I have recently been asked to co-present a session on Modern Collaboration in O365 during our customer event – NXT. I thought it would be a good idea to summarise the session content in a blog post, for those who couldn’t attend the session.

Modern Collaboration – the Challenge.

  • There are several common challenges that need to be recognised and taken under consideration when designing any collaboration environment:
  • Increasingly mobile workforce – individuals working across multiple locations and devices;
  • Distributed teams – teams are more globally distributed;
  • Collaboration extends beyond internal organisation boundaries
  • Security considerations – managing security and compliance of corporate data inside and outside organisational boundaries
  • Increased pace of change in technology
  • User expectations – demand for much higher level of access and service
  • Understanding those challenges and planning the environment to support different scenarios ensuring security and usability is the key to a successful implementation.

The Question – How To Design O365 Collaboration Environment

At risual, we strongly believe the O365 Collaboration Environment should be designed and planned and not just left to grow organically. Looking back at the lifecycle of previous on-premises products, there was always a point when a platform reached the end of lifecycle and the content was migrated to a successor. The migration exercise provided an opportunity to cleanse the data, define a new structure and address any shortfalls with the previous iteration. With O365 being an evergreen platform, the structures implemented at the start of the lifecycle would persist for much longer than in the traditional deployment. It is therefore important to plan for future and ensure the environment grows in a controlled manner.

The Approach

Based on the work done with our customers and industry best standards, the following principles define our approach to designing and building modern collaboration environment:

  • Every organisation is different – one solution does not fit all
  • Access to collaboration tools needs to be simple and effortless
  • Retain control over the environment and plan the roll-out
  • Simple process is better than complex process
  • Technology Champions play a vital role in introducing technological change
  • Avoid complex product customisations

The Technology:

risual utilises the latest technology available in O365 to implement the collaboration designs:

  • Retain control over organisational data with templates – use site designs to enforce organisational structure
  • Azure Information Protection and Labels
  • Scripted deployment with PnP PowerShell
  • PowerApps and Flow

During the session we have shown a demo of how various O365 products integrate to provide a seamless and immersive experience.

I look forward to presenting next year and invite everyone to join us for this annual event.