to depend on. If you have any questions about Dropbox for business, or Dropbox smart sync, and how they can help you engage your workforce and boost productivity, call us today. We’d love to find out more about you, and talk about how we can help.

Team Collaboration with Yammer

Team Collaboration with Yammer 930 633 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Have you ever dreamt about having a completely self-contained social media platform, just for your company? A place online where your workforce could connect, collaborate, and share ideas? If you’re an Office365 user, you already have the capability in the form of Yammer – Microsoft’s social platform dedicated to helping workgroups hit their stride through enhanced productivity and connectivity.

Yammer Features at a Glance

Yammer offers several useful features, helping your workgroups connect over projects and ideas. In the past, it may have been difficult to coordinate complex tasks across your entire organization, whether they operated out of the same location or not. By implementing Yammer, you now have the ability to coordinate workgroups no matter where they are located, simply by integrating Yammer into your workflow. It works seamlessly with all of the Office applications you know and love, allowing users to share documents easily while staying connected to the latest versions, no matter how many people are contributing to it.

Groups

Create groups to work on specific projects, and have a dedicated space for conversations, documents, images, communication, and ideas related to the group. Private, secure groups can also be created, which is very useful when dealing with sensitive information. As of March 2017, Yammer is fully integrated with Office 365 Groups. This means that when you create a group in Yammer, it will be assigned a OneNote notebook, a SharePoint team site, a task planner, and dedicated online document storage. Your Yammer group will automatically be added to your 365 Groups service. Some features have yet to be rolled out, but you can soon look forward to an Outlook Calendar integration, and enhanced connectivity with SharePoint and Planner.

External Groups

If you are working with outside vendors or contractors who aren’t normally a part of your network, you have the ability to add them to your Yammer group as well. External groups are perfect for creating a sense of community around a project, an event, or a product that pulls in individuals from outside your organization.

Search

Whether you are looking for a particular conversation, a piece of content or a person, you can find it easily through Yammer’s smart search engine. Yammer delivers search results based on your interests, interactions, and activities on the platform.

Notifications

Receive instant push notifications as soon as a colleague responds or contributes to your project. Notifications can be configured according to your priorities, making sure you receive notice of important updates as soon as they become available.

Newsfeed

Get a snapshot view of what everybody in your company is up to in your Discovery Feed. Yammer delivers items from people, groups and discussions that may be of interest to you.

Microsoft Office Document Integration

Share, preview, edit, and co-author documents in any Office application within Yammer. New versions are saved automatically, and updates can be viewed and approved instantly by your colleagues.

More Nifty Features

Outside Application Integrations

Aside from the expected allocation of other Microsoft Office apps, Yammer connects to several popular apps, including SharePoint, Trello, RSS, Slack, Twitter, Google Calendar, Box, Asana, WordPress, Dropbox, Evernote, and many more. This will allow you to move from one platform to another with relative ease, and pull in conversations and documents as needed.

Create Polls

The poll tool allows you to crowdsource information from your workgroups, your company, any group or individuals that you are connected to within the Yammer environment.

Cloud Connectivity

Yammer can be deployed and accessed through any browser, and on any device.

Rich Mobile Experience

Download the Yammer app to your iOS, Android or Windows smartphone, and access your conversations anywhere. Mobile Yammer also allows you to take and share photographs, as well as mark up and comment on your photos with your finger. Connect your OneDrive or Dropbox accounts to access document sharing and editing features right on your phone. Additionally, you can connect instantly with your Yammer contacts with just a few taps.

Stand-alone or Office 365 Integrated

Yammer is a flexible social networking solution that is designed with the Office 365 user in mind, however, it can also be used as a stand-alone platform. It has a look and feel that is similar to popular social platforms like Facebook and Google+, which makes it easy to understand for most users. It comes standard with Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium subscriptions, but the free version is available to anybody. As easy to get started as it is to use, Yammer could well be your organization’s new meeting room.

Yammer: Team Collaboration Gets Social

Yammer is the perfect partner to the Office 365 suite, providing a centralized social platform with which to connect your workforce and encourage collaboration. For businesses of any size, from SMBs to enterprise, Yammer provides your team with a fast, easy and smart way to collaborate. To get started with Yammer, call Greenlight ITC today. One of our team members would be happy to walk you through the benefits of Microsoft Office 365 and help you discover the great things you can accomplish with it.

Delete This: Are Inbox Zero Systems Worth It?

Delete This: Are Inbox Zero Systems Worth It? 150 150 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

getting-to-inbox-zero

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself hating email. Email was designed to allow for quick and efficient communication, but has actually become a bottleneck—an ever expanding monster that swallows up your time. Well you know what? It’s time to put on our suits of shining white armour and slay the email dragon together.

Think back to how you feel when you look at your inbox. Remember that dreadful feeling you get when you see 50, 100, 200 emails stacking up for you to action? Worst of all, those are just the unread emails. There’s often a whole backlog of emails that you glanced at and told yourself you’d address later.

Well, now is later, and they’re still there—with more on the way.

A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute and Data Corp. found that email is the second-most time-consuming activity for workers, next to “role-specific tasks”. McKinsey also found that introducing social networking tools in business increased the productivity of workers by 20 to 25 per cent.

Bear in mind that these tools aren’t referring to tools like Facebook or Twitter, but business social network tools such as Yammer, MangoApps and Jive, to name a few. While these are geared predominantly toward large corporates, tools such as Google Docs or Dropbox can be decent substitutes for smaller businesses. But let’s get back to email.

I’ve personally looked at dozens of different inbox zero products and systems from ‘time management experts’ who I’m sure had the greatest intentions in the world, and probably made enough money to fill an Olympic swimming pool. What these solutions offered though was often as time-consuming as just dealing with the emails themselves.

So what can we do about it? I certainly don’t have all the ans wers. In fact, I have 390 emails staring at me from my inbox right now that I let stack up—in just four weeks—due to being too ‘busy’ to deal with them. I’ll try to keep these tips short, as we both have emails to get back to:

1. Be Selective – cloud products such as Gmail have given us virtually unlimited storage. This can be great for paper trails, but how often do you actually need to reach into that ever-expanding heap of emails? My guess is rarely, if at all.

Emails are a communication medium. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have thousands of short text messages saved on my phone, and I’m pretty happy about that.

If an email contains something TRULY important that you want to store indefinitely:

  • Gmail – Archive it
  • Outlook – Store it in an offline personal folder
  • In both cases, Label or Categorise it if it makes life easier.

It’s easy to archive emails—just make sure you enforce a little bit of self-discipline and only archive emails you know you will need. Giving it this bit of extra thought is valuable in itself, helping you to minimise ‘skimming’ and assess the value of the email.

2. Go Offline – part of why we struggle with getting rid of those pesky emails is the fact there are more coming in every day, hour, minute— just knowing you have hundreds or thousands of emails is subconscious baggage that can stifle not only your productivity, but your creativity.

Set aside some time every day to go offline and deal with your emails, and let nothing or nobody distract you. Remember the acronym “ADD”. You should aim to either:

  • Action It – if a response is required, send it and then delete the email. You will have a copy saved in your Sent Items that will contain the conversation for future reference
  • Delegate It – if an action is required, but you can’t or don’t want to action it, simply delegate it and delete it. Try not to dwell on it, or tell yourself you will come back to it
  • Delete It – if there is no action required from you, trash the email. If you need a piece of in information for future reference, follow step 1 above or simply jot down what you need in a tool like Evernote.


3. Extend Your Out of Office – next time you are out of the office on holiday or off the radar for whatever reason, set your ‘date due back’ one day longer than you will be gone.

It’s hard enough actioning, delegating and deleting emails we received while away without having to deal with the flood of emails you’ll get when people know you’re back. Don’t worry, it’s our little secret!
4. Work Backwards – part of what makes email stacks so hard to whittle down is the fact they are always building on emails that are weeks, months and years old.

Next time you set aside time offline to deal with your inbox, sort your emails in reverse chronological order—dealing with the oldest emails first. Apply the same ADD method we looked at above, and set a maximum of two minutes to deal with any single email.

Try it—self imposing a time constraint can work wonders on your productivity. You may even uncover tasks that fell off your to-do lists.


5. Email Night
– I’m not a huge advocate about working overtime unless it’s necessary. I like to work effectively so that I can enjoy my down time with the people I care about. We both know this sometimes just isn’t possible. But we can tackle it together if we get organised.

If you find you and your partner checking your smart phones instead of spending quality time together, alarm bells should be ringing. ‘Family time’ or even just time with your close friends is important—I don’t mean to sound macabre, but one of the biggest regrets men have on their death bed is having worked too hard. These days, I’m fairly confident this worry is also on the minds of many women.

Set aside one night a week to dedicate yourself to working ‘overtime’—you may be surprised at how most families will have no problem, simply because it’s ‘in the calendar’, freeing up your attention the rest of the week. It’s far better to be unavailable one day a week, than ‘flaky’ seven nights a week.


6. Learn to Let Go
– it’s so easy to send emails quickly and to multiple people that we often do it unnecessarily. The temptation to share your opinion on everything is admittedly great, sometimes it’s better to simply hold that thought and get back to work. If somebody truly wants your opinion on something, they will ask you directly.

I like my tennis as much as the next guy, but back and forth emails can really grind my gears. If you feel it is truly important, simply set yourself a task to address that issue face to face or on the phone.


7. Be Proactive, Not Reactive
– coincidentally, this is also our Managed IT Support mantra, and can apply to time management with emails.

WARNING: This method can be extremely effective, but does not sit well with everyone—probably because we are all closet email addicts.

This is how it works: set an Out of Office message letting people know that you routinely check your emails once in the morning, and once in the late afternoon. Also state that if the matter is time sensitive, they should call you on your mobile phone or landline.

The two most important things to remember about the above is that you need to be SPECIFIC in terms of the times you do check your emails and then COMMIT to setting that time aside to action all emails using the ADD principle.

I actually learned about (part of) this method from Tim Ferriss, an entrepreneur and TED Speaker who is self-admittedly obsessed with learning and improving systems. While it may make you flinch to think about using this method, it does make a lot of sense—emails can easily be overlooked, and if something truly is urgent, we should just pick up the darn phone.

 

Hopefully we paved the way toward nearing the mythical inbox zero. If you have any tips of your own to share, we’d love to hear them– just share them in the comments below.