We had an amazing time as Gold Sponsors of the recent 365 EduCon DC 2023 event. This was our first time as Team Cloudwell attending a Microsoft 365 conference since we launched our Calendar Overlay App. Here are some highlights:
Our Cloudwell Cloudbell became the talk of the town! Once people caught wind of it, we had tons of visitors lining up to get one. Attendee Kamisha Botts even gave it a shout-out on the event’s social app, calling it the best giveaway there!
In virtual meetings, we enjoy using our Cloudbells to collectively celebrate team successes. We even use them to call our kids down for dinner.
Interested in getting your hands on one? For a chance to own your very own Cloudbell, let us know how you would use yours 👇
Calendar Overlay App
Our Calendar Overlay App created quite a buzz. Many people wanted to know how they could manage their calendars and information from various sources because Microsoft lacks a good solution. Well, our Calendar Overlay app solves that problem.
With over 20 years of experience in the SharePoint space, we know the native calendar experience has its limitations. You cannot control colors and you’re limited to a single calendar data source from a SharePoint list.
At first, we offered our Calendar Overlay app as a solution-as-a-service for our customers, but now it’s available to everyone.
Regardless of the industry, Calendar Overlay makes it easy to overlay SharePoint lists and libraries, Exchange calendars, iCalendar feeds, and Planner plans in one place. Use it with SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, all with enhanced customization options.
Copilot for SharePoint
Everyone was eager to learn more about Copilot for SharePoint. What we can confirm is that regardless of your role within the organization, whether you’re a CEO or an employee on the shop floor, Copilot will revolutionize the way you create, communicate, and collaborate with your colleagues, and we’re excited about it.
In our recent blog, we covered maximizing Chat GPT functionality. This will soon be integrated into all M365 applications for an additional fee by the end of the year.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into the technical aspects of large language models (LLMs) and how they operate when connected to your organization’s data, as well as the AI-powered capabilities of Copilot, I recommend checking out Mary David Pasch’s recent session on Microsoft Mechanics YouTube channel titled “How Microsoft 365 Copilot works.”
Information Architecture for Microsoft 365 Intranets
We’re big fans of the legendary Susan Hanley and her session on ‘Getting Started with Information Architecture for Microsoft 365 Intranets’ didn’t disappoint.
She had a lot of great tips, but our favorite take-away was about the importance of knowing your users first before structuring information. Find out who they are, what vocab they use, what they search for, and where they typically work (office, offline, mobile, or hybrid). What information do they need to do their work? Who do they collaborate with? What language should the content be in?
Keep your IA energies focused on understanding the user experience, writing for the readers, and helping content get found (and updated!). Sue signed off with a handy reminder that the best IA is always about the end users – the finders AND the contributors.
Conducting User Research to Drive Intranet Design
MVP Emily Mancini’s session on ‘Conducting User Research to Drive Intranet Design’ effectively summarized the key points from Susan Hanley’s presentation. The main takeaway was the importance of placing the people you’re designing the intranet for at the core of your design process. It is crucial to conduct thorough user research to understand their needs, behaviors, preferences, and pain points. Emily recommended using three user research methods – interviews (attitudinal), surveys (quantitative), and remote moderated testing (behavioral) – to achieve this effectively.
If you are tempted to skip user research before designing an intranet, she highlighted some of the dangers, including solving the wrong problems, high risk of reworking the design, and poor user adoption.
And if you’re experiencing push-back on getting stakeholder buy-in for time or budget for user research, her response was “If there’s time and budget for break/fix, there’s time and budget for user research”.
A closer look at Approvals and Updates in Microsoft Teams
With the rapid adoption of Microsoft Teams during the lockdown, individuals are still catching up on the platform capabilities. In Nate Chamberlain’s session, an expert in Microsoft 365 adoption and training, we received a helpful reminder on utilizing templates and pre-configured options to save time on regular or one-off requests and approvals within Teams. He also emphasized that templates are an effective way to automate, track, and review updates.
However, as with any implementation of new processes, the key to success lies in user adoption. Before making any changes to your existing workflows, it’s crucial to obtain stakeholder buy-in. Take the time to gather requirements and fully understand the current processes. To ensure the improved process meets the needs of the target users, make sure to incorporate their feedback and ideas. Consider hosting lunch and learn sessions or training meetings to demonstrate the process, share guides, and address questions and concerns.
Could your organization use a secure and customizable, calendar overlay app that integrates calendars from multiple data sources?