https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2018/08/08/helping-others-make-the-most-of-online-tools/

Helping others make the most of online tools

Victor, Bharti, and Anu from the digital collaboration team
Victor, Bharti, and Anu from the digital collaboration team

We're a small team of three but we work with everyone from MPs and Lords to office staff in Parliament. We're also on first names terms with people at Microsoft. You might not have heard of digital collaboration specialists or know what we do, so we've written this blog post to introduce the team.

Finding flexibility

To sum us up in one sentence: we work with staff in Parliament to find a flexible way of using the tools that we have. These are mainly Office 365 and SharePoint Online.

There's no such thing as a regular day for us but most days we respond to issues and support staff in using the tools available to them. We also support a lot of programmes and projects in Parliament. Currently, we're turning paper forms into online versions and supporting the Office 365 Programme in migrating all users and their data into the cloud. We also have to make sure our skills are up-to-date, as Microsoft products and services are always changing.

To keep on top of everything, we monitor Microsoft's Office 365 Roadmap to help us prepare for the new functionalities they're bringing on board. We also work towards continuous improvement, preparing for new products/services, and escalating issues to the right people.

It's a varied job and our skills are always being stretched. People want services that may not be available yet so it's about finding the right tool can help people do their jobs now. We need to able to quickly understand staff needs and the online tools that can help. Speaking to Microsoft regularly to find out the status of their products and services means we're well placed to advise, plus we get the chance to help shape products as we're an important customer for them.

We get trained regularly in new Microsoft products and use LinkedIn to communicate with others in the same industry as us. We're also part of an external group which meets quarterly to share experiences about Office 365.

Communicating inside and outside of work

As we're a small team, communication between us is really important. We have weekly catch ups, a WhatsApp group, lunches and pub outings together so we keep in touch inside and outside of work. We also play the lottery together, so Parliament will be in trouble if we win! The team is diverse with a wide variety of backgrounds which is helpful as we all bring a different perspective to an issue.

The challenging part of our job is when the tools that we support don't get used in the way we would like them to be as it brings more questions and uncertainty for the user. But that's one of the reasons why it's important for us to have a good relationship with everyone - from senior management to Microsoft.

The best thing about the job is showing someone something that they couldn't do previously. It's really fulfilling and helps users meet their objectives. We also love meeting different people who work in Parliament as it makes us feel connected and part of this great organisation.

Interested in working in PDS? Take a look at our current vacancies

Leave a comment