At this point, remote work isn’t just a common part of our lives. It’s essentially a ubiquitous one, thanks to the impact of the unexpected and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even businesses that hadn’t embraced telecommuting in the past were forced to confront this tech-driven future sooner than expected, which has led them to turn to a wide variety of different solutions in an attempt to meet their needs.
Two of the most common of these solutions are Microsoft Teams and Office 365 — software with proven track records that, to be fair, have been used by many people for quite some time. Unfortunately, they also bring with them certain gaps that many businesses are now having to deal with. Luckily, the right information management system can be an effective way to deal with every single one of them.
The Critical Gaps in Office 365 and Microsoft Teams:
To be clear, nobody is saying that Office 365 and Microsoft Teams aren’t viable solutions to address a lot of the challenges you’re facing in the COVID-19 era. It’s just that when used in a vacuum, they bring with them almost as many obstacles as they are designed to address in a lot of ways.
For starters, Microsoft Teams in particular is notorious for its muddled file structure, making it difficult to truly know where your data is stored. Internal one-to-one chat files may be hidden inside a user’s mailbox or accessible via eDiscovery. It’s hard to tell. Some files are accessible via OneDrive for Business, while others need to be accessed using SharePoint’s document library. It’s tough to keep everything straight sometimes.
Likewise, if they are not implemented smartly, both Office 365 and Teams can have duplicate file and version control issues that can affect collaboration. This almost instantly creates a situation where you’re facing increasing inefficiencies and missed opportunities from fragmented data that lives in multiple applications, none of which is being used to allow you to recognize the total value of your business.
But maybe the biggest challenge you’re likely to face has to do with information sprawl, or “content chaos,” as it is appropriately known. More often than not, data is scattered across multiple repositories from ERP to CRM, network folders, email inboxes, file-sharing applications and more. Employees spend so much time simply navigating from one system or application to another, desperately trying to find that file they need, that they’re not spending nearly as much time actually getting their work done.
The Power of Information Management
All of these gaps illustrate why the right information management solution has become no longer a recommendation, but a genuine requirement in the modern era. Not only is it designed to address these crucial concerns, but it’s also a viable way to solve a lot of the other challenges your business is facing in a remote work world, essentially all at the same time.
The most immediate advantage of an information management solution like M-Files is that it acts as a way to connect all of those various repositories together, allowing them to act as the cohesive whole you’ve always needed them to be. Every critical piece of data across your enterprise can be found in a centralized location that employees can use for more efficient access and management of documents. Finding files becomes easier than ever with the built-in search capabilities, too.
Not only that, but there is only ever one single version of a file to work from at any given moment — meaning that your concerns involving data duplication evaporate in an instant. Finally, there’s just a single point of truth that all employees can draw from, regardless of where they happen to be or what device they happen to be using.
Every single reference and link navigate to one version of the file stored within the information management system — empowering both communication and collaboration in one fell swoop.
But maybe the longest lasting advantage that the right information management solution can bring to the table has to do with the aforementioned data sprawl — or the decided lack thereof.
Finally, you’ll be able to enjoy a situation with absolutely NO sprawl to speak of since all documents can be searched within a single, consolidated system. Regardless of where those documents are stored — be it in an email inbox or on a file server or on a third party domain hosted somewhere in the world — users have access to the same version of a document at the exact same time.
This means they’ll spend less time searching for what they need to do their jobs and more time actually accomplishing those core tasks, which is maybe the most important advantage of all.
If you’d like to find out more information about how to effectively fill the gaps that exist in solutions like Microsoft Teams and Office 365 with a robust, holistic information management strategy, we’re happy to be a resource for you and your organization. Don’t hesitate to reach out.