Too Many Tools in the Toolbox | Why governance matters for productivity

One of the best things about Microsoft 365 is its impressive stack of tools. With more than 30 tools available—many offering similar or overlapping capabilities—it often leaves your team pondering which tool is right for the job. Add in additional digital resources and third-party apps, and your team has a serious case of Decidiphobia.  

Let’s look at a few examples of similar tools in the Microsoft stack that might cause some confusion. 

Teams or Yammer?

In most cases, this is not a matter of ‘or’, rather ‘when’ and ‘how.’ Teams and Yammer work well together, and many organizations use both successfully. The truth is they each have their purpose. At the risk of oversimplification, Teams focuses on collaboration between colleagues working on projects, while Yammer is more about disseminating information and social engagement; essentially, it’s Collaboration vs. Communication. Of course, this is a very rudimentary description. While each tool clearly has its own focus, both have features that could be considered ‘overlapping,’ making it crucial that your organization define how you expect your team to use each tool.  


OneNote, Evernote, Wikis, White Board,  Teams Meeting Notes, OH MY! 

With so many great tools to help you take notes, you can see how difficult it might be for your team to decide which one is right for the job.  


SharePoint or Teams? 

While Teams is the hub of collaboration, some widespread communication and dissemination also happen here, blurring the lines of where an organization hangs out. Traditionally, we’d publish co-wide news and information to a SharePoint intranet, but now with tabs in Teams, you can present this information there too.   

 


Understanding which tools overlap, and which are right for you 

These are just three simple examples, but I’m sure you’re starting to see how complicated this all can get. Every organization has unique needs and workflows. Successful adoption and engagement of your digital workspace and reaching your ultimate goal of increased productivity begins with understanding not just how your team is using their digital tools, but why. Then you can ensure that you are providing them the right tools that meet their needs. Otherwise, they will find a way to get their job done, imposing a real threat of shadow IT, widespread teams sprawl, and costly tool duplication. Next, you must clearly communicate your expectations and help guide your users to the right tools. 

Governance and adoption planning 

Governance is key to helping your team understand what tools are available and how you expect them to use them. You’re building a digital workspace around a platform that is evergreen in nature, meaning it’s always evolving to meet the needs of its users. While this means you’re constantly getting the latest and greatest, it also means that your governance needs to grow and accommodate inevitable changes to existing tools. You’ll also need to vet new tools to see if and how they fit into your digital workspace. We recommend having a standing committee that meets regularly to review your governance processes and vet new tools. 

Clear communication and training 

So, you’ve determined which tools your team needs, and you’ve defined how they should use them, but how do you communicate this to them? How can they quickly understand which tool is right for the task at hand and how they’re expected to use it? Training is key, and in-line training can really help prevent bottlenecks. Our partner VisualSP offers a freemium tool with premium capabilities to help your team learn and understand expectations as they use your solution. By providing training and support to users at the moment-of-need, in the flow of work, and in context of their environment, you take the guesswork out of the equation and empower your team.  

Enforcing governance

But what about enforcing governance? Is there a way to set some templates or preconfigure your selected digital tools to help your team execute what you expect? Orchestry to the rescue! With pre-built Microsoft 365 Workspaces, Orchestry saves you time, money, and headaches, putting years of Office 365 best practices in place in just a few clicks. Orchestry also empowers those tasked with Microsoft 365 governance. Your team can easily manage the creation of Microsoft Teams, Outlook Groups, and SharePoint Online Sites through a single interface, governing Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online Sites through end-to-end provisioning lifecycle management. Orchestry provides the control you need to avoid the unwieldy sprawl while simultaneously enabling your end-users to access the right tools for the right purpose, eliminating unnecessary bottlenecks.  

Internally, we’re finding huge wins with Orchestry. Site and team creation are a breeze for our projects now. With Orchestry, all of our pre-defined lists, OneNotes, folder structures, and channels are generated at the click of a button, taking the tediousness out of workspace creation while ensuring we’re following our own governance. Oh, and the cherry on top? We don’t have to manually remove the wiki tab every time! Having all of this deployed and ready for us ensures we are aligned with our governance and have a consistent experience internally from project to project. 

Do you have too many tools in your toolbox? Is your team having trouble determining which tools to use? Do you need help defining and enforcing effective governance? Let’s chat! One of our Microsoft 365 experts would love to help. 

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