Collaboration portals in Office 365
For businesses, there is an ever-increasing need to be able to collaborate better and more effectively with suppliers, partners and customers. They simply need to be able to communicate and share information more seamlessly than has been possible in the past. At the same time, information needs to be kept accurate, up-to-date and available only to the right people. Office 365 provides these opportunities and we take a closer look at how collaboration portals can streamline and facilitate collaboration.
Why are collaborative portals needed?
In the past, communication has largely been by email, but the challenge is that the information shared between you, your partner, your customer or supplier is often of such a nature that it needs to be updated frequently. The same kind of problem that occurs internally within a company can therefore occur externally - there are a huge number of versions and updates of documents and files being created. This leads to confusion, and even outright errors, as it becomes difficult to keep track of which version is current.
Exchanging information with partners, customers and suppliers also requires both security and availability. The various parties in a collaboration must have constant access to the information, but it should rarely be available to everyone. A collaboration portal therefore needs to be a place that is both protected by access restrictions, while being accessible to those who need it, and able to be updated in real time.
In the past, guest accounts have often been created to allow different parties to access shared information in your environment. This in turn requires administration, and since each account has its own license, this also means costs.
Collaboration portals in Office 365
A collaboration portal creates a common communication space for customers, partners and suppliers where you and they can share and retrieve information. In this way, you ensure that the documentation on the portal always contains the latest versions and that everyone who needs it has access to it.
Many companies create a collaborative portal to build a support space for customers where they can log in and access FAQs, forms to start a support case, case statistics, chat features and so on.
Around 70% of companies today use Office 365, which is the only way to ensure seamless communication between partners in the collaboration portals created in Sharepoint. In the portal, you just log in from their own Office 365 account and access the content from your own environment. The only requirement is that you as a user are invited to the portal.
Benefits of collaborative portals
The benefits of building collaborative portals include:
- You keep your data in your Office 365 environment. In other words, you don't have to store it externally and it never leaves your Office 365 environment.
- You control who has access from your own environment. So you don't have to go through your web agency or IT department, for example, to request that a user be removed or added.
- You don't have to "ask for permission". All the administration of the portal becomes much less cumbersome as the responsibility falls on those who actually work with the partner/supplier/customer.
WeSafe helps you build collaborative portals
At WeSafe, we put a lot of focus on how you as a customer should think when building new functionality. We act in an advisory capacity on how best to optimise your processes based on your individual needs. For example, when it comes to collaboration portals, we do an analysis of how you can best build it in Office 365. We act as both a sounding board and a pillar of support, while challenging your way of thinking to find new ways forward.
Want to know more about how to build collaboration portals in Office 365? Contact us!