Microsoft Teams provides an entirely new experience that brings together people, conversations and content along with the tools that teams need so they can easily collaborate to achieve more.
Seamless Office Suite and Cloud App Integration
What will get your staff really excited about Teams, is the feature-rich capabilities that they get right out of the box with the application. As an experienced user of Teams, FinServ has found that the most valuable aspect of Teams is how efficient it makes the company’s collaboration efforts on mission critical and time sensitive projects. For example, our team used to spend a lot of time flipping back and forth between multiple applications when collaborating on a white paper. We would create the document in Word and pass the article around for comments in Microsoft Outlook. When graphics needed to be added, we would use PowerPoint and PDF to share the images again in Outlook. The person making the changes would have to search his or her email for each person’s feedback. Now with Teams, we simply embed the documents in the Channel and use the threaded discussions to have all the comments in one easy to find place. We even make better use of SharePoint Online, our document management tool by letting the application manage our versions and updates right from within Teams.
The following table provides an overview of how Teams integrates applications into the collaboration tool and some key areas of Funds that can take advantage of these capabilities:
|Microsoft Office Applications||Most funds spend all day in Word (e.g. legal, compliance), Excel (fund accounting, operations) or PowerPoint (Investor Relations)||Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote||Allowing your teams to collaborate on documents they spend all day working in without having to leave that one application is a huge time saver.|
|Office 365 Cloud-Based Applications||Office 365 offers some incredibly powerful tools that leading-edge funds are taking advantage of like Power BI (Investor Relations, Operations, Deal Teams) SharePoint Online (Everyone for Document management) and Planner (IT or Project Management Team)||Power BI, SharePoint Online, Planner||Integrating Tabs from these applications makes the use of these key tools totally seamless again never having to leave the Teams application to take on more advanced needs like data visualization, document management, and task management.|
|Commonly used third-party cloud-based applications||If you already use other 3rd party cloud-based applications Microsoft has in most cases pre-built connectors and built-in integration with the most popular tools.||Salesforce, Jira, Trello, Google Analytics, Wrike, Asana and many others||Not only can Teams embed these tools into your Teams application but through Microsoft’s connectors provide pre-built mapping interfaces to these tools so that your data in those tools can be leveraged by the Teams application for all sorts of amazing efficiencies.|
Powerful Communication Tools Included
Skype for Business along with the Outlook Calendar have also been embedded into Teams. This means that you can start a quick IM chat or a Video Conference with team members directly in the application. You can also set up meetings from within Teams and access your team members’ availability via their calendars through the Outlook meeting features, making scheduling meetings with different members really easy and efficient.
Another impressive feature is the ability to add any email you send or receive to the Teams conversation thread. Simply copying or forwarding an email you sent or received to the channel’s email address, the whole email (including any attachments) will be added to the Team channel making it accessible to all team members. Because of this, keeping up to date on team conversations becomes much easier.
|Example of how to automatically forward any email into a Teams channel|
How a Hedge Fund’s or Private Equity Fund’s Deal Team Can Realize Huge Efficiency Benefits with Teams
Deal teams are a very common area where we see a huge amount of challenges in terms of:
- The need for efficient collaboration
- The constant desire for real-time communications, and
- The need to share and collaborate on many documents across several applications and departments in their Funds
In addition, Deal teams are often collaborating on many different deals at one time and need an easy and efficient way to keep them all organized. Historically, tools like Excel and SharePoint have been used to try to manage these processes, but very few tools offer the combination of document management with real-time communication along with the security that deal teams require.
The key question most of our client’s ask is, “how do I use this technology to enhance my business operations?” Here are a few examples of how Microsoft Teams solves the Deal team dilemma:
1. Centralized Document Management – By centralizing all deal team documents into a SharePoint document library and then embedding that SharePoint library within a Teams tab, there is never a need for a Deal team member to leave the Teams application to collaborate and access key documents or start a threaded conversation with co-workers to review a key document such as a Term Sheet or One-Pager. Now that your team can leverage the inherent features of SharePoint Online like versioning and encryption right from Teams, they are more likely to gain huge efficiencies in how they interact with other team members and departments on their documents. Your team can even leverage co-authoring from within Teams which allows multiple people to update the same document in Word for instance at the same time.
A Quick and Easy Solution to Implement
The most compelling aspect of this solution is that Teams leverages applications that your team utilizes today. Microsoft Teams has ultimately created a solution that brings all those applications into a more seamless and efficient collaboration solution. The best part is the time to get setup and running on Teams can happen in a matter of days or weeks, meaning that your team starts working better sooner and sees results that would typically take months or years in older business process management or workflow tools.
Microsoft Teams offers a compelling case for any Hedge or Private Equity fund who is struggling with inefficiencies in any of their key collaboration based processes. The fact that Microsoft’s world-class security infrastructure sits behind Teams means it is far superior to other industry collaboration platforms like Slack to ensure you are meeting the key Financial service regulations around protecting investor and investment data and privacy. The tight integration of the Microsoft suite of tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint means no other company can trump Microsoft’s ability to provide a seamless experience with these applications. FinServ has been working with several Hedge and Private Equity funds to set up their Teams environment, and the firm itself has been using the platform ourselves for several months with great success. For more information on Microsoft Teams or general Office 365 inquiries, please contact email@example.com or (646) 603-3799.
About FinServ Consulting
FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.