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Key Insights From Internal Communications Strategies With Microsoft 365 Virtual Certificate Series

Last month ALI Conferences had their Internal Communications Strategies With Microsoft 365: How To Maximize SharePoint, Teams, Viva & Copilot Virtual Certificate series these were some of the key takeaways and best practices we learned:

Managing Communications and Digital Workplace Challenges
Geoff Ables | C5 Insight discussed the complexities of managing internal and external communications in growing organizations. He emphasized the challenges of implementing new applications like Microsoft 365 and the need for intentional planning and continuous improvement. Geoff introduced his company, C5 Insight, which focuses on customer and employee engagement facilitated by Microsoft technologies. He stressed the importance of planning, the need for a clear digital vision and roadmap, the role of governance in ensuring a safe, secure, and easy-to-use digital workplace, and the significance of maintaining organization in a digital workplace. Geoff also discussed the importance of digital coaching, the role of surveys in understanding employee satisfaction, the concept of behavior mining, the importance of adaptability and engagement in learning and training, and the need for a platform for employees to share their profiles and personal stories. Towards the end, he highlighted the importance of having a maintenance plan for a digital workplace.

Project Management Tools and Techniques
Geoff discussed the importance of project management and the role of various tools like Microsoft To Do, Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint in managing different types of projects. He emphasized the features of Microsoft To Do and Planner, such as custom lists, shared tasks, user-friendliness, and integration capabilities. Geoff also highlighted the use of project management tools by non-project managers for managing projects within organizations. He demonstrated the use of a team and SharePoint project template, and discussed the potential of using Power Apps for project communications. Geoff also discussed the limitations of using Microsoft Planner and suggested considering other tools or creating custom apps with Power Apps to meet specific needs. He further discussed the forthcoming ‘Project for the Web’ and ‘Project Operations’ as potential tools for managing projects, particularly for organizations selling projects to clients. Geoff concluded by suggesting the necessity of creating different sites for each client and their respective projects to maintain security and avoid confusion.

Tools, Microsoft 365, and Project Management
Geoff proposed assigning tasks from the backlog to ensure team members meet their goals and introduced a tool he developed for time blocking. A panel discussion followed with Leah Gutstadt, Director of Internal Communications | Shutterfly Jessica Shirley, Manager, Internal Communications | UPMC Brailyn Watson, Internal Communications Manager | Inspirato Dayna Lovelady, Digital Communications & Collaboration Leader | CBN sharing their experiences with Microsoft 365. They discussed the importance of being open to different tools and solutions, with Jess emphasizing the learning curve involved. There was a discussion about the lack of a standardized tool for project management, leading to confusion and inefficiency. Leah expressed the need for a more explicit approach to tools and ways of working to facilitate better collaboration. The team also discussed the increasing use of technology in their work environments, with Leah highlighting the benefits of using the Town Hall functionality within Microsoft Teams.


These takeaways emphasize the importance of effective communication, strategic use of M365, and adaptability to drive collaboration and productivity within organizations.

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