Microsoft 365 is like a treasure chest, full of delights waiting to be discovered.
Most practices get it just to access Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams. And then they discover there are so many other apps included.
Find the right ones and you can save time, increase productivity and motivation, and create a smoother workflow for everyone in your practice. With more of us working remotely, that’s never been more important.
But finding the right apps to suit your practice isn’t always easy. There are literally hundreds to choose from.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone wrote a guide to the best hidden apps in 365?
Boom. That’s what we’ve done. Here are the 10 Microsoft 365 apps we think every veterinary practice should look closely at.
There are lots of project planning apps available. Think Asana, Trello, Monday, Basecamp etc. But for us, Planner stands out.
It’s easy to use and comprehensive. You can use it to make plans and manage whole projects. For each task you create a team (think Partners, Admin, Veterinary Nurses etc), then you can create to do lists, and assign tasks to members. It even plots charts so you can see how close to completion each project is.
And it integrates with other apps to allow direct file sharing and add tasks to your calendars too. Genius.
Do you make appointments or schedule meetings with your team, suppliers, or advisors? If so, look at Bookings.
It allows you to schedule appointments with anyone. Send invites where the recipient can select a time and date that suits them best and customise the booking. Then it’s automatically added to your Outlook calendar.
You can also use Bookings to add Teams meeting links. And even embed it into a webpage, which we have seen used as part of an “Ask a Vet” campaign.
Ever find yourself repeating the same actions over and over again? Power Automate can automate these tasks for you, saving you loads of time.
Power Automate connects to lots of the other Microsoft 365 apps you might be using. It creates workflows using the actions you use most often. It can also inform other apps of changes you’ve made, sync files, and even post messages to Teams when a new task is created in Planner.
Because it’s all automated, it means your team will be happier – they’re not having to repeat the same actions over and over again. And the risk of human error is removed.
This has been hailed as the leader in the no-code revolution. It gives your people the tools they need to create apps that improve their working lives.
Power Apps can take away the manual entry of data, and push out updates to your team’s smartphones, so they stay updated wherever they are.
It’s similar to Power Automate, in that it creates automated workflows, but it’s more involved. You can implement the logic and workflows created in Power Automate, create your own templates, or build it yourself. And you can use it on the web, on mobiles and even embed in Teams or SharePoint.
You can also use this to create an app for your business, without the expense or timescale of using a developer. Almost anyone in your practice could use this easily.
SharePoint is essentially an intranet for your veterinary practice. It’s a really popular way to share resources, webpages, and news on a large scale.
It’s completely customisable, so you can use your practice logo and colour scheme, and make it look exactly as you want it to.
SharePoint is a little like Teams, but it doesn’t have a teamwork or project work focus. However, the two apps can work together to make keeping everyone updated even easier.
Essentially, this is Facebook for businesses. It’s an internal communication platform.
It’s similar to Slack and Discord, yet it has more of a Facebook-style feed, so it feels more familiar to use. It can be integrated with Teams, meaning your people can dip in and out of conversations easily. But it’s more of a company-wide sharing platform.
You can use it to create polls, give news updates, and start discussions. It’s great for building a community feel in your workplace, which is especially important for larger practices or practices that have more than one site.
This one is a PowerPoint-lite, with a bit of Canva thrown in for good measure.
With Sway, you can create presentations, newsletters and other documents quickly and efficiently, then share them within the practice and with your clients.
The great thing about Sway is that you can pull content from any online source, and whatever you produce looks professional without spending loads of time on it.
It’s best used for presentations that the viewer guides themselves through, rather than one that you would present. So it could be used for your practice newsletters, brochures, and reports.
Oh, and it’s optimised for mobile.
As the name may suggest, Stream is your practice’s answer to YouTube.
It’s an internal video sharing platform, where you can upload, share and create videos.
You can organise your content into channels, share it easily and with anyone you need to, and there’s also a lot of storage space. It also works well with Yammer, SharePoint, and Teams (to name a few), to make your content even more relevant and accessible.
Who doesn’t love a good organised to do list?
To Do (formerly Wunderlist) allows you to create lists, track and prioritise tasks and organise different areas of your practice.
You can see at a glance what’s been completed and what still needs to be done (and by whom). You can add notes to give someone a nudge, or to add information about certain actions and attachments. And of course share your lists with anyone you need to.
Again, it works well with lots of other Microsoft 365 apps for easier information sharing and updates. And it’s available on both desktop and mobile.
It’s really helpful if you know how people are using your website.
If you know what they’re clicking on, and more importantly what they’re not engaging with, you can change your website so it performs even better.
That’s what Clarity allows you to do. You can see heat maps of the pages and sections where people spend the most time. And even replay videos of what people did on your website.
This information really is invaluable, especially when you consider your website is usually the first impression you give to your prospective customers.
So there we have it. Our 10 current favourite hidden apps inside Microsoft 365. Some of these are included in your subscription, and some you’ll need to pay for. You can usually get a free trial on them before you make a commitment. And if you use the apps as they’re designed to be used, you should find they’re an investment rather than a cost.
Want to have a discussion about making more of Microsoft 365 in your practice? Get in touch with us.