Despite the advantages of technology, many businesses still struggle to fully embrace it.
In an increasingly digital economy, barriers to digital strategy can prevent agility and stagnate growth.
According to recent research, 22% of businesses see ‘embracing technology’ as the biggest challenge they face as they grow.
The reasons for this include the perceived cost, time constraints, complexity, and lack of awareness. This is backed up in the Harvard Business Review which cites the ‘unknowns’ around adopting digital tools as a reason why digital strategy can be stalled but points out that “shying away from the process can be a far riskier path”.
We know technology can make a significant difference to your business and the wider economy…
…but it needs to be adopted at the highest level and championed by stakeholders and management, for its use to be prevalent across the business.
Powerful Tools at Your Disposal
The best place to start is to make the most of the tools you already use.
The chances are you’re already using Microsoft 365 (if not, you might be missing out.) It’s a staple software suite which includes universally popular applications like Word, Excel, Outlook and more recently, Teams.
We reckon there are features within 365 that, when adopted at the highest level, could kickstart digital transformation in your business and enable growth.
Here’s 3 things you may have missed.
Revolutionise Your Note Taking
One area of Microsoft 365 you may not have used is Microsoft’s own digital notebook, OneNote. It’s a strong contender in a crowded notes app market.
Maybe you’ve glanced at it and moved on, but it’s worth taking another look.
Not only can multiple notebooks be organised into sections and pages, but you can also search across all your notes, removing the need to go hunting through a load of paper.
To create a place to plan meetings, gather your thoughts and mastermind projects you’ll want to know how to create sections and pages.
To create a new notebook, click on your current notebook in the main navigation column to show more. At the bottom you’ll see ‘Add Notebook’. Alternatively, you can go to ‘File>New Notebook’. Either way it will take you to a brand-new notebook with a blank section and page.
To add a new one of these you should have ‘add section’ or ‘…page’ at the bottom of each column. You’ll be invited to name it when you open a new one, but you can always change this later. Remember, you can also change the colour of notebooks and sections.
This is a great way of organising your thoughts and keeping it ‘on the page’, not floating around in your mind.
Another great feature of OneNote is that everything automatically saves to the cloud, so you can sync notes across all your devices. Using the OneNote app on your phone means that anything you take down on the move, will be waiting for you, when you get back to the office, ready to be edited from your desktop or tablet.
Check out some more great tips in this article.
Improve Your Outlook
If you’re using Microsoft 365, you’re probably using Outlook, the popular email and calendar client.
It can be used as a simple email solution but there’s a lot more to it. There are a bunch of features that businesses everywhere are ignoring, to their detriment. Here’s a few suggestions from Microsoft themselves.
The main way to enhance your Outlook usage is by creating rules and using folders to your advantage, both of which will get you more organised now and in the future.
For emails relating to specific projects, from certain contacts or all those newsletters you’re definitely going to read later… you can create different rules to send them straight to a designated folder.
And for anything you find you’re not reading this will help sort out what to get rid of.
Automating the process of organising your inbox is bound to save you time and headspace.
To create your own rules, head to Rules>Manage Rules & Alerts>New Rule. At this point you can then edit your rule to match the desired outcome. There are more points on setting up rules in this great article.
Another great Outlook feature is the scheduling assistant. This is particularly refreshing as it integrates directly with your calendar and saves using any third-party apps to book meetings.
It can also be a way of letting other people know when you’re available, rather than having to deal with unnecessary admin and correspondence, going back and forth to rearrange meetings. Cut it all out by showing colleagues and prospects when you are available and letting them book the meeting.
Don’t email, just share
Microsoft 365 is a cloud platform. It’s made to be accessed over the internet and to enhance collaboration. So, you should make the most of that.
One of the main ways of using the cloud is by sharing documents you’re working on.
All the main programs within 365 give you the option to share documents directly with colleagues and collaborators. Collaborating on documents over the cloud is becoming more and more common and is a far more streamlined and simple process than emailing individual copies back and forth.
There’s no need for duplicate files to exist on your system, which saves space and reduces the likelihood of older or faulty versions being sent.
It just makes sense. It’s also super simple to use. In the ribbon of most apps there will be a Share button. From here you can choose to move the document to a shared folder in the cloud, send a copy directly via email to your chosen recipients or copy a link that you can share separately.
Here’s what it looks like in Word and Microsoft have explained the process in more detail.
Make digital transformation work for you
You might not need all of these features, but we picked these examples because we think they’re universally applicable.
When implemented at the highest level, the above points can become the norm for how everyone does things.
It might be a bit difficult at first but once you get used to it, the benefits will soon make themselves clear.