The better way to
meeting management with Outlook and Microsoft 365

Learn how to achieve what you wanted to achieve with Outlook and Microsoft 365 in the first place with an integrated meeting management application for your Microsoft solutions.

The better way to meeting management with Outlook and Microsoft 365

Meetings are a constant source of wasted resources and frustrated workers

In fact, according to recent research, meetings are considered the No. 1 time-waster at the office.

Add it all up to 62 hours a month that the average office worker spends sitting in meetings, 37% of which are ranked as having no value. Just as frustrating as an unnecessary or low-value meeting is the inefficient tasks that are required to meet in the first place.

Workers report that one of the most significant meeting challenges and reasons for friction in the workplace is finding a place to meet and to manage all the associated tasks and to-dos that comes with booking a meeting.

Consider the different organizational units involved in meetings. Facility Management must ensure that the right amount and configuration of rooms are available with the necessary table arrangements. The corporate kitchen prepares food, beverages, or other services. Reception must track the day's visitors, manage check-ins, print visitor badges, notify the host upon attendee arrivals, and check-out guests. Finance must settle costs and manage tax and cost centers.

A cross-organizational discipline

Meeting management is a true cross-organizational discipline with many elements that are prone to poor processes that harpoon employee productivity. Without the right tools that integrate the process and bind organizational units together, every one-hour meeting is more likely a five-hour meeting.

A one-hour meeting is never just a one-hour meeting

 

Meeting organizers are tasked to assemble a group of busy people at the same time and place. Once everyone agrees on a time to meet, organizers must find a meeting room that fits their needs, reserve audio-visual equipment, order catering, and other additional services, register guests at the reception, and ensure the necessary information is available to the finance department for tax purposes.

When finally finished coordinating a meeting, meeting planners may find that they’ve spent more time scheduling the meeting than they’ll spend in the meeting itself.

Why are meeting scheduling and workplace bookings eating time and killing productivity?

Meeting scheduling and managing workplace bookings is an everyday activity in the workplace. Still, although being a routine activity, it is often cumbersome, labor-intensive, and time-consuming, and for too many organizations a task that hasn’t received the attention deserved, compared with the value a streamlined process brings to the company.

For many organizations, meeting managers, assistants, facility managers, canteen managers, and all involved in meeting planning, managing their job related to a specific meeting, is based on manual processes.

When booking a meeting, these meeting stakeholders are faced with a number of challenges due to primarily manual work procedures and siloed, un-integrated solutions by a variety of different vendors, or simply just due to trying to manage meetings and associated services in an old paper log or using Spreadsheets.

Meeting planners can easily spend more time scheduling the meeting than the duration of the meeting itself. On average, a meeting can take 20 minutes to book. And this might not even include ordering associated services like catering, a table arrangement, AV equipment, or contacting facilities management to ensure that the right IT equipment is onsite and operating in the room.

Now add the time spent on booking a desk, workstation, huddle room, focus room, or just some space for that project meeting next week your hosting.

No, or simply just poor booking solutions has three major consequences for meeting planners


As scheduling procedures are labor-intensive and manually demanding, it can be a challenge to maintain a full overview of all meeting activities and meeting facilities. This ends up having an effect of poor room utilization which is expensive for Corporate Real Estate.

Manual processes result in unnecessary time and resources wasted on informing all parties involved using multiple solutions and communication channels which has critical consequences for businesses. People get stressed and frustrated, and friction is added to the workplace experience.

Using decentralized solutions for meeting scheduling and communication with involved parties increases the risk of errors in your planning and room booking and often forces you to re-do the entire process over and over again with no value added to the task at all.

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What if you could achieve what you wanted to achieve with Outlook and Microsoft 365 in the first place?

Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft 365 is the standard for emails and coordinating meetings and productivity in organizations all over the world.

Microsoft Exchange, as the backbone, is without a doubt the most robust and reliable infrastructure for managing resources at a large scale. Combined with Microsoft Active Directory for user management and the right scheduling permissions and booking options configured in Exchange, you already have the infrastructure as a good foundation for your workspace management.

Now, you need the intelligence layer on top of that infrastructure, to deliver the meeting management experience that you’ve always wanted in Outlook and Microsoft 365.

As a start, Outlook and Microsoft 365 operate along two dimensions when it comes to meetings:

  1. Availability of attendees
  2. Availability of rooms

But, meeting scheduling is so much more than attendees and the place to meet.

It's a lot of to-do's, manual micro process- es and related tasks that are not supported natively by Outlook or Microsoft 365 out of the box and that involves a lot of other vital parts of the organization like Facilities Management, the Canteen, the Reception, or IT.

Therefore, Outlook or Microsoft 365 is often insufficient and not enough to manage meeting scheduling and workplace bookings as you want to.

But, what if you could get Outlook to operate along all dimensions of meetings? Including all the vital parts of the organization?

Outlook or Microsoft 365 is the very best foundation to build upon. You just need the right extensions and tools to integrate with your Microsoft backbone. No matter if it’s for your Exchange Server and Outlook, or Exchange Online and Microsoft 365.

That’s where solutions like AskCody comes into the picture. AskCody extends Outlooks and Microsoft 365’s booking functionality and allows you to achieve the outcome you wanted in the first place. All inside of Outlook. Not in a third-party tool or at a separate website.

With AskCody Meeting Management for Outlook and Microsoft 365, it allows you to accomplish everything you needed to achieve with Exchange and Outlook in the first place by merging all manual processes of meeting scheduling into one flow inside Outlook.

With integrated solutions that enrich Outlook or Microsoft 365, you can centralize all manual processes in one solution. One.
If you use meeting management applications that enhances and extends your Outlook or Microsoft 365 to optimize your meeting scheduling flow you:

  • Get access to the availability of all attendees through Outlook, Microsoft 365, and Exchange.
  • Get a full overview of all meeting rooms, their capacity, and their features across all your locations and at different time zones inside Outlook and Microsoft 365
  • Make customized settings for your service vendor items (catering menu, preferences and ordering deadlines, table arrangements, AV-equipment), availability of equipment at your locations, and bill your respective cost center directly, leveraging user information from Active Directory)
  • Register guests for the front desk leveraging the meeting attendee information, to keep track of today’s visitors

Who feels the productivity pinch at every meeting in your organization?

 
There are teams throughout the organization who feel the productivity pinch at every meeting. Consider the Facility Services, Company Cafeteria, Front Desk, and Finance Department whom all have a role to play to ensure a smooth, seamless end-to-end meeting process that makes the most out of the entire organization's resources at every meeting.
 
Then think of all the employees and administrative assistants who book and manage these meetings, too. Everyone has a role to play in smooth meeting scheduling and management. That’s why meeting management must be handled in intelligent systems that allow organizations to get the most out of their time spent on meetings.

Here’s what Outlook and Microsoft 365 powered with AskCody will give to those people and your entire organization

Consolidate all activities related to planning and scheduling meetings into a single tool

Meeting room booking software that is integrated with and enhances Outlook or Microsoft 365 by providing simplified booking features. This replaces disparate systems with a single, easy-to-use solution that consolidates all activities related to planning and scheduling meetings inside the familiar Outlook interface.

Users can search for and book rooms, handle visitor pre-registration for the front desk, and order additional services directly within Outlook. There’s no toggling back and forth between applications when booking and managing meetings, and users get a consistent booking experience across your workplace. Consistency is key to optimizing cross-organizational processes. Employees are already familiar with Outlook and its interface. An integrated booking tool that’s built on top of Outlook simplifies the process of booking rooms and resources from directly inside a familiar interface. This encourages user adoption and keeps life simple for users.

Eliminate tedious manual processes

No more paper-based booking methods, spreadsheets, and other outdated tools that add to the workload of busy administrative staff. Ditch the manual, back-and-forth processes of arranging meetings with phone calls, emails, and post-it notes. Users manage everything within one, integrated, and familiar interface.

This reduces the organizational load by slashing the number of hours each employee spends on scheduling and organizing meetings and increases operational efficiency by enabling people to meet more effortlessly.

Eradicate disjointed point solutions

You have Outlook or Microsoft 365 for booking meetings and sending invitations. You order meeting services and catering through SharePoint. You log into another platform to order a specific table arrangement from Facility Service.

Your booking system is not integrated with the front desk system, so you must alert the reception of all meeting attendees. Facility Management reports are done on a separate system. And Finance uses home-built integration between the catering system and the ERP system for managing tax information for meeting orders.

In addition to a time-consuming process for meeting organizers, this complex, disjointed system is a bear for IT to manage. Data is not shared between the systems and it’s impossible to optimize cross-organizational processes.

With an integrated platform for meeting management like AskCody, you have Outlook and AskCody.

That’s it. AskCody’s Meeting Management platform is a unified meeting management solution that accommodates every possible meeting need. There’s no more need for other third-party applications.

Prevent scheduling errors

All information about meeting rooms, schedules, and additional resources reside

in the same system, which is updated in real-time. AskCody provides users with access to up-to-date meeting information in a centralized location. This prevents double bookings and other errors around additional resources. Information is always accurate, and users never have to worry about synchronization between disparate systems. And by the end of the day, everything is built on Exchange, being your single source of truth.

Avert meeting snafus

Never worry about double-booked meeting rooms, attendees showing up to canceled meetings, or catering delivered at the wrong time or to the wrong meeting room. With an integrated booking solution like AskCody for Outlook or Microsoft 365, changes and cancellations are automatically updated throughout the entire system in real-time and all meeting attendees and service providers are alerted instantly.

This simplified process eliminates mistakes, uncertainty, and frustration from employees. Easy communication across the platform reduces office friction by ensuring everyone is in the know. This level of meeting organization sends a strong first impression to staff and visitors.

It also removes the heavy lifting, so you can focus on keeping important projects on track.

Up to 62 hours a month that the average office worker spends sitting in meetings, 37% of which are ranked as having no value. Just as frustrating as an unnecessary or low-value meeting is the inefficient tasks that are required to meet in the first place.

 

Workers report that one of the biggest meeting challenges and reasons for friction in the workplace is finding a place to meet and to manage all the associated tasks and to-dos that comes with booking a meeting.

62 hours

Handle changes and cancellations automatically

An integrated meeting management solution ensures you only do things once. If a meeting is changed or canceled, the system updates automatically. Because everything is connected, vendors are instantly notified if the meeting is rescheduled or moved, meaning no need to manually synchronize systems, or worry about if things are updated accordingly.

This means that if a user needs to move or reschedule a meeting, attendees and service providers are notified immediately and have time to adjust their schedules, rooms are released and available for others to use, and the list of expected visitors are updated automatically.

Display orders at a glance

Vendor and Facilities Managers can see at a glance what is needed for each meeting, how many people need services, and where services must be delivered. This is an instant, one-stop interface with an updated overview in real-time. If in-room equipment breaks down, faulty equipment can easily be reported so Facility Service knows what to fix, where, and when.

Exhibit the entire workplace in full context

When you don’t know, you can’t act. But with an integrated meeting management system like AskCody for Outlook, you’ll be armed with knowledge instead of guesses. Understanding how your spaces are utilized helps you best optimize what you already have.

Say, for example, employees are regularly noting that they can’t find an appropriate space for their meetings when they need them. It sounds like an office expansion or relocation might be necessary to accommodate these needs. But by digging into utilization data, you see that there are a number of spaces and resources in different parts of the office that are actually underutilized. With a little tweaking, you can ensure your employees have the spaces they need.

It turns out that costly office expansion isn’t necessary after all. It’s important always to have an understanding of employee habits and behavior, so you can adapt or change spaces as different needs demand.

Save time, increase productivity

Save time. Plan more effectively. Eliminating the back and forth communication jumping in and out of disparate systems makes every meeting organizer more efficient and productive with the tasks that truly matter.

Meeting room scheduling software saves meeting room users, facility managers, office administrators, and other employees incredible amounts of time. Remember those hours of preparation we discussed at the beginning of this ebook? Gone. The right meeting management platform will enhance your employees' productivity and free up time to focus on what is most important to your business.

You can grab this content as an eBook as well if you need it.