Office 365 Program created to continue support
The Office 365 Program provides a focused team of people across ITS and campus who support, teach, and advocate for Office 365 and show how Office 365 can increase productivity and collaboration. Monthly learning events, departmental consults, information sessions, and increased communication to customers have been instrumental in the program’s engagement with campus.
Office 365 is very fluid as Microsoft rolls out changes and updates regularly. Having a group of people who stay on top of the applications and help campus see the value in the tools is essential. Because of the fluidity of the Office 365 suite, the program’s approach to documentation has changed. The program creates only University-specific documentation for Office 365 and links out to Microsoft’s support sites for more general information. Microsoft is able to keep documentation routinely updated and relevant to the tools available. For that reason, the Office 365 Program focuses on mastery of the applications and how to support and teach its customers.
“We’ve also strengthened our relationship with Microsoft by having a single point of contact for all requests and communications to the vendor,” said Alison Campbell, Office 365 Program Manager within ITS User Support & Engagement. “This relationship has provided real value as we navigate the needs of campus, and we’ve also set up channels for feedback directly to product teams. The groups responsible for new features and updates to products, like Teams, engage with us and hear exactly what higher education institutions like UNC-Chapel Hill want and need to be successful.”
The campus community is requesting additional departmental consultations and “train the trainer” sessions, which affirms ITS’ creation of this managed program for Office 365.
“Office 365 is a large asset to the School of Medicine,” said Kyle Bingham, Whitehead Medical Society VP of IT. “Currently, I am working with other students on implementing a professional communication platform for medical students. This platform is Microsoft Teams. Through the Office 365 subscription students are provided, we have access to Microsoft productivity software including Microsoft Teams. Before using Microsoft Teams, medical student communication had primarily been on Facebook and other types of social media. Moving forward, we hope that utilizing Teams will facilitate professional student-student and student-faculty communication.”
Amanda Drury’s Continuous Improvement, Staff Development, and Engagement team within Finance and Operations uses SharePoint extensively to improve our communication and collaboration. “We store all of our shared files on SharePoint so that everyone on the team can access them,” she said. Storing our files within SharePoint allows us to jump in on a project when someone is out of the office and know we have the latest version of a file.”
In addition, Drury said, her team uses “co-authoring to work on files at the same time to quickly create and revise files when we are facing a deadline.” Her team is “able to access these files anywhere there is an internet connection, including on cell phones, so if we are in another building for a meeting or working elsewhere, we are still able to continue moving projects along.”
Drury’s team creates lists in SharePoint to have a quick, easy way to access and update information. “We have a task list, where we are able to keep track of all of our unit’s projects, who is the contact person, and any updates on the project.” she said. “We used to use an Excel workbook for this information, but moving it to a list has provided several benefits. First, lists have forms that are quick and easy to fill out and each field can be customized. In addition, lists are easier to read and each person is able to create their own views, so that they can look at the information that is most important to them. Also, our team is often on the go and updating information on our cell phones, which is easier to do on a SharePoint list than in an Excel workbook.”
Drury’s team also created a Wiki to store important unit processes, policies, and how-to guides for the various technologies the group uses regularly. “The Wiki has been a really easy way to store information without having multiple word documents and having to edit each document separately,” she said. “Anyone is able to go to a Wiki page and quickly edit the information and update in real time, as well as create new topics or sections as needed.”
Key Partner(s): Microsoft