SFNFCI Invests in Collaboration System called M365

The Saskatchewan First Nations Family and Community Institute is preparing to implement M365 in the summer of 2021.  Upgrading to the M365 system is in alignment with our Strategic Priority 6: Operations Expansion to Accommodate Growth. Implementing a new system also aligns to our organizational value of humility – acknowledging that we need to learn more about how to better support staff and those we work with.  M365 has multiple abilities to assist us in moving forward as we expand what we do, how we do it, and those we serve. 

What is M365 and how is it different than Office 365?

M365, is a cloud-based, subscription suite that encompasses Office and other productivity apps, cloud services, device management, and security for a complete and interconnected experience. M365 enhances the ability for workers to collaborate in real-time helping to increase efficiencies and productivity.

One of the collaboration applications M365 uses is Microsoft Teams. 

Many people have become familiar with Microsoft Teams as a virtual meeting platform to help people continue meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Teams is much more than just a one-time virtual meeting platform.  Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app that helps your team stay organized and have conversations—all in one place. Here's a quick summary of Microsoft Teams features.

Teams - Find channels to belong to or create your own. Inside channels you can hold on-the-spot meetings, have conversations, and share files.

Meetings - See everything you’ve got lined up for the day or week. Or, schedule a meeting. This calendar syncs with your Outlook calendar.

Calls - In some cases, if your organization has it set up, you can call anyone from Teams, even if they’re not using Teams.

Activity - Catch up on all your unread messages, @mentions, replies, and more.

Microsoft Teams may help to reduce the number of emails being sent as information can be centralized to one Team and/or collaboration meeting channel.

How is SFNFCI preparing for implementation and ensuring success?

  1. SFNFCI has identified 3 staff to be the M365 implementation and governance committee.

  1. SFNFCI has contracted an M365 specialist to help us with our needs assessment, requirements gathering and recommending governance policy rules for back of house security, data management standards and permission-based access by job position type. 

  1. Together the SFNFCI M365 implementation and governance committee with the M365 contractor and the SFNFCI IT security contractor will design the back of house security features and document policies required for launch and on-going implementation.

  1. SFNFCI has identified 2 staff that will be the SFNFCI M365 Champions.  The role of these staff is to become the superusers of all the M365 app’s and to meet weekly or every 2 weeks to review notifications, updates, and security patches that M365 has pushed out for the week.  These champions will then review the information, create key communication for SFNFCI staff and provide links to any videos or tutorials on the SFNFCI M365 Central dashboard. These M365 Champions will also receive training from the external M365 Consultant that was hired.

  2. Starting in June all SFNFCI staff will have training sessions on all the new M365 apps and receive training on how to request a Team from the M365 implementation and governance committee. 

  1. After training is received, SFNFCI will determine the types of teams to create and how the teams’ owners will be.  Each team created will have a primary and secondary team owner as part of a best practice to help with administration of the team in the event there is staff turnover. SFNFCI Teams owners will have the responsibility of creating materials in the team, inviting others to the team (both internal to SFNFCI and external guests that are not part of the SFNFCI workplace), and managing the external guests accounts (adding and removing members to the team along with setting document sharing security such as view only, editing ability, and ability to print, download or share with others).  Once staff are trained they can fill in a document to request the set up of a team from the SFNFCI M365 implementation committee.

How will the implementation of M365 change the way SFNFCI staff do things?

  1. Collaboration - The ability to collaborate in real-time with many users on one document will change how we currently work with a document.  Currently only one person can open a document, work on it, save it and others can have read-only access while that document.  This will change once we go live with M365 as many users can work on a document at the same time and it is automatically saved.  This may need to be coordinated and a document owner may need to be identified.

  1. File Management and Sharing - Another change is how we create and save files.  For example, we currently either create a new word document, or find a file in our shared drive and make changes to it, and then save it back in the shared drive possibly with an updated version name. With M365 a new document will be created or saved in a person’s OneDrive. Once the document is ready for sharing it will move to a Team or Channel, and possibly within another app such as OneNote (like a penda flex binder but digital), and once the document is completed and there will be no more changes it is sent to a SharePoint repository as it’s final resting place.  It can still be accessed but this transitory file system is different than our current file management system. 

SFNFCI staff recognize we have a lot to learn and look forward to this journey and implementation plan that will help shift the way we work as we grow and develop.

For more information contact:

Tischa Mason, Executive Director

Tischa@sfnfci.ca or 306-270-3159

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