How Many Systems is Too Many?

by | Feb 28, 2022 | Industry

We had just hired a very experienced person to work with us to help manage our client projects. In our 30-day touchpoint meeting, I asked how they were going. The one item of feedback that stood out was in relation to our communication channels. “I never know which channel to use to talk to who about what!” was the comment. Followed by, “It would be great if there was a way to streamline the communication channels.” Around the same time, our General Manager had highlighted we needed a single tool for working collaboratively on documents and that our templates were due an upgrade. It raised the question, do we have too many systems?

What was the problem?

As it turns out, we were using a total of 7 different tools for communication and collaboration. No wonder our new team member found it confusing! We had:

  1. WhatsApp… for instant messaging on client projects
  2. Salesforce Chatter Groups… for company information and announcements
  3. Gmail… for email and calendar
  4. Google Meet… for internal meetings
  5. Google Drive… for internal document collaboration and storage
  6. Dropbox… for document storage
  7. GoToMeeting… for external meetings

As TTC grew, we had collected these tools along the way and were now finding issues with them. We found documents were getting stored in different repositories, it was difficult to collaborate on documents via Dropbox, document version control was a challenge, files were becoming corrupt as they were moved between Mac and PC devices, and there were security concerns with using WhatsApp as our instant messaging service.

What was the solution?

A single platform to support our communication and collaboration needs was required. Say hello to Microsoft 365. We had come across several clients who were using Microsoft Teams and our team members who got to use it on their client projects were always raving about how great it was as a collaboration tool. In addition, most of our client deliverables were produced in PowerPoint, Word or Excel so it made sense to explore the Microsoft toolkit further. Upon evaluating the cost savings that could be achieved from moving down to one subscription for multiple purposes, the solution was obvious.

By moving to Microsoft 365, we were able to reduce our tools for communication and collaboration down to three:

  1. Microsoft Teams… for company announcements, meetings, instant messages, collaboration
  2. Microsoft Outlook… for email and calendar
  3. Microsoft OneDrive/SharePoint… for document storage

What does success look like?

Although we are a small business, this presented a major change to our ways of working. It was important we achieved the following objectives:

  • Cost savings: reduce the number of subscriptions
  • Streamlined communication: one tool for all work-related communications 
  • Improved collaboration: multiple people working on a document at the same time, automated version control and a single platform for document storage 
  • Compatibility: continue to use Salesforce as our CRM  
  • Security: ensure all team communication and collaboration is completed using TTC software licenses 

The decision to make the change was an exciting one. It does seem that 7 systems are too many for an organisation of our size to communicate and collaborate effectively. I am grateful that team members are given the opportunity to provide feedback and that the feedback provided is actionable. Stay tuned for the next insight into how we navigated the implementation of M365 at TTC… it wasn’t all smooth sailing!

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