3 ways Outlook Actionable Messages can improve your organization’s efficiency

There are several ways Outlook Actionable Messages can improve your organization’s efficiency from simplifying complex approvals, creating actionable feedback cards, as well as gathering result voting, among many others. Here we take a look at the top three practical ways to use Outlook Actionable Messages in your organization.

1. Capturing feedback

In large organizations, it can be difficult to collect feedback or information from remote employees or other audiences who are often busy or working from their mobile phone. Sometimes, a quick decision needs to be made and that decision should automatically result in a change in an external system.

Other times, an employee may be away from their desk and ignore an email that requires them to click an external link because it can be time consuming, or difficult to deal with additional apps and logins.

Yet, with Outlook Actionable Messages, users can receive an email message to their mobile or desktop Outlook app, then complete an action using adaptive cards without ever leaving their inbox. That action can then trigger an update in another system automatically, all without compromising security.

The whole idea is the email recipient never has to leave their mail and can just click a button (or type in their response), and the appropriate action can take place on the back end without any additional user interaction.

2. Board meetings

One of our clients wanted to set up a process where their board members could review the upcoming board meeting documents and cast preliminary votes (lean yes, lean no, or ask a question) one week before each meeting.

By doing this, they could improve the efficiency of their meetings by knowing who’d already read the document, answering questions ahead of time and knowing which direction votes were leaning before the meeting even begins.

We used Outlook Actionable Messages and a SharePoint list to track those votes and questions and set up a flow that would automatically send an email, including the documents and actionable message, prior to each meeting.

After implementing the solution, they could use the information collected prior to the meeting to make informed decisions and as a result, the board meetings became much more efficient.

3. Marketing

Another great use case for Outlook Actionable Messages is marketing teams being able to collect feedback or survey information without asking their audience to navigate to a separate survey solution.

Often people are hesitant to click on outside links, but if they can fill out the survey within the email, they are more likely to do so.

By implementing Outlook Actionable Messages for marketing surveys, marketers can generate automated emails using personalized content, forms and read-receipts and then use the information gain invaluable insights into participation metrics and survey results, all without asking their target users to ever leave their inbox.

How to build your own Outlook Actionable Messages

Most people are used to seeing Outlook Actionable Messages in the form of an approval task from Power Automate. They receive an approval email, then use the buttons in the email to approve, reject or leave a comment. This is a basic example of an Actionable Message, but with a little additional work, developers can check out the Actionable Message Designer where you can build your own customized adaptive cards.

Once you have the basic functionality working in the designer, you can use Power Automate or other mechanisms to send Outlook Actionable Messages with dynamic data and forms to users and then wire up actions so that user responses can be fed back into line-of-business systems.

If you want to know how to get the best out of your Microsoft 365 licenses, read our Cloudwell experts tips and tricks blog for more ideas.

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