Team Email is Dead - Long Live Teams
How to Win a Tender with 4 Emails!!
Let’s be honest, sadly old-fashioned conversation is a dying skill, replaced by faceless emails, copied to everybody and his dog and soon gets out of control. What might have started as an email in relation to a critical team/project issue ends up with an agreement as to a tee time for a swift 18 holes after work on Friday.
That nightmare should now be a thing of the past, bring on Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft refers to Teams as “the hub for teamwork in Office 365”, what does that mean? Well actually an awful lot and in this blog I am going to use a real life example of how Teams ensured we at TSG met a critical deadline for a tender response.
We had previously discussed the tenderer’s requirements and in accordance with procurement rules were informed that a RFI would be posted on a government portal and we would be notified of that.
Imagine our surprise some time later when we received a call from the client concerned that with only 1 hour to the deadline we had yet to submit. It turned out they had omitted us from the final invitation email, disaster!!
We were subsequently given 10 days to submit a response when the original respondents had 1 month, it was going to be all hands on deck.
A Skype for Business kick-off call was hastily arranged to agree responsibilities, assign tasks etc. The call was attended by colleagues from several office locations and I was on a train from Newcastle to Edinburgh. While the call was in progress we spun up a new Team in Microsoft Teams to act as the hub for collaboration, content and communication, all done at 120mph somewhere in the Scottish Borders, impressive.
An integrated OneNote environment was added to provide a quick way of capturing those lightbulb moments along with a Microsoft Planner Plan to allocate user tasks and keep track of progress. In summary within 5 minutes of hitting the ‘Go’ button we had a central collaboration hub setup providing IM, voice call, video call, file management, notes and tasks, available to all team members regardless of device or location.
Tender files uploaded, the real work got under way.
So how did we collaborate?
1. Conversations replaced emails, @mentions and importance notified users of critical content.
2. Teams meetings were used along the critical path to gauge progress and content.
3. Planner Tasks ensured the Bid Manager had full exposure of progress and any delays.
4. Integrated SharePoint co-authoring functionality allowed multiple users to edit a single document in tandem while full traceability was provided by the built-in version control.
What was really impressive, and massively time saving was at one point we had 4 editors and 2 proof readers working on a single document real-time, pretty impressive stuff.
Only 4 emails were used on the entire response:
Email 1 – Email from the client with tender documents attached - this email was forwarded to the Microsoft Teams environment and automatically saved to the Files area, attachments included.
Email 2 – Email to client from TSG requesting clarification on some requirements - this email was cc’d to the Microsoft Teams environment and automatically saved to the Files area attachments included.
Email 3 - Email from the client responding to our request for clarification - this email was forwarded to the Microsoft Teams environment and automatically saved to the Files area, attachments included.
Email 4 – TSG response to the client with tender documents attached – again this email was cc’d to the Microsoft Teams environment and automatically saved to the Files area, attachments included.
I guess you are asking “that’s all good, but did you win the tender?”, well let’s just say the final image on the last conversation thread was……
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"The Office 365 workshop was extremely valuable, and I learnt a great deal about how to maximise the software... I would highly recommend this workshop to my colleagues, and to other organisations using 365 or looking to make the transition."
Margot Rayner, Marketing and Events Coordinator, The Chartered Banker Institute