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Smart Tools for Mississauga SMBs: Maximizing Productivity with Microsoft 365

VBS IT Services

Maximizing Productivity with Microsoft 365

With Mississauga approaching its eighth year of sitting in Canada’s top 20 best business locations, local organizations have more need than ever to secure a competitive edge. Enhancing productivity is one of the more cost-efficient means of achieving this, and for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the right IT tools can help pave the way. Microsoft 365 is one such tool, offering a suite of smart tools designed to improve workflows, streamline operations, and drive overall business growth. In today’s blog, we’ll delve into what these smart tools are, examine examples of their business benefits, and offer advice on selecting and integrating appropriate smart solutions without disrupting your operations. Let’s get moving!

So, What Are Microsoft 365’s “Smart Tools”?

As the name suggests, smart tools go beyond the standard offerings in Microsoft’s suite to provide more intelligent insights. Using machine learning and AI, these applications and features can be leveraged by SMBs to improve efficiency across their day-to-day routines. They’re designed to help businesses work smarter, not harder, by automating routine processes, enhancing collaboration, and providing actionable data insights without overstretching manpower.

For Mississauga-based SMBs, utilizing these smart tools (and a reputable IT service) can lead to significant productivity gains and a competitive edge in the market. Sounds exciting, right? Let’s take a closer look at how exactly local businesses could benefit from this emerging tech.

Smart Tools in Action

  1. Microsoft Teams

What It Is: You probably already know this one, but in case you’re unfamiliar, first of all, where were you during the pandemic? Microsoft Teams, more commonly referred to as just ‘Teams’, is a collaboration platform that integrates chat, video meetings, file storage, and app integration.

How It Improves Productivity: Teams enhance productivity by centralizing communication and collaboration on one user-friendly platform. This reduces the time spent switching between apps or learning multiple different interfaces, ensuring that all team members have straightforward access to who and what they need for their tasks.

Who It’s Best Suited For: Professional services like legal firms or marketing agencies that rely on seamless collaboration and swift communication would particularly benefit from introducing Teams.

  1. Power BI

What It Is: Power BI is a business analytics tool that allows you to visualize your data and share insights across your organization. It allows you to collate information from unrelated sources – files, webpages, PDFs, and databases – into coherent, immersive insights.

How It Improves Productivity: Power BI helps SMBs make data-driven decisions by transforming raw data into interactive dashboards and reports faster and more accurately than a human team could. This allows businesses to identify trends, monitor performance, and make informed decisions quickly without losing key resources to tedious chart-building tasks.

Who It’s Best Suited For: Mississauga-based manufacturing businesses that need to track production metrics and optimize operations based on real-time data but whose teams may not be expert analysts stand to gain valuable time by using Power BI.

  1. Microsoft Planner

What It Is: Microsoft Planner is a task management tool that helps teams organize work visually through boards, tasks, and deadlines. If, for example, a company devised a roadmap for their future tech landscape alongside their IT provider and wanted to help the whole team understand what changes lay ahead, they could create a board outlining which new tools would be introduced, when, and for whom.

How It Improves Productivity: Planner improves productivity by providing a clear visual overview of ongoing projects, helping teams stay on track and meet deadlines. It’s particularly useful for managing complex projects with multiple tasks and team members, or for the visual learners within your SMB.

Who It’s Best Suited For: Construction companies managing multiple projects and timelines could gain a simplified overview of their current and upcoming plans, helping them ensure all tasks are completed on schedule and flagging up any potential delays.

  1. Microsoft OneDrive

What It Is: OneDrive is a cloud storage service that allows you to store, sync, and share files securely and remotely, saving you physical on-site space that would otherwise be taken up by servers.

How It Improves Productivity: OneDrive elevates productivity by ensuring that all your files are accessible from any device, at any location with an internet connection. It also facilitates secure file sharing and collaboration, making it easier for teams to work together while safeguarding your confidential information.

Who It’s Best Suited For: Any SMB could benefit from OneDrive, but particularly those in remote or hybrid work environments, as it ensures seamless, unlimited access to documents and files.

Any of the above tools could enhance an SMB’s productivity, but you’re not here for simple enhancement; you want to know how to maximize your business’ output using smart tools, and that means figuring out which combination can best meet your specific needs.

How to Choose and Integrate the Perfect Smart Tools for Your Business

Selecting the right smart tools from Microsoft 365 and integrating them into your workflow can seem daunting, but with careful planning and support, it can be a pleasant – dare we say even enjoyable – process. To make the most of smart tools:

  • Assess Your Needs: Begin by identifying the unique challenges your business faces and the areas where you and your team feel productivity could be improved. This will help you determine which smart tools are most relevant to your needs.
  • Consult with an IT Expert: Once you’ve found your pain points, partnering with local IT support can provide valuable insights into which tools would be the best fit for your business. A Mississauga IT provider is sure to consider contextual factors when assessing your current systems and recommending the most effective solutions.
  • Start Small: Begin with one or two tools that address your most pressing needs. This allows your team to test the waters and see whether smart tools are the right move for your business at the current time. This approach enables your employees to adapt gradually without overwhelming them with too many changes at once.
  • Provide Training: Ensure that your staff are adequately trained to use the new tools. This can be facilitated through workshops, online tutorials, or assistance from an IT service like ours.
  • Monitor and Adjust: After implementing any new tools, continuously monitor their impact on your workflows. Gather feedback from your team and remember that it’s okay to make adjustments as needed to optimize their use – in fact, we’d highly encourage it. Maximizing productivity takes time and patience, but it’s well worth it for the pay-off.
  • Leverage Integration: Microsoft 365 tools are designed to work together seamlessly. Take advantage of this integration to create a cohesive and efficient workflow in place of a sub-optimal hodgepodge system. For example, you could use Microsoft Teams for communication, Planner for task management, and OneDrive for file storage to create a completely unified work environment.

Final Thoughts: Harness Smart Tools to Enhance Productivity

For Mississauga-based SMBs, Microsoft 365’s suite of smart tools provides an adaptable, cost-effective, and up-to-date means of staying competitive in the modern business landscape. By working in tandem with local IT support, you can expertly integrate these tools into your operations and reap the rewards before long.

VBS IT Services: Delivering Exceptional Outsourced IT Management and Technology Solutions to Businesses in Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill and Mississauga

To our clients in Mississauga and beyond, we’re more than an IT provider. VBS is a proactive technology partner that combines exceptional personal service with strategic solutions designed to move the needle for your business. We provide local SMBs with exceptional, secure technology that helps them thrive.

We’re proud to drive businesses across manufacturing, construction, retail, professional services, and more towards their full potential. Ready to discover how smart tools could maximize your business’s productivity? Get in touch for a free IT discovery session filled with expert insights