Can you briefly introduce yourself, Simon?
Hello, my name is Simon, and I have been working at Tobania since 2015. I studied IT in Leuven, majoring in Development. However, soon after completing my studies, I discovered that I got more energy from a job where I could align myself more closely with other company departments. I enjoyed seeing how other teams operated, and how they could optimise their processes. From this interest, I first discovered the migration of the document management system "Alfresco" to "SharePoint". I was immediately interested in Microsoft's vision and the new way of working they were promoting: cloud computing, co-authoring, and breaking barriers between teams and even countries.
This was 12 years ago now. Since then, I have completely immersed myself in Microsoft 365, and have held various roles (Functional Analyst, Business Analyst, PM, SCRUM Master, Solution Architect), with one constant love, of course: Microsoft 365.
What exactly does your job as a Microsoft 365 expert entail?
Fellow colleagues know they can approach me with any question about Microsoft 365. After all, I love being able to help them out and show them little-known functionalities that can simplify their daily operations in the blink of an eye.
Preferably, I would rather meet with a full department to see what optimisations they envisage within their operations. That way, I can create mappings on the various applications and functionalities that are already available today, but that the respective teams are not yet leveraging. Thanks to my years of experience, I am well aware of potential pitfalls, and can ensure that everyone is immediately aware of the best practices. Besides, do not underestimate the importance of some solid change management before, during and after the introduction of new methods to guarantee a proper user experience!
As an expert yourself, how do you stay fully up-to-date with the latest Microsoft 365 trends?
That goes without saying. Every application on my mobile that I open shows me the latest updates from Microsoft 365. For example, just consider Twitter (sorry, "X"), LinkedIn, and my Google updates. In addition, Microsoft runs several blogs on which they themselves highlight the latest features of all Microsoft 365 tools (blogs.office.com).
Besides following blogs and posts on various forums, there are also a lot of conferences that provide a close look into Microsoft's future vision and where experts from all over the world and Microsoft employees explain the latest novelties.
To provide an example: Belgium also hosts a great User Group, Belgian Information Worker User Group (BIWUG) which anyone can join for free. They organise almost monthly free evening events during which some sessions are provided and you get a chance to interact with other experts from Belgium. Every year they also organise a free conference (CollabDays), This is a perfect opportunity to spend a Saturday networking and getting inspired by different sets of panels.
If you had to choose just one, which M365 app do you prefer?
I am huge fan of Power Automate. This application enables anyone to automate repetitive tasks. I use the app for personal automations, such as allowing all emails from a particular customer to end up in my personal to-do list on SharePoint, but also for business processes. For instance, we created a form that generates a task based on given input, and subsequently assigns it to the right team. When this task is updated, the submitter of the query will get an automatic email with the latest information about their task.