SharePoint Modern vs Classic infographic

Recently, more and more of our customers are facing the SharePoint Modern dilemma: Should they adopt SharePoint Online’s new modern user interface and sacrifice control over the branding? Is Modern a mature enough product to roll out to thousands of employees across the globe? To help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, we created this infographic.

SharePoint Modern vs Classic infographic
SharePoint Modern vs Classic infographic

If you would like more info, read the eight things we love about SharePoint Modern pages.


Custom business apps on Office 365 – the art of the possible

Office 365 not only offers an incredible array of tools and services such as SharePoint Online, MS Teams, and Outlook but also acts as a flexible, effective platform to develop and deploy bespoke business apps. These can help employees with specific processes and goals that are unique to your organisation.

What is a bespoke business app?

Many of the Office 365 tools can be used straight out of the box. But some features such as Power BI, PowerApps, Flow and even Azure (not Office 365, strictly speaking) are there to help you build custom capabilities and applications and digitise processes. The app may be based on a configuration, customisation, combination or integration of standard Office 365 applications and services.

Why deploy bespoke business apps?

There are multiple reasons to create bespoke business apps. You can:

  • Create apps to your exact specification
  • Improve a huge variety of processes through automation
  • Digitise processes reliant on email or paper
  • Reduce costs, for example discontinuing subscriptions for SaaS apps and point solutions
  • Help employees get things done in ways that are centred on how they actually work
  • Build apps for mobile so that processes can be done on the move
  • Build completely new capabilities and services, and drive innovation
  • Create apps within the Office 365 environment, all easily accessible via Single Sign-On, and advance your digital workplace
  • Help drive adoption of Office 365 tools and fully leverage your investment in Office 365
  • Help to improve the employee experience for all your workforce, for example by building tools specifically for frontline workers
  • And many more!

What kind of business apps can you build with Office 365?

There are many types of different business app you can build and deploy. At Content Formula weve built and launched multiple types of apps.  For example:

Automation and efficiency

Office 365 provides many opportunities to use automation and workflow, helping to improve processes, drive efficiencies, increase accuracy, minimise risk and more. If you have processes which are currently too reliant on email and file shares, or still even use paper, then there are almost certainly opportunities for automation.  For example, at Praetura, a private equity company, we automated a key process for tracking and assessing opportunities for investment, using workflow and automation to take staff through an eight-stage process.  Meanwhile at Haines Watts we helped to streamline employee onboarding with an onboarding workflow.

Reporting and dashboarding

Power BI is an exciting tool which can produce attractive dashboards and reports, bring together information form multiple sources into one place. Reporting apps can help drive insights which support real-time decision making for management, system owners and more. Weve developed numerous dashboards for clients, as well as reporting dashboards as part of other apps.

Content, knowledge and learning

Some apps are created to better manage content, knowledge or learning resources, and provide access for employees. For example, we built a powerful bespoke central policy library that was suited to the specific needs of the Institute of Cancer Research.  Chatbots can also help connect employees to content and knowledge.


Office 365 has a stack of collaboration tools including Yammer, Teams and Team Sites. There are  many possibilities to customise these to suit your processes and ways of working. For example, we added a unique knowledge management solution to Microsoft Teams for !What If?, allowing teams to easily share the most valuable documents containing knowledge from projects.

Mobile solutions

Sometimes business apps based on Office 365 can be designed specifically for mobile devices, particularly if the target audience are frontline or mobile employees who might not have easy access to a computer during the day. For example, Content Formula has developed a mobile news app for field workers. Thanks to Microsoft’s own mobile apps for Flow and PowerApps it’s become very easy to deploy custom mobile apps.

Core operational systems

Sometimes an app goes beyond being an app; its so central to what your organisation and employees do its really a core system. With our award-winning work for property company Moving Made Easy, we created an entire digital workplace designed around the different stages of selling a property, replacing a creaking legacy system, driving significant headcount efficiencies with integration and automation, and even creating new opportunities to innovate their service.

Customer apps

Although most business apps for Office 365 tend to be for employees, its also possible to develop apps that impact customers.  For example, in our work for Moving Made Easy, our solution output PDF reports that are automatically sent to customers. There are now plans to extend the system for direct customer access.

Enhance existing tools

Sometimes you want to use tools from the Office 365 suite, but perhaps they dont quite work in the right way for you. Sometimes a little customisation can go a long way and really add value. For example, we enhanced the use of Microsoft Teams for innovation company What If? so that spaces can be automatically archived and aligned to the companys project management methodology.

Approaches for developing your business app strategy

There are no hard and fast rules to developing your strategy, but here are a few successful approaches weve observed based on our work with clients:

Base your strategy on user and stakeholder research

A strategy for your apps should be based on thorough user and stakeholder research which reveals how people work and their pain points. At Content Formula we carry out our discovery process involving user and stakeholder interviews and workshops, so we get a thorough understanding of the problems we are trying to solve.

Identify obvious opportunities

Usually within any organisation there are some obvious opportunities where an app can make a significant difference. A typical example might be a process which is primarily carried out by email or even manually. Perhaps there is an activity where users must enter different systems to complete tasks or get information.

Sometimes these opportunities might prove to be low hanging fruit where an app can quickly and easily resolve user frustrations or save time. Prioritising straightforward, high value apps that touch a lot of people can demonstrate the power of Office 365 to stakeholders and users and give a wider programme of transformation some momentum.

Align your business app strategy to company and digital workplace strategy

A strategy for your business apps doesnt exist in a vacuum. It needs to align with your wider company strategy but also your more specific digital workplace or Office 365 strategy in order to deliver value, drive adoption and make sure it meets any necessary standards.

Chase widespread value

Some apps are likely to deliver more value than others. Despite it being tempting to design a specific app which might be very clever, it usually makes sense prioritising solutions which have the most widespread value. For example, apps that:

  • cover core or critical activities, for example relating to customers
  • impact a wide number of people
  • deliver considerable time or cost savings
  • enable other potential digital workplace solutions or apps
  • help to eliminate or reduce critical risks.
  • drive or enforce compliance

Build more complex apps in phases

Sometimes more critical apps can evolve into more complex systems, but it can be worth delivering these in phases so you can start to gain value from them and learn about their usage. Its not always advantageous to build too much complexity when youre starting out, and you may want to wrap this into your strategy.

Work iteratively and learn as you go

Most organisations find they learn a lot about how to get the best out of Office 365 once they see it deployed and being used. Taking a more iterative approach to app development can help you to spot opportunities but also get insights into how to develop tools and incorporate more user feedback. If you want to customise Microsoft Teams for an app, learning how Teams is already being used gives you an advantage.

Dont just recreate whats gone before

The digital workplace tools within Office 365 can help you to design completely new ways of doing things. If your app strategy is just redesigning processes in a slightly more efficient way using Office 365, you may be missing out on some exciting opportunities.

Its all about the apps!

Office 365 provides an exceptional platform to build compelling bespoke business apps to help your employees and your organisation. If youd like to talk about your business apps strategy for Office 365 then get in touch with us.


Webinar – Driving business productivity with Microsoft Teams and PowerApps


Register now!

Microsoft Teams has become very popular with our customers and there is a lot of interest in getting the greatest possible value out of it. As companies begin to get to grips with the basic features, a natural next step is to integrate Teams with other systems and provide a seamless digital employee experience – the kind that really drives adoption.

Teams is well positioned to take advantage of integrations because it has a tabs area that can be used to embed other apps. There are apps for all of the Office 365 features like Stream and Power BI, but also popular non Microsoft products like Confluence and Asana.

Where there is no off-the-shelf solution, you can create bespoke apps using PowerApps and embed them within Teams. This could be something as simple as collecting information using a form, or a sophisticated piece of software.

In this webinar we will:

  • Show you how to add apps to Teams
  • Show you some examples of PowerApps embedded in Teams that drive business process
  • Answer your questions about how Teams can be extended with apps

Register now!

Wizdom acquired by LiveTiles

Wizdom, top-rated intranet solution provider built on SharePoint and Office 365, has been acquired 100% by LiveTiles.

With the agreement the Wizdom team of 65 employees look forward to becoming part of LiveTiles globally and taking advantage of the positive synergies between the two companies that help organisations realise more value from their existing technology investments. This means providing customers and partners with a wider product offering, a better global support and even more innovative products which combine the full technology stack from two market-leading companies.

Wizdom and LiveTiles offer highly complementary products focused on providing customers with intelligent technology solutions. And with the deal, Wizdom is excited to be joining forces with the LiveTiles team and believe that both companies will be able to leverage their respective customer footprints, established partnerships and sales and marketing channels to drive rapid growth across both businesses.

Combined with a strong interest for LiveTiles existing AI capabilities from Wizdoms customer base, this will provide Wizdom with immediate cross-selling opportunities and a compelling product offering to attract new customers.

The deal between Wizdom and LiveTiles is expected to be fully completed in mid-February 2019.

About LiveTiles:
LiveTiles is a global software company headquartered in New York, with operations in Seattle, Tri-Cities (Washington State), San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, North Carolina, Rochester, London, Sligo, Amsterdam, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Geelong and Hobart. LiveTiles offers intelligent workplace software for the commercial, government and education markets, and is an award-winning Microsoft Partner. LiveTiles products comprise LiveTiles Intelligent Workplace, LiveTiles Design, LiveTiles Bots, LiveTiles Intelligence, LiveTiles for SAP Software, LiveTiles MX, LiveTiles Mosaic and Hyperfish. LiveTiles customers represent a diverse range of sectors and are spread throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Learn more about LiveTiles here.

LiveTiles Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) announcement link.


The original article was published here

Video – Integrating Microsoft Teams and SharePoint to automate business processes

We recently helped drive business processes of an investment firm by integrating Microsoft Teams with SharePoint Online. Essentially we built an application based on Office 365 features that models their process of evaluating businesses that they are considering making an investment in.

The opportunities are tracked in SharePoint and SharePoint controls the creation of Teams – also populating the Teams with new channels and template documents. This helps the business to ensure that the correct process is followed when evaluating opportunities for investment.

If you are interested in getting help with Office 365 including Teams and SharePoint then get in touch

How an in-a-box intranet meets specific business requirements

Intranets meet many different needs. An intranet helps to deliver Internal communications, content publishing, collaboration, support for customer services, onboarding, document management, HR self-service, learning, enterprise search, a front door to help employees navigate the wider digital workplace and more.

To a certain extent the needs around these different areas are similar from organisation to organisation, and subsequently intranets deployed in different organisations have similar capabilities. Its also why some of the core features of intranet in-a-box products like Wizdom are relatively similar for example in how news publishing is dealt with and is displayed.

When you have very specific requirements

The problem often comes when you want to meet the very specific requirements for your organisation. Perhaps you run your onboarding in a slightly different way to other companies or perhaps your project management methodology is unique to you? Perhaps you use a combination of different systems for one process or perhaps you have a creaking legacy system you built in-house which means employees complete tasks in a certain way?

Perhaps you have some very complex workflows and approvals for your content? Or perhaps you have a stubborn stakeholder who wants things done in a certain way? Maybe you need to have some unique branding on your intranet or different parts of your organisation do different things in different ways.

In most large or complex organisations, it is extremely likely that you will want to have some digital workplace or intranet feature that is unique to the way you operate.

Should you customise?

Sometimes when you need your intranet or digital workplace to deviate from the standard way of doing things, there is a perception that the intranet product wont  quite do exactly what you want. Thats when some organisations decide they need to customise a solution or even build their own to meet specific needs.

Customisation has some advantages in that you can meet your exact requirements, but it is expensive, means the implementation must be closely managed, has more risks and, crucially, means it is far harder to upgrade. In our view, it is better to buy than build. It also means you might not be able to take advantage of all the efficiency, usability and productivity advantages of an in-a-box product like Wizdom, especially when it is combined with a cloud platform like Office 365. For these reasons, many IT departments tend to avoid customisation if they can.

The result of avoiding customisation is that there can be tension when an IT department wants to implement a standard solution, and local stakeholders or groups of employees want to have highly customised solutions which meet their individual needs.

Sometimes is it possible for employees to change the way they work, but overall the best possible solution is when you have a highly flexible and configurable intranet and digital workplace which meets local or unique business requirements and avoids the negative associations of customisation. We often encounter perceptions that this cannot be done, but with the right product and approach, this is perfectly possible.

For example, a typical (and very powerful) combination of products is the use of Wizdom and Office 365 together. Together, were confident that they can solve the vast majority of very specific, individual intranet and digital workplace requirements.

Lets look at five ways this happens.

1. Range of features

One of the key strengths of combining Office 365 and Wizdom is the sheer breadth of capabilities and range of tools available for employees to use, meeting a variety of different needs and use cases across your organisation. In fact, its unlikely you will use all the functionality on offer, but these tools provide many options to provide a sophisticated digital workplace as new needs emerge.

For example, Office 365 alone has various options for messaging and collaboration for individuals, small teams, wider communities, project teams, those who want to collaborate on documents, and many more use cases.

Meanwhile Wizdom supports intranet publishing and internal communications for both your entire organisation and local departments. You can also establish a central policy library, manage events, provide access to learning resources, use a ticketing system for logging issues and more.  You really will be able to meet most of the requirements across your organisation.

2. Configuration of individual features

As well as the range of features available, each of the tools is also generally configurable to give as much flexibility as possible. For example, the range of different options in Wizdom allows you to build the intranet homepage you actually want with specific features and corporate branding, or to introduce the collaboration site that fully supports your project methodology.

Also, because there is the ability to introduce personalisation and content targeting, it means you can deliver targeted, relevant experiences for different audiences within your organisation, incorporating different sub-brands if necessary.

3. Wizdoms extensibility engine

We also know that there is always going to be some tweaking to standard functionality which users and organisations need and where products cannot meet every eventuality. Because of this, weve built Wizdom in such a way that it is possible to customise some elements of the product without impacting the long-term viability of the platform; you can still carry out upgrades.

While we believe the core tools of the platform will meet around 90 percent of user needs, Wizdoms extensibility engine means you can customise the last 10 percent you need and have a solution which exactly meets your requirements, but still safely evolve your digital workplace.

4. Integration with the wider digital workplace

Delivering a more integrated experience across different systems is a common direction of travel for advanced intranets and digital workplaces. This can involve a great deal of customisation, but at Wizdom we can easily integrate with the rest of the Office 365 suite, including Microsoft Teams and modern SharePoint sites. Your intranet becomes an integrated digital workplace experience.

5. Keeping up with emerging needs

There are always emerging needs within organisations caused by organisational changes, new services, the increased expectation of users and the release of new digital capabilities which are now commercially available.  Often intranet and digital workplace teams have requirements to meet these needs quickly, but find their intranet is not ready or able to do this.

One of the key advantages of Office 365 combined with an in a box product like Wizdom is that it can meet these emergent needs, either through the release of new tools within the Office 365 suite which can then be integrated seamlessly into your intranet, or through features within the intranet which have been introduced on the back of direct feedback from customers. This means your intranet is effectively up-to-date and future-proofed as an ever-expanding true digital workplace.

Meeting your requirements

Were confident that Wizdom, when combined with Office 365, can deliver most of the requirements of your business, even if they are highly specific to the way you work. You dont necessarily need to customise and if you do our extensibility engine means it can be done in a managed way.

If youve ever felt worried that an in-a-box product wont meet the very specific way your organisation works, then think again; it can be done.

The original article was published here

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our site. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find more about the cookies, please see our Cookie notice.

You can also read our privacy policy.