Which Office 365 apps can be used with SharePoint to increase productivity?

SharePoint comes as part of Office 365, but for many organisations it’s used as a separate application. The platform is powerful in itself, but when used in conjunction with other apps within Office 365 you can really get a lot more out of it. Our handy guide, “Getting those most out of Office 365 apps within SharePoint” goes into full detail. Here, we’re mentioning some standout apps for aiding productivity.

If a common headache is a lack of productivity in your team, then there are plenty of apps you can use with SharePoint to alleviate this issue. Perhaps reports within your organisation take too long to create, or perhaps people are still using very manual processes for things that can quite easily be automated. Here are a few tools in the Office 365 suite that can help with productivity – and, when used in conjunction with SharePoint, skyrocket your teams’ day to day potential!

Power BI

This is amazing! Power BI is a business analytics service that enables you to visualise and analyse data with greater speed and efficiency. It connects users to a broad range of data through easy to use dashboards, interactive reports, and compelling visualisations that bring data to life. Essentially, it’s an in-depth reporting tool. It’s great for technical folk and end users to create visually appealing dashboards containing lots of data.

Using SharePoint with power BI can irrevocably add value to your organisation. Power BI is arguably one of Office 365’s most powerful apps to use with SharePoint. It plugs seamlessly into SharePoint and can integrate easily with a department’s data communication strategy. SharePoint users can embed Power BI reports directly in SharePoint Online pages with no coding needed! Not only does this encourage users to engage with SharePoint and Office 365, but it also enforces better communication and collaboration in teams – especially in larger companies or organisations split up in separate locations.

In the context of a finance department using SharePoint, reports can be integrated with SharePoint Online and collaborated on simultaneously by multiple users. The main benefit of this of course is that finance teams are presented with one version of the truth when it comes to reporting.

Planner

This is a lightweight Work Management Application. It lets you organise projects by creating tasks, assigning them to members of the team and setting deadlines. It’s graphical overview page makes it easy to monitor the progress of the tasks. This type of application is perfect for cloud users using SharePoint. It works well with teams who regularly work together but may work in separate locations most of the time. This also works for managers who may manage larger teams and need to keep track of department progress.

As a business tool, it gives users a way to visualise their teamwork. Teams can create new plans, organise and assign tasks. Planner also offers the ability to associate documents with specific tasks, edit them together, and have conversations around tasks.

StaffHub

This is a cloud-based application that lets workers and their managers use their mobile devices to manage schedules and keep in touch. This type of application is perfect for cloud users using SharePoint.

It can certainly add value from an HR and intranet perspective. Apps such as StaffHub can encourage users to use the Intranet too. Employees can use StaffHub to request time off, trade shifts, and communicate with other employees. This is another feature that will enhance your Intranet from an HR point of view.

Delve

This is a data visualisation and discovery tool incorporating elements of social networking and machine learning with a rich search capability. It enables users to search for and discover content across Office 365 based on personalised insights. It’s used well with SharePoint, and we recommend you make use of it with SharePoint!

If you have a meeting in your calendar with Judy, Head of Finance that day, then Delve will show you related documents to the meeting, Judy’s most recently documents and relevant updates – all presented (from SharePoint) in Delve. It’s contextual and security orientated, so you only see what you have access to.

Teams

This is a platform that combines workplace chat, meetings, notes, and attachments. That might not sound that amazing, however when you have large scale, multi-faceted projects then this is a terrific cloud-based app. When it comes to using it with SharePoint, it’s more the other way around – teams is an increasingly large platform where it makes more sense to use SharePoint features within it rather embed Teams into SharePoint.

Microsoft calls Teams part of a ‘new generation of collaboration tools’. This is exactly that. Teams allows… well, teams of people to converge on a project from a chat point of view, to document sharing, and everything in between! Teams brings together people, conversations and content—along with the tools that teams need—so they can easily communicate, collaborate and achieve more. Like Groups, you can collate your information whenever and wherever you like. Teams is great for conferencing.

Flow

This is a cloud-based tool that allows users to create and automate workflows across multiple applications and services without the need for developer help.  You can certainly use this with SharePoint. If you manage content and records within SharePoint, Microsoft Flow can make your life easier.

You can use Flow to connect email and IM alerts, synchronise files between applications, copy files from one service to another, collect data from one app and store it in another, and more. Templates are available too to get you started.

Forms

This is a lightweight app that lets you easily create surveys, quizzes, and polls. Mainly applied in educational scenarios; it can be used to create quizzes, collect feedback from users, or plan activities. You can invite others to respond to it using any web browser and on mobile devices. Forms is great in SharePoint on both an external and internal level.

If you’re looking for a quick way to gather data to answer a particular question or area you need information on, Forms can certainly add value to your project. We use Forms at Business Agility internally and externally. On an internal level, Forms can be used on the company intranet to gather information about company events (such as a Christmas Party for example). Forms can be used externally too.

At Business Agility we send out a quick survey using Forms to our event attendees, so our events can be made better. Our event team can see the responses in the form and be
able to make business decisions based on the information provided.

For a full list of the apps in Office 365 that can be further leveraged with SharePoint, read our downloadable guide, “Getting those most out of Office 365 apps within SharePoint“.