Three Ways to Boost Your Microsoft 365 Investment

Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) is the undisputed leader in the digital productivity market, with more than 80 percent of the global share in productivity software. Familiar names like Excel, SharePoint, OneDrive, Word, and PowerPoint are hard-baked into the everyday foundations of most any office.

While M365 offers a wide array of powerful productivity tools that are easy to use, the very best benefits of the suite can also create problems down the road.

As Microsoft 365 tools continue to improve and become even easier to use, the challenge to effectively and efficiently manage the resulting output can paradoxically create new productivity challenges. The risks of document sprawl, siloed information, and compliance gaps only grow as it becomes easier for any knowledge worker to quickly create, duplicate, and share content.

Forward-thinking organizations can leverage the power of a metadata-driven document management platform to augment the power of M365, secure information processes, and ensure compliance without sacrificing the productivity benefits of the overall Microsoft 365 investment. Here’s how:

Taming information chaos

As organizations grow, information grows. As information grows, information sprawls. The result? Knowledge workers often struggle to find the right information in an ocean of data spread across disconnected data repositories, including SharePoint and OneDrive, as well as non-Microsoft systems.

An astounding 56 percent of surveyed organizations say their document management systems don’t connect with other systems in place.
While Microsoft provides powerful data storage and management tools, M365 doesn’t include an out-of-the-box plan or policy mapping how information is managed. Documents get duplicated, version control fails, and access management can’t adjust to the chaotic change. Knowledge workers waste time finding the right information, get frustrated, and “re-invent the wheel,” with their own storage schemes, leading to poor productivity.

To tame the information chaos, a top-of-class, metadata-driven document management platform can connect Microsoft and non-Microsoft systems to create a single source of truth over enterprise data. Such a platform can deploy search capabilities to help find information based on what it is rather than where it is, as well as enabling control over document access, versions, publishing, and distribution.

Embrace automation to fight data frustration

Nearly 8 in 10 workers surveyed report they’ve recreated documents which already existed because they were unable to find it on their corporate network. When information management strategy relies on manual processes and employee diligence, errors happen, costs rise, and everyone gets more stressed and frustrated.

Because Microsoft 365 lacks automated rules on how to name files or where to store them, content can easily “go dark,” slip through the cracks or wind up on a team members local or even personal device. When documents aren’t automatically connected to business data or processes, business processes must be tracked manually, wasting time and money.

An intelligent document management platform connects documents to business data to drive improved daily workflows and processes and guides users when creating new content or filing existing documents.

Details like file naming, permissions, or the next document reviewer can be automated, while workflows, views, tasks, and notifications help keep daily work organized.

Ensure compliance with access controls

Data compliance controls are no longer a “nice-to-have” across the business landscape—they are a “must-have.” Despite its many productivity strengths, Microsoft 365 does not include out-of-the-box compliance tools. For many organizations, this means access control —a key aspect of compliance management—can become cumbersome and difficult to keep up to date.

Following policies and procedures requires extra work and relies on employee diligence, and, as we’ve seen, such manual processes inevitably lead to errors. In the world of compliance, errors can not only cost lost hours and revenue, but can also result in huge fines.
Without a document management strategy in place, audit trails can break with access control issues and document duplication. The bottom line: Compliance doesn’t follow the speed of business and audits create unnecessary workloads.

By deploying a metadata-driven document management platform, organizations can reduce business risk and ensure compliance by automating access controls to follow the rhythm and rules of all internal and external rules. Industry, standard, and regulatory compliance controls are embedded into daily work as automated workflows seamlessly gather and retain compliance evidence. As a bonus, each content access and edit event creates an electronic audit trail.

Maximizing the Microsoft Advantage

As Microsoft 365 is undoubtedly poised to continue its reign as the GOAT office productivity tool, organizations need to constantly keep up with innovative ways to complement the strengths of M365. A metadata-driven document management platform, like M-Files, integrates into Microsoft 365 and acts as the single point of access for all enterprise data. Team members can find, access, and manage all connected data, regardless of its repository through Microsoft user interfaces.

With M-Files, Microsoft 365 users can:

• Add information governance over documents accessed from Teams
• Connect Outlook emails and attachments with clients and projects
• Organize information across multiple SharePoint sites and search with business relevant criteria.
• Access and use information from non-Microsoft repositories directly in Teams, Outlook, SharePoint, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.