News & Insights

 
ActionPoint News22nd August 2019

How Microsoft 365 Can Help Eliminate Challenges Faced by Credit Unions – Part 1: Internal Communication

Introduction

The way in which organisations communicate internally is going through a major period of transformation. Multiple locations, remote working and office restructuring means that the nature of how companies conduct meetings, share information and collaborate on projects is rapidly changing. 

There are few sectors in Ireland that are witnessing this transformation more than Credit Unions. This is due, in part, to the growing trend of mergers within the industry. Approximately 154 mergers have taken place in the last decade, with 135 said to have taken place since 2013 alone. Figures also show that the decade’s restructuring has resulted in the total number of smaller credit unions being reduced by over 50% which is inversely proportionate to the number of large facilities, which have almost doubled. If this widespread reshuffle hasn’t yet affected your branch, there is every chance it will in the future.  

At ActionPoint we have seen this development first-hand as many of our credit union clients have either joined forces with neighbouring branches or become part of a larger division. In February of 2019, the Central Bank championed the development and suggested that credit union boards should consider the opportunities that mergers can bring, particularly in terms of membership, engagement and growing lending capabilities.  

A Positive Development That Brings New Challenges

The growing trend of mergers was encouraged by high compliance costs, high cost-to-income ratios, a desire to offer customers more services, and a growing need to invest in IT systems. In this regard, the trend has been overwhelmingly positive. However, the development has presented new challenges in terms of in-house communication. Larger offices and a need to communicate across multiple branch locations means that old processes or ways in which workers collaborate with one another is becoming inefficient, even obsolete.  

This is where Microsoft Teams, a fundamental part of Office 365, comes in. Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based internal communication platform that combines workplace chat, group video meetings, file sharing, and Microsoft Office application integration. Every member of your organisation can work within Teams to create an online workplace.  

Microsoft Teams allows credit unions to become more efficient, collaborative and productive. It also eradicates many of the communication challenges that are part of the modern workplace. As multi-branch communication becomes more commonplace, Teams provides the ultimate solution.  

 

Microsoft Teams allows Credit Unions to become more efficient, collaborative and productive.

 

Customise Teams to Fit Your Credit Union

Every branch is different, and your Teams environment can reflect this. One of the fundamental parts of the platform is the ability to create distinct channels based on projects, departments or specialist areas. For example, you might have a customer service channel that focuses primarily on matters relevant to customer queries, current issues or information relevant only to customer-facing staff. Team members are then invited individually to each channel and can exchange ideas within those channels.  

Channels provide a means by which specific individuals can work on projects together in a private forum. Within Teams, you can also tailor workspaces to include apps and services relevant to individuals in that side of the business. Further customisation can be done through pinning important files to specific channels for quick and easy access.  

A More Efficient Means of Holding Calls, Meetings, 1-to-1s and Ongoing Discussion 

Routinely scheduled progress meetings, collaboration sessions and team updates are an essential part of business. This is especially important when face-to-face interactions are limited, and employees are working from differing locations. Through Teams, organisations can hold groups or 1-to-1 meetings with colleagues and outside partners.  

Meetings or conference calls are held in an online meeting room. These voice or video experiences are powered by Skype and can be recorded to reference at a later date. During meetings, participants can share screens, present PowerPoint decks or invite instant feedback through file sharing. Online meetings can be accessed from anywhere on phones, laptops or tablets. Teams is the perfect medium for holding board meetings, committee meetings or staff training sessions.  

Outside of conference calls, users can engage in persistent, threaded chats, whether in private or with the group. The ongoing discussion allows for a more collaborate workplace environment and helps build team culture.  

Improved Collaboration and Teamwork on Important Projects

Sharing files and collaborating on documents is transformed within Teams. As a Microsoft 365 user, you have access to a fleet of productivity tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint and OneNote. All of these tools, along with Outlook, are integrated with Teams.  

This means that team members can share files, access information and provide feedback in real time. This opens up more time for productivity as team members don’t need to toggle between applications. It also moves your team away from long and confusing email threads. Instead the entire conversation can flow in the one group chat window. 

Security and Compliance

For every credit union, security and compliance is an ongoing concern.  Thankfully, Microsoft Teams benefits from the Office 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade cloud, providing users with advanced security and compliance capabilities.  

  • All data encrypted from end-to-end. 
  • Built-in information protection with eDiscovery and audit.  
  • Multi-factor authentication process with a secure guest-access process.  
  • Compliance leadership with EUMC, HIPAA & more. 

Creating a More Connected Work Environment  

No matter your organisational structure, Microsoft Teams is bringing offices closer together than ever before. For credit unions in transition, this is incredibly reassuring and helps to compound the benefits of mergers.  

Teams is only one of a number of ways that Microsoft 365 can enhance internal communication for credit unions. To find out more about Teams and other ways in which Microsoft 365 can help eliminate challenges faced by credit unions, contact us at https://actionpoint.ie/contact/