Workplace employees could also be an apparent audience for Microsoft Groups, however components of the collaboration platform have additionally been tailor-made for front-line staff, reminiscent of retail employees, discipline technicians and hospital employees. On Wednesday, Microsoft unveiled a handful of new features geared toward supporting employees in these roles — retail specifically — together with the power to publish job lists to particular groups throughout a company.
Typically missed with regards to spending on digital instruments, front-line employees sometimes spend much less time at a desk and their major computing machine is extra more likely to be a smartphone reasonably than a laptop computer. It’s a massive market: there are greater than 2 billion such employees globally, Microsoft claims, and Groups has acquired a number of updates lately to cater to these on the fringe of their group.
Earlier rollouts included a push-to-talk walkie-talkie operate for smartphones, a WhatsApp-like messaging app dubbed Kaizala, and the Shifts app for coordinating employee schedules — all obtainable as a part of devoted Groups subscriptions for front-line employees.
Among the many options added this week is one which lets administration groups create and publish duties in Microsoft Duties, the devoted work administration app in Groups. The duty-publishing characteristic permits managers to create lists of actions which might be disseminated to employees at — as an illustration — regional shops, outlining work that must be carried out in every location.
The characteristic may help in a company-wide rebranding train, based on one use case supplied up by Microsoft.
“Management for a nationwide retailer can, for instance, create duties concerning the show wanted for the reopening of their shops, connect a planogram to the duty, ship that listing to solely the affected retailer areas, after which monitor progress towards the assigned job,” Emma Williams, a company vp at Microsoft, famous in a Microsoft blog post.
Managers can then evaluation the lists and assign particular person duties to retailer employees. Employees can entry Groups on a cell machine and mark duties as full and fix images when required.
The characteristic is indicative of Microsoft’s continued concentrate on Groups as a platform for front-line or first line employees, mentioned Angela Ashenden, a principal analyst at CCS Perception.
“The corporate is focusing on eventualities the place front-line employees presently depend on handbook or advert hoc strategies, serving to them to co-ordinate work in a extra centralized and clear manner, giving people extra visibility and management,” Ashenden mentioned. “The brand new job publishing functionality is a superb instance of this, and dovetails nicely with the shift administration and group communications capabilities which might be already within the product.”
Additionally introduced on Wednesday is the general availability of automated approvals, which streamline the sign-off course of for requests inside Groups, in addition to the power to tag @mentions utilizing shifts (reminiscent of @onshiftmanagers), and integration with workforce administration software program from Blue Yonder and Zebra Applied sciences.