Microsoft's Office 365 cloud has all the tools a compliance consultant needs to help you work more efficiently and productively.
We've picked 4 of our favourites to give you a quick insight into how using Office 365 can improve your business, both internally and in collaboration with your clients.
tip number 1
Did you know Microsoft 365 makes a great client extranet for consultants?
One of the key interactions a compliance consultancy firm has with its clients is the constant creation and reviewing of client documents and the interaction with the client to finalise and agree the documents.
Undertaking this process using email is cumbersome, prone to error and can lead to privacy and security breaches. What do I mean by this exactly?
For those consultants using Microsoft 365, you can easily turn this into a secure extranet with your clients, where both parties can upload, share documents and work on them together, without the document ever leaving the "source" environment. Microsoft 365 will even version control and audit every change, so it is easy to track who has amended a document and when, or if you need to, you can recover an accidentally overwritten version.
Clean, simple and secure exchanging of information with your clients. If you use Microsoft 365, you already have what you need to do this today.
tip number 2
You can use Microsoft Teams to share, discuss and reply to client emails
One of the perennial problems a team of consultants faces is ensuring everyone has visibility of key emails and interactions between clients, especially when a consultant is on holiday and a colleague has to cover for them.
Our approach using Microsoft 365 - we create a Microsoft Team for each client.
Not only is this a great environment to create and share documents, but each Team has its own email address that enables us to forward and reply to client emails, providing other members of the team with full visibility of the interaction. Better still, once we have forwarded the email to Teams we can internally have a quick and easy discussion without the need to send the email to everyone and then wait for their response. Even the discussion is visible to colleagues and auditable.
Microsoft Teams provides a clean, simple and secure way of storing, sharing, discussing and responding to client emails - whilst helping to keep unnecessary clutter out of everyone's inbox.
tip number 3
Maintain oversight of all client service activities
How do you keep visibility over who's working on which clients and which client service activities are running late?
Microsoft 365 has an easy to use and configure "events" feature that enables you to create and schedule client events and activities, which can then be allocated to the appropriate consultants.
Using Microsoft 365 gives you a quick, simple solution to increase visibility, management and oversight of this critical part of the service you provide to your clients.
tip number 4
Simplify the management and communication of regulatory news and information
The amount of regulatory change information that a consultancy must manage is forever increasing. What is worse, is that the activity is often duplicated across all consultants, who each keep and maintain their own set of records.
This is not a result of some sort of hubris, but because the central storage area for such information is often unavailable or makes it impossible to find information. Add to this the need to save and store documents multiple times because they logically apply to different regulations (or different folder structures) and it is easy to see how much wasted time this duplication of work costs a consultancy.
Microsoft 365 provides clean, simple and easy to use document repositories that all consultants will use and benefit from.
Author: Chris Kaye
Microsoft Planner is a great tool.
But, for those of us that would like to create a template plan that can be reused across project or client teams then it is painful.
However, a recent Planner update now enables you to take any plan and to create a copy. For those in the know, this also creates a new Office 365 Group.
OK, that's a good start.
But, I still cannot go to an existing or new Team and import that plan as a template. Microsoft say they are working on this, but as usual there is no commitment on delivery date. The only way to currently create a new client or project Team using a “template plan” is as follows.
Beware, this needs some careful coordination and planning!
A somewhat painful exercise, but it does achieve the desired outcome. We really need Microsoft to provide a better way to achieve this.
You might be thinking that in Teams you have the option to create a Team from an existing Team, so perhaps I create a template Team, with my Planner and default tabs and then use that when creating a new Team.
Well, guess what, although your Planner tab appears in the new Team, there is no Planner behind it, and you have to start from scratch.
If you want to follow Microsoft’s progress with template plans, or post your own comment to them, then go here and vote:
Author: Chris Kaye