5 Underused Microsoft 365 Tools To Boost Productivity

Most organizations use Microsoft 365 but fail to leverage built-in features that could transform productivity. This post explores 5 advanced yet easy-to-use tools to work smarter.

Streamline Repetitive Tasks With Power Automate

Power Automate makes it easy for anyone to automate manual processes and workflows between apps. How? Through pre-built connections to 300+ software platforms. Whether sending automatic notifications, synchronizing file shares, collecting form data, or other rote tasks – let automation handle it so you can focus on high-impact work.

The intuitive visual designer requires no coding background. Simply connect app actions together to build flows. For example:

  • Share new SharePoint files added to a team folder via email digest
  • Populate spreadsheet rows from survey form submissions
  • Post Tweets when a blog post is published to WordPress

Power Automate handles these repetitive tasks automatically according to a defined trigger.

Key Question: How much does Power Automate cost?

Answer: Power Automate plans range from free to $15/user/month depending on volume and connectors needed. View detailed pricing and plan differences here.

Uncover Data-Driven Collaboration Insights

Do your teams optimally collaborate? Are meetings eating up time without delivering results?

Workplace Analytics examines Office 365 usage data to uncover granular insights like:

  • Top collaborators by communication volume
  • Meeting hours versus focused work time per person
  • Recommendations to improve collaboration

Review organizational metrics through interactive dashboards. Filter by date range, department, manager hierarchy and more to inform smarter decisions around work patterns.

Or receive weekly individual productivity recommendations based on your Office 365 collaboration data through MyAnalytics dashboard.

For example:

  • Reduce after-hours work and emails.
  • Allocate more hours for focused work based on past weeks

Applying this objective data leads to more intentional work habits.

Key Question: Can I control my personal data?

Answer: Yes, Workplace Analytics gives you full control over data collection through easily managed privacy settings.

Scale Customer Service With Intelligent Chatbots

Business spend 30-50% of personnel costs on customer service according to Forrester Research. Power Virtual Agents lets you easily build no / low-code chatbots using a graphical interface to slash these costs through automation.

Bots you design can handle common inquiries like:

  • FAQs e.g. store hours, product specs
  • Account lookups
  • Address changes
  • Password resets
  • and more

The hosted bot experience seamlessly integrates across web, SMS, and social channels using natural conversation.

Let AI-powered bots handle high-volume repetitive queries so live agents resolve more complex issues. Dramatically improving CS metrics like:

  • Query response times
  • CS volume capacity
  • First contact resolution
  • Agent utilization

Start automating customer and employee support with Power Virtual Agents today.

Key Question: Can anyone build a capable bot?

Answer: Yes, the intuitive graphical toolset enables both devs and non-devs to build bots that understand natural language without coding.

Enhanced Search Across Microsoft 365

Microsoft Search expands built-in Bing search with AI capabilities enhancing results for files, conversations, org charts, sites and people across Office 365.

Easily find experts on niche topics organization-wide. Pull up documentation on past projects. Locate who to ask about related subjects based on intelligent recommendations.

Get a comprehensive overview of each person in people results, including where they sit in the org chart, who reports to them, contact details, timestamps of recent emails, their team’s SharePoint sites, popular files, and more.

Microsoft Search works across Outlook, Office apps, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams apps. Provide information faster with this powerful search tool.

Key Question: Can Microsoft Search inspect sensitive content?

Answer: No, Microsoft upholds the highest enterprise security and compliance standards. Only metadata visible to user is shown.

Personalized Productivity Prompts

Viva Insights analyzes personal and organizational collaboration data flowing through Microsoft 365 to provide targeted prompts promoting:

  • Work-life balance
  • Focus time
  • Network connectivity
  • Skill development

For example:

  • Block hours weekly for focused work to reduce meetings
  • Increase 1:1 collaboration with coworker
  • Reduce after-hours email and Teams

Follow these personalized, privacy-controlled recommendations for more intentional work habits improving productivity, connections, and wellbeing.

Key Question: What data does Viva use?

Answer: Viva Insights only looks at organizational Office 365 usage data visible to each user. Your personal information stays private.

Conclusion

Microsoft 365 contains valuable capabilities most organizations overlook, to their own detriment. Transform productivity by applying tools like:

Power Automate – Eliminate repetitive manual processes through automated workflows between 300+ apps.

Workplace Analytics – Gain visibility into work patterns with interactive dashboards revealing actionable collaboration insights.

Power Virtual Agents – Build no-code chatbots handling high-volume customer and employee requests automatically.

Microsoft Search – Intelligent search across M365 surfaces relevant files, people, org charts and sites faster.

Viva Insights – An AI coach providing personalized productivity recommendations based on Microsoft 365 usage data.

Evaluating these solutions can uncover significant opportunities to reduce inefficiencies, save hours lost to “work about work”, and refocus on business-driving activities.

Empower your people to do their best work using breakthrough technologies already available through your existing Microsoft investment. Don’t leave this untapped productivity potential sitting idle!

FAQs

What skills do I need to implement these solutions?

No technical expertise required! Built-in wizards, pre-made templates and intuitive visual designers empower anyone to build automated workflows, chatbots, interactive reports and more, no coding needed.

How can I get these Microsoft 365 tools activated?

Most organizations already own licenses as part of Microsoft 365 plans or addons. Contact your IT administrator to enable capabilities for your team if access seems restricted.

Where can I explore more details on these products?

Visit Microsoft’s website to evaluate free trials and view in-depth features lists for every solution mentioned:

1. Power Automate
2. Workplace Analytics
3. Power Virtual Agents
4. Microsoft Search
5. Viva Insights

Hitesh Patel
Hitesh Patel
Hitesh Patel is an engineer turned business owner of WPG Consulting. He is a techie enthusiast who believes in finding creative IT solutions to solve consumer problems.

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