Small mom & pop businesses and city governments with field workers stand to gain much more (and much faster) with Teams and Microsoft 365 than do larger organizations.
This is because they’re generally starting from a less advanced technical state (higher percentage of improvement potential)…and because they can pivot so quickly, given their lack of a bureaucracy.
How can small businesses with field workers get fast improvement?
Most small organizations with field workers handle information needs in old-fashioned ways. They still use carbon copy forms on clipboards, the field workers either call in information for office workers to type in, or they themselves complete paperwork when they return to the office.
Regardless, their methods are generally laborious and full of duplication and the information is not easily managed once entered electronically.
With Teams and Microsoft 365, the field workers can tap once on their phones or iPads and then complete a simple web form to record whatever information that needs to be documented.
One tap to enter work order completion information. One tap to enter supplies or tools needed into a central shopping or supplies list. One tap to complete an assigned task on a central task list. You get the picture.
Moreover, this frees up the office staff to do other high-value work, such as helping current customers, selling to potential new customers, updating the company’s social media, or any of a number of other productive tasks that move the business forward.
In today’s tight labor market, it might even mean putting off hiring additional office staff.
The information entered into those simple forms on the mobile devices becomes part of a centralized “spreadsheet” that can then be used in unlimited ways, such as being displayed on the business owner’s personal web dashboard that aggregates all his/her most important business information. This guarantees the owner is always up to date with real-time data and is able to make business decisions more quickly and intervene when there are issues.
It also creates a structured work or information history/repository that can be easily searched and referenced in the future.
If a small business or city government is currently paying handsomely for a third-party application, it also means they can possibly eliminate that software expense by using the Microsoft 365 platform they are already paying for.
While all this sounds complex to set up, it isn’t. Microsoft recognized a need for simple solutions and developed this latest business platform. Teams and Microsoft 365 are not your father’s Microsoft Office products. To treat them as such is missing a golden opportunity.
Caution: While your MSP or IT person can certainly learn how to build solutions, they are usually not well-versed in the business process side of leveraging 365. They can often provide or acquire decent generalized training, but businesses need customization and specific process improvements. (Well-designed solutions require very little end-user training!)
Implementation that begins with training rather than business analysis and customization is always doomed from the beginning.
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