Virtual teams and the power that business intelligence can bring

“We’ve spoken previously about how the value of data is unleashed when you start bringing together multiple data sources and visualising them in a way that is both intuitive but also informative enough to allow it to empower the decisions that organisations make on a daily basis.

Often people take this to mean that CEO’s, CFO’s or even just the Team or Business Leaders are the only ones who may benefit from this data. However, I don’t believe that this is the case. I believe that giving individuals visibility of the data or reports that are relevant to the job they are doing not only means they can be more effective in their role, but also greatly increases the buy in from those individuals. Fundamentally, it helps them feel better informed and avoids them feeling ‘kept out of the loop’.

Now we are living in an age where remote working is not just a ‘nice to have’. It has become a necessity for organisations, not only to protect their staff but also to ensure that we can continue to operate during these uncertain times. While remote working does have many benefits as well as technical considerations to be made, it’s also important to ensure that the collective Team ethos that organisations work so hard to achieve is not just maintained during this period but enhanced as much as possible.

There are many ways that I’ve seen organisations look to achieve this during the current lockdown. For example, having daily or weekly team syncs, remote or virtual team chats – or even just having somewhere they can come together and collaborate in a virtual office environment. In most cases, the organisations I’ve been speaking to have been looking to leverage the power of Microsoft Teams to do this.

For many organisations, this move has worked really well. Speaking from personal experience here at Phoenix, even though we’re not in the same office I’ve been engaging with my co-workers and team mates using Microsoft Teams as well as I did previously in the office, if not better. Not only have I found that using the technology has enabled me to stay in touch and collaborate with the rest of my team, but I’ve actually found that it’s made me think about how I collaborate more and as such start to realise some of the time savings that Microsoft Teams can bring.

A couple of good examples of this has been the shift in traffic from email into Microsoft Teams, which has reduced the amount of time wasted (approx. 25 mins per break to answer emails). It’s also reduced the time I’ve spent digging around my admittedly way too obsessively ordered email folders to find that attachment I needed to work on with my colleague.

Another great time saving is by leveraging the ability to embed Power BI reports as a tab into the Team that you’re already working in. No longer do you have to leave the Teams site or dig through your dashboards or emails to find the relevant report. In fact, by embedding the report directly into the Teams Channel or site, you can:

  • Encourage people to increase their use of the report.
  • Place it into a contextually relevant location where people can discuss or comment on the report.
  • Reduce big email threads discussing the report by moving these into the Teams channel where the report is embedded.

It also increases your engagement with what the report is showing and facilitates greater buy in and suggestions from the wider team. Everyone can see the trends and patterns and everyone can come together to try and achieve the best outcomes.

Really good examples of this are the inter team catch up meetings that I talked about earlier. Because people have access to the visualisations of what’s going on, they can put their ideas forward and discuss why they feel this in these chats. Therefore, not only can it enable you to have more focused or productive meetings, but it can also help your team generate additional ideas and create further discussions on how to improve the outcomes that matter to you and your stakeholders – whether they be citizens, students, patients or tenants.

This has been a bit more focused of a blog than I usually do, as I feel that it’s highly relevant at times like these to not just deliver a solution that meets the requirements for now, but also to start looking at how that solution can bring greater value as time goes on.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can embed Power BI within Teams feel free to check out this blog by Andrew Edge from Simpson Associates, or alternatively if you’d like to have a chat and learn more about how Teams can come together with Power BI, or how you can help foster a collaborative data culture within your organisation, please feel free to reach out to hello@phoenixs.co.uk or call us on 01904 562200.”

Ben Gannon – Data and AI Specialist, Phoenix Software

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