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 Improve business processes with the Microsoft technology stack 

Businesses thrive when innovation, product fulfillment, and customer satisfaction are delivered consistently, across the board, in multiple scenarios. Yet, businesses need to stay alert and improve the processes that drive their success incrementally. The Microsoft tech stack backs up the wellbeing of every single business process in several ways:

  • End-to-end project and business management
  • Automation for business processes
  • Extended connectivity and integration

Microsoft for businesses

Processes are at the heart of any business:

  • The better the process, the more valuable the results
  • The faster the process, the faster the time to market
  • The more flexible the process, the easier the ad-hoc and long-term maintenance

Microsoft offers suites and platforms that support business processes in a consistent, integrated, and extensible manner. In other words, Microsoft helps you manage your business processes, so that you can increase revenue and performance:

  • Digitize your process once and reuse time and time again
  • Change your processes easily
  • Focus on the business and tasks instead of processes

How? Microsoft helps you digitize your processes, so that they are:

  • Managed online in a centralized manner
  • Deployed to the right target users
  • Used to improve the status quo on an ongoing basis
  • Used as guiding expert systems for consistent work 

Microsoft business process tiers

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Business processes are vast and varied. In the next section, we will explore three Microsoft pathways that can drive your business forward.

End-to-end project and business management

The Microsoft 365 platform digitizes all your office work: 

  • Office 365 features
  1. Manage files, folders, and media locally and in the cloud 
  2. Collaborate with other peers in real time
  3. Manage access via OneDrive and SharePoint

 

  • Teams features
  1. Manage team members, profiles, meetings, and schedule
  2. Have team and meeting content automatically saved and stored in SharePoint
  3. Integrate team work and correspondence with emails and live notifications in Outlook

 

  • SharePoint features
  1. Manage team sites and intranets in terms of layout and content 
  2. Use Office 365 and Teams content to feed your sites and intranet 
  3. Extend project scheduling and management capabilities with plugins and automation

Log in and start working. The cloud infrastructure offers support for:

  • Secure, digital processes and assets – no lockout in case of hardware failure
  • Full availability and synchronization of processes and assets
  • Controlled deployment and out-of-the-box process analytics

Microsoft 365 offers support for your business processes and their associated assets (files, forms, schedules, teams, flows) which can be set and maintained in the cloud from any device and any location. 

Automation for business processes

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Business process flows can be penciled in and printed on a chart, and then manually observed. For increased efficiency, business process flows should be digitized.

The Microsoft 365 platform integrates out of the box with the Power Automate module. As the name suggests, Power Automate automates a static business process flow by making it more versatile, more dynamic, and more reusable. Power Automate is essential if your business found itself in either of the following situations:

  • All customer requests should be treated the same way depending on their type, but employees tend to bend the rules, so customers receive unequal treatment.
  • All requests for proposal should be signed off in a particular order by various stakeholders, but without strict or clear gateways, proposals are signed inconsistently, which leads to audit fines.
  • All actions around project scheduling, task breakdown and task scope should go through specific stages, each ending in specification deliverables. To save time, the team postpones the creation of deliverables, and since the process flow is not controlled, teams reach implementation with an incomplete set of requirements.
  • All onboarding should automatically imply the provisioning of all suitable documentation and resources to new hires or new team members. Since there is no business process automation, someone needs to manually compile the list and manually update it every time, with various delays in the successful completion of the actual onboarding.
  • All project reports should be generated automatically at the end of a project based on a template populated with values extracted directly from project documents. However, there is no automation in place, and reports require a lot of manual input and a lot of time to produce.
  • All project assets should be labelled and placed in various locations automatically based on key words or metadata, so that only authorized personnel can access it. There is no automated business process flow to take care of this, so an employee needs to step away from their normal tasks to take on this overhead work.

Power Automate can make all the scenarios above and many more happen. When you automate any business process flow, you make sure:

  • The desired results are always reached consistently.
  • The process is followed to standard and to the letter, so there is no cutting corners. 
  • The need to assign employees to repetitive tasks or to offer support for training, for onboarding, for reports disappears.
  • The time spent on manual effort is reduced significantly.

So how does Power Automate help your business achieve all these goals?

  1. Create a form consisting of stages.
  2. Define the steps of each stage.
  3. Define attributes for each step (for example a step being mandatory or not).
  4. Add Microsoft or third-party data sources to populate the values of each step.
  5. Link the steps to one another.
  6. Validate the process.
  7. Activate the process and run it. 
  8. Link this process to an existing process. 
  9. View and access your processes from a centralized table and use the Microsoft BI tools (Power BI) to customize these results.

Use the predefined templates (campaigns, appointments, list builder, pitch to invoice, and many more) and use the advanced functions to obtain charts and dashboards ad-hoc.

In other words, use Power Automate to add digitized gateways and an automated flow around the traditional way of doing business. 

Extended connectivity and integration

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Microsoft 365 is an end-to-end ecosystem that can help you manage and automate your business processes. There are 2 satellite modules which can help you tap into a range of third-party systems for enhanced data connectivity:

  • Power Automate, which automates business flows, integrates with Dropbox, SQL Server, SalesForce, Microsoft Dynamics CRMs, various email providers, and many more.
  • Power Apps, which creates forms and mobile apps based on data and SharePoint files, integrates with BI tools, the Adobe suite, Airtable, Amazon S3, Box, Docparser, DocuSign, GitHub, GitLab, and many more.

You do not need to port your data over to Microsoft. Use one of the many connectors to source non-Microsoft data into Power Automate and Power Apps.

 

In brief

What?

Business processes require intense thought work and due diligence. Solid business processes are key to making business profitable and predictable. Employees need to know what course of action to take and how much variation they can juggle with.

Microsoft supports the digitization and virtualization of business processes.

Why?

Without digital tools that can help you build and maintain business processes in a paperless format, your business will not be smart enough, versatile enough, or able to adapt to shifting contexts. While pen-and-paper processes can work very well in a brainstorming stage or in a face-to-face environment, these are not sustainable in the case of distributed teams which work in the cloud or on web applications.

How? Microsoft technology can:

  • Streamline the collaboration on and the availability of business processes
  • Digitize your business process management and their associated resources
  • Integrate your business processes with your business data (internal or external)