Why I Love Office 365 as the CEO of a small business–Part 2-Your biggest asset is inside your employees’ heads

As the CEO of an SMB, I recognize that one of our greatest assets is tapping the knowledge of our employees.  On any given day each employee may deal with up to 15-20 individual customers, 3-5 vendors, 10-15 fellow employees, and 3-5 strategic partners.  That’s as many as 540 unique interactions per day! Sound familiar?  When I talk to other CEOs this is not an uncommon problem – and if you think that just one or two of these interactions produce some bit of information that would be useful for the entire team – there’s a lot of data that would be useful for the entire team to leverage.

We are already users of the Gazelles system for daily huddles to allow for a complete alignment, daily, in our business – but we were still lacking the ability to capture data in a format that the entire team could leverage, could be easily updated, and could be available on any device.  Who wouldn’t want that?

Our original strategy was an ‘employee operational manual’ that was produced in Word.  It was just clunky – there was confusion on where the latest copy was and it was difficult to keep it updated.  After struggling with this – we decided to use a SharePoint Wiki.  You already know what Wikipedia is all about – crowd sourced content that is searchable and available online.  SharePoint gives you the exact same functionality in your business.

Here’s an example:

We wanted to standardize, as much as possible, our backup process for our customers.  We also wanted to make it so that any new hire could easily follow the instructions and know the PTG way for completing this task.  (You can insert any process here – think about how you capture leads,sales orders, or accounts receivable.)  Of course, the vendor has some documentation – but there were three problems there: 1) their process didn’t match ours exactly, 2) a new hire might not know where to find the vendor’s document, and 3) the vendor might move the document if they re-worked their internal website.  Also, the software interface might change from version to version making any documentation that we created in Word outdated.

So – we created a Wiki that every employee has access to AND every employee has rights to modify and create new pages.  We can even drop in screenshots (and change them on the fly), link to other pages (inside and outside our firewall), and search on the content of the pages (so you can easily find data even if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for).  What’s even better?  Since SharePoint Online is platform agnostic – we can get to the data on a laptop, Mac, iPad, Windows Phone, iPhone – from anywhere.

We have been using the Wiki for about 3 months inside our business and it has changed the way our employees interact.  Someone might ask a question during our huddle and another employee will say: “It’s in SharePoint” or “I just updated the Wiki with the new process for getting that done”.

Our employees are now empowered with data at their fingertips and are actively involved in the data sharing process.  What CEO wouldn’t want that?

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