Since 2017, Microsoft Teams has gradually become the hub for teamwork in Office 365. The guiding idea has been to provide teams with a single place to collaborate across chat, meetings, files and third party tools.

A challenge with Teams and Office 365, however, is that the usage still needs to be accelerated and better regulated for companies to be able to reach the full potential of the tools.

According to the AIIM 2017 eBook Information Management – Connecting & Optimizing Office 365, for 36% of customers, there are no policies or procedures for managing content in Office 365. And, 34% would still like to continue using file shares and network folders. 24% still view Office 365 as yet another silo, rather than a real opportunity to change the way they work.

Organizations are therefore not benefiting from what Office 365 at its best can offer: empowerment of employees, optimization of operations, more effective engagement of their customers, as well as the capability to even transform the product they produce or offer to customers.

The Issue with Sensitive Data

Office 365 is such an easy tool for daily document management and collaboration, that it easily gets out of hand, and beyond IT control.

According to the AIIM 2018 Industry Watch Office 365 Revolution Impact on Governance and Process Automation, on average, 46% of an organization’s sensitive documents — that is, documents containing personally identifiable information (PII) or documents needed for business, regulatory, legal, or intellectual property purposes — are contained in Office documents.

Organizations have heavy obligations to manage sensitive information properly and transparently, and they need to make sure that only the right people have access, when necessary. Yet, that is hard to do if such information resides in various Office Documents stored in several places. Who can even control the access rights for that data?

3 Tips for Efficient Document Management and Collaboration

I was talking to Laura Nurminen, our training and user engagement expert the other day, and she pointed out three important points to take into consideration when working with Teams and Office 365.

According to Laura, the key points are:

  1. The user should not need to think about document permissions.
  2. The user’s work should be simplified so that they can work in just one place in their daily tasks.
  3. All document management and team work should be trackable, efficient and in keeping with company guidelines.

So, let’s explore these a bit.

User Should not Need to Think about Document Management

It is not the end user’s job to think about document permissions. To work and collaborate effectively, they just need the rights tools and access to the right information at the right time. But they do not need the extra worry or work involved in matching user profiles with data.

Organizations and especially data protection officers (DPO) should define policies for adequate information protection and ensure that regulations such as GDPR are being followed. While it may be challenging for many organizations to define these policies, it is even more challenging to ensure that the policies are being followed.

The efficient solution comes with intelligent information management where users only need to describe the information they are storing with a few key metadata attributes. Text analytics and natural language understanding are emerging technologies that can suggest these metadata attributes based on the content of the documents and emails, and the access control settings can be automatically set based on metadata.

User’s Work Should be Simplified

What the end user should care about is their own job and responsibilities. And how to manage those efficiently. They don’t need any extra hassle finding the right document version or switching between different systems and content repositories to do their work.

Take a customer success manager for example. Their job at the end of the day is to ensure customer satisfaction and to do that, they need to have a holistic view of the customer implementation from documents and information stored in a variety of repositories and systems.

Intelligent information management takes care of this challenge by providing one single view to all relevant content, in the context of the user’s daily work. In this case, all customer-related data — whether it’s contacts, meeting notes, agreements, installation memos, or latest invoices — would be shown in the context of the customer in the Salesforce CRM UI.

And finally, the automatic workflows help follow up on tasks, deadlines, approvals, and so on. Plus, it provides an automated audit trail to content updates and version changes.

All Document Management and Team Work Should be Traceable, Efficient and in Keeping with Company Guidelines

From an IT admin’s viewpoint, it is important that user and access rights are managed efficiently. It is also important that the employees use the tools provided to them, and do not invent shadow IT solutions. The potential for security breaches is just too great.

It’s also important that information is stored and archived in appointed systems of record.

We all know that employees tend to get very creative when they need to get an important task done but don’t have the right or easy tools to do that.

Once again, intelligent information management helps solve this challenge. All user and access rights are metadata-based, and M-Files utilizes single sign-on through Azure AD. Due to the ease of use of the system, users are more willing to embrace the preferred way of working. As it is, they do not need to change the way they are used to working. All information is available in one view without migration. Yep. No migration — just access to all connected information from day 1!