• Gavin Jones

Microsoft 365 Personal Productivity Dashboard 📈


If you are struggling to use all the apps in Microsoft 365, or even know what apps are available, then this is for you.


In this video, I am joined by Nico De Jong to look at Ichicraft boards which acts as a starting point, to be your digital workspace, bringing everything together for personal productivity right into Teams.


There is a big trend towards making things accessible "in the flow of work" and these widgets from Ichicraft might help you move towards this vision.


Let me know what you think - I'll be hanging out in the comments 💬


If you want to find out more about Ichicraft, please mention MeeTime to help support the channel: 👩‍💻 Website

🛠 Free Trial

🙋‍♂️ Nico on LinkedIn

- If you're struggling to use all the apps in Microsoft 365 or even know what apps are available then this is the video for you. I've got Nico joining me from Ichicraft, where he's going to show us some widget boards, which bring everything together into one digital workspace. So by the end of this video, you'll know what Ichicraft widgets are, what they look like and all the benefits that they can bring to you and your organization. I've got new videos on Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 coming out every Tuesday so make sure to hit the subscribe button and the bell icon to get notified every time I release a new video. I'm Gavin Jones, a former transformation manager for a fortune 500 company, and now hub organizations of any size with modern workplace transformations. If you're interested in working together or even just getting the most out of Ichicrafts boards. If you like the look of those, then stick around until the end, some details about how we might be able to work together. Nico welcome, I guess for people that don't know you, tell me a little bit about yourself and your current role at Ichicrafts.


- Thank you for having me, Gavin. My name is Nico de Jong. I'm Dutch based in the Netherlands. And as you said working for Ichicrafts, we build software on top of Microsoft, specifically Microsoft 365. I joined itchy crafts at the beginning of this year in a role of channel management and business development. I'm mostly looking after expanding our partner network. I hope to get more partners across the UK, the US and of course, as well the Nordics. That's basically my role.


- And I guess for people that never heard of Ichicrafts, how would you describe what you do? You mentioned widgets but what does Ichicrafts do?


- The widgets actually form a personal productivity hub. People get to select their widgets and the content in the widgets. And it sort of puts Microsoft 365 at people's fingertips, personal learning page. And, you know, that's something that's sort of missing in Microsoft 365. There's nothing as such that really identifies Microsoft 365 as a digital workplace. And that's where we fit in. The other way that we actually were sort of born out of a project that we were doing for a particular client. So how can you make the digital workplace more relevant and more engaging and out of various design thinking sessions, the idea of these widgets that you can adapt to your needs. Were born bringing together all that value of that Microsoft 365 platform, because a lot of value in there, but know how do you get it out and really get it into the hands of your users? That's enormous challenge and that's actually why we positioned our tool and our value.

- So I guess with that, do you wanna show us what the widget splits looks like?


- Oh yeah, sure. So I'm actually in Microsoft teams right here. And if we look across the interface then, I am already a avid user or Diego actually is already an avid user of different teams apps down here. But this of course somewhat limited space, but what do we bring to, to the users actually sits down here where Diego is welcomed and Diego gets a couple of messages at the top of the most important things. And these messages actually come from the Microsoft 365 ecosystem to us, but they also come from the fact that I've placed particular widgets, on this board as we see down here. We see widgets for Diego's inbox and upcoming meetings, tasks, news, and every widget that has something to notify does that up here. Now Diego has his board all set up, but he can come in and change things to his liking. So, let's say I mean, if we talk about a thing like personal productivity, most people still work in their you know, inboxes. They run something with tasks, meetings are important, you know, Diego can come in and organize these things on the page, in a fashion that he likes that he prefers. So maybe giving more room to the tasks or less room to the calendar. And when he hovers over these different items he easily gets a view into what that item is. In this case its a meeting. So a teams meeting. He's able to join a teams meeting right from here without leaving this, you know, this, this context. And that's really important about this tool because they're giving context information, things like files that are attached to this meeting or in an inbox, should I flag this for later use? Can I sort of archive this item? Now if I have a quick task to note. Talk to Gavin, as I'm doing now, you can almost immediately have that off my list here soon, but it's instant right there. Here, you're staying in context. So if you get those to do's, you get to add them and take them off the list, but or you can also get your planner items in there from the different planner boards also to be done in the flow of work. And that's really important than, you know, you can get these things done in the flow of work. As news is brought in, you click into the news, you see those items, you close it down, you're back where you started. You don't really have to know that these items are actually coming from your SharePoint internet. Same for reporting here. It just opened up one of these reports to have a detailed view. Or if you want you can sort of cycle through the different reports, but you can also go in and add other reports. So from the same interface without having to go to a powerBI platform, you know, to select your reports or to look at your dashboards, these are the ones that are actually available to you that have been targeted to you. You can go in and sort them to your liking. And then now this widgets changes all of that. So this really allows you to quickly launch things, open things, stay in the same context and then reduce context switching, essentially.


- And then in my experience, if you show someone a nice chart they're usually sold. But I guess, you know, the power of just pulling out stuff that's already in Microsoft 365 ecosystem like powerBI is the main benefit. You know, it's not just a view as it, it's just, you can actually interact with those apps.


- Let's say it's that these things have to be actionable. And you shouldn't really be concerned about you now, what's behind exactly as a technology. What we trying to do with all of those widgets, we try to take the complexity away and sort of increase the possibility of, you know, being actionable, taking the action immediately, getting your work done without having to think, you know, where to log in, where to look and all of those things. And not only for apps but for news, for personal productivity, but also for something like search down here or search widget, you know, can go in. And also these things are immediately actionable. Like you can send an email, start a chat, see who he's reporting to. In this demo I'm not really sharing any files with Diego because I'm Diego myself, but it will show you files you're working on meetings that you're part of, you know, and all that richness is all in there, right from here without having to you know, go from this place. But I guess more importantly like you said, with the, the managers liking those reports and sort of the tangibility of things, that's what this offers as well, you know, sort of instant tangibility for, for users. And they can change things to their liking. They can also go in and you know add other things that might be relevant to them. Things like external news for instance, like we have here. They get that on the board and give it a place that they like and what's nice about it you can see that very well in this widget is that all of the widgets have a default display. That changes with the size of the widget. So without the user having to go into stuff like edit mode or having to know about different display templates, stuff like that, they can just go and find stuff the optimal size for this. At the same time, if we look up here there's a little lock icon, Diego cannot move this one. So as a company probably you want to have certain news always presented to your users, that you can lock the widget, you can lock the size so that Diego can move around things around that widget, but not the widget itself and inside those widgets you also have possibilities to push certain information based on audience. And that's a really important concept to us personas and audiences, but also allow people to favorite and unfavorite other sites that they follow news off. So you know this thing becomes something that people can make personal. And as such as that it's adopting itself, it's like, you know, not inventer here syndrome. And if people are sort of pushed certain technology, they feel very different about that technology than when they get to make some changes even if such a super loose changes, although this is not really super loose but, you know, even if they just have the ability to do these kinds of things, they make the tool their own, you know that changes a lot for the user at least.


- So they can make that entire space, their own. So that's per user view.


- Yeah and if they end up having to need more space, for instance we see that with reports or with power apps that we also support, they can start creating tabs as, I've done up here. Now it can go in and there's no reports here but you can, then maybe in the reports section, add one of these reports and resize them. Besides powerBI we also support Tableau reports. So you can get sort of a full reporting board and the same goes for a bit like self-service, but you can sort of bring together all of those things that are important to you on those boards. If you sort of run out of screen real estate and all of these widgets are audience targeted the contents, but also the boards can be audience targeted. You can actually show that when we reset the board. So Diego here, you know, can be part of any audience. We can either allow Diego to make a selection. So, you know, say okay I'm part of this, maybe of marketing communications, he's part of communications and selects communications, but more so we target this at the, at the groups within the company. And then Diego maybe being part of sales, he just simply gets his board pushed like this. And this would be his starting point where he can add widgets, move widgets around, resize them, and the concept of block widgets as well, configure the contents of the widgets have more options where he can delete. We just end at that more space additionally, adding additional boards is as I've just shown you, and this would then simply just be his, you know, his starting point. if you joined a company this is the first thing you will see, but you can start changing that and making that more relevant to you. You know, and that's that changes a lot for, the adoption, but also the usefulness of course, for any digital workplace basically.

- Yeah. Excellent. The main thing I see people confused about at the moment, which I think Microsoft has not helped with, by battling for seemingly disparate things together under the Viva banner. The Viva element that is just displaying your intranet in teams. How would you recommend people work with those together would you see this replacing the Viva connections homepage maybe?


- You got to take a little step back. Viva is a number of capabilities that Microsoft is launching as a platform but it is not a platform it's actually a separate capabilities and in that you have your Viva topics for some knowledge management Viva insights, that trick behavior and get personal insights and the company insights. And then there's Viva learning that brings together different learning sources and brings them front and center essentially through SharePoint and then finally there's what you've just mentioned. Viva connections and Viva connections is actually the app behind here. So as I open my board, this is essentially Viva connections and your navigation across your internet, either a quick navigation, which is called global navigation up here. Some of the most important sites of news down here, but you can also have one or multiple levels of navigation sitting up here that you know, can lead people into other essentially SharePoint sites. If you have those sites, you can hook them up to the, to the navigation. If you don't if you have less of those sites then of course this menu would be a bit smaller. Ever since Viva connections was introduced in February of this year, we integrated there because it's really a better together story. You are bringing in some navigation from the intranet. And then under the home button, in our case, we've put the boards. You could also place it in different places. What I do see is that, the Viva and empty experience platform, it's creating a lot of expectation, but you sort of need to build a break down the different into the different capabilities and see what you can do within that capability.


- So comment below and let me know what you think about Ichicraft boards. I think they look pretty cool. Let me know what you think in the comments below. If people wanted Ichicrafts boards right now, can they use that without Viva still?


- Certainly. Yeah. You know if you're working in Microsoft 365 using your outlook there, if you have a bit of SharePoint content then you can also use also see that the experience sort of instantly populated. So from the get go you have content there. So it's a really good first impression that users get and, you know deals we get after installing the product is quite, quite intuitive from there.

- Yeah. Excellent. Is there a client that comes to mind that's got great results from using Ichicraft boards.


- We have a bank client. Rabobank they have 35,000 users, and they're running the widgets on the whole page and SharePoint, which they call the rabohub and they're measuring engagement. And they're up to almost 70% daily usage across the company. And, you know, that's quite an impressive number because the research shows that only 25% of the workforce interacts with the internet on a daily basis. So, you know, these boards really create a type of engagement that you would normally not have with an intranet. We do depend quite a bit on, our customers providing us this kind of information, because two we'd run a completely on Microsoft. So we don't take any data out that makes it, you know, super compliant and stable in a sense. So we really rely on the close collaboration with customers to get those kinds of insights, to improve the product.


- Those some high numbers. I remember in my corporate job, we used to have an intranet that sort of popped up when you first logged onto your computer for you and everyone just used to close the tabs straight away and never see any of the news. So to get 70 to 85% of people actually interacted with it, when they see it, it's huge.


- Once you get that concept of sort of personal dashboards and the framework that we offer, and of course we introduced widgets over time as well, but businesses aren't specific so, you know, a lot of our clients end up creating their own. We just switch. As long as you have somebody that knows modern web technology, then you can start creating those things especially with all of the API's out there. There's a lot of opportunity to create additional integrations.


- Yeah. Awesome. And is there anything that Ichicrafts widgets or Ichicrafts boards has done for a client that you didn't expect, maybe.


- Two actually very different cases sort of come to mind. There's another enterprise customer whose name I cannot mention but they are a large energy drink company. They've sort of created this strategy around making the widgets the center of digital workplace. And you know, we didn't really expect that because we saw it more as a, a power up. So that was you know, that was a great confirmation of this kind of concept working really well for users and also in maturing your digital workplace. But on the other side of the spectrum so we have this customer in Ikea and the surprising upside there is that, they said okay once we introduced these boards, that it was sort of an instant personal intranet. So that made sense to people. What these people reported was they're very enthusiastic about having that board and because they're in Ikea and the main thing in Ikea is of course, you know, people that you're taking care of. The clients there. So they reported that by looking at the board, they got an instant overview and they actually get more time to spend with those clients. And that, you know, that is a sort of an unexpected thing that if you're in technology and you're so focused on that you never really considered, but in that respect being not a hardcore knowledge working behind a computer. To be able to actually be able to focus more on your main task by simplifying the digital workplace. Yeah. That was a great customer case basically.


- Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. I thought of big about meetime trying to save people time to do more human things rather than fix technology that the entire time.


- Yeah yeah that actually does connects quite well with your story. Yeah.


- Yeah. What's your best tip for making a better workplace for employees?


- Talking about technology is very abstract for a lot of people. If you can, again, make that tangible and show people, hey prints with the widgets, these are the widgets that you have on your board. Would you be satisfied with that? That creates a completely different dialogue that will say, Hey you know, we should talk about categorize, categorizing, stream videos and label them correctly, or attribute meta data to documents. You need to help me out there. Sort of see information architecture, but what what does it deliver to me today? You know, that's the thing what's in it for me? Now you need to be a lot more aware about that.


- Yeah. Cool. What's the best compliment you've ever received about Ichicraft widgets?


- I guess that Microsoft should have built this solution. When we show people what it does. It, you, people instantly understand needs. And for those that have struggled with what to use, what, and just looking at a platform like, yeah. As long as I got my email in and I do my meetings on teams, this is it's really refreshing.




- And I guess where should people go if they want to find out more information about Ichicraft widgets, or even if they're ready to sign up right now and get started. What's the next steps for them?


- Yeah you can find all those resources on, on the website as well. Ichicrafts dot com has all of the information forward slash install has that pre installation, it's gonna run with any number of users, for unlimited time just shows you a little button it's, that's, it's a trial. That's a great starting point. And of course if you want to reach out to me, you can always find me on LinkedIn or otherwise. I'm sure that if people know how to reach you, that you can pass it on to to us as well.


- Ah well sure yeah. So we've just seen how each Ichicraft boards looks pretty cool, brings everything into one place, and you can start to get the most out of your Microsoft 365 subscription. If you wanna find out more, there's some links in the description below both Ichicraft website, and Nico's LinkedIn. Feel free to leave a comment in the description below, and I can put you in contact. Please mention meetime. When you get on to talk to someone from Ichicrafts it helps support the channel and let them know that you've come from my videos which would be very helpful. So you've seen how it brings everything together in Microsoft 365. If you want to transform your organizations, make your employees lives easier, and you need some help doing that, then Ichicraft boards is one way, or please reach out to us at meetime see if we can help. Book a call using the link in the description below. If you wanna find out more or we can jump on a free strategy call to see how we might be able to help and the best next steps for you. So check out these videos next. And if you liked the video, remember to click the like button, subscribe. And if you really liked it, consider buying me a beer using the link in the description below, it would just help support the channel and keep free content going out on YouTube. So thanks for watching so far and we'll see you in the next video.


If you want to find out how to change the culture or organization to make your employees lives easier and more engaging with more wellbeing, then book a free strategy call with me. I'd love to have a chat and see if I can help you out at all.


So check out these videos next, remember to give the video a like, subscribe and if you really like the video, consider supporting the channel by buying me a beer. It really does help support the channel. But thanks for watching so far and we'll see you in the next video.


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