The Case for Having Really Long Meetings

As we discussed in a previous post, the key idea of meetings is to discuss possible solutions, decide action items, and make decisions in the meeting rather than trying to review status or start working on any action item. Work needs to be done outside of the meeting, decisions are the primary function of the meeting.  

In this post, I wanted to highlighted that sometimes when a project is just starting or when a project is encountering delays or unplanned issues, then instead of trying to reconnect multiple times to get everything on track it is often better to connect once and for all for an extended meeting. This meeting should continue until you either resolve the issue or have all the critical team members on the same page. That way instead of anyone still being unsure about how to fix the issue, everyone is up to speed with what is currently happening, what actions need to be taken to resolve any issues, and who is responsible for taking those next steps. By doing this, you will be able to regain full control of the situation and get progress underway as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Yes, team members will likely get upset or resist, as no one has the time or inclination for long meetings. However in the end everyone will be glad that this effort was undertaken because of the expedited progress which will result from getting everyone aligned in one go. 

We have had situations where we delayed a project start or put a project on hold when significant issues arose in order to ensure that we took the necessary steps to get everyone on the same page before proceeding, and discovered time and again that it pays off every time.

Get more productivity tips and information from the book Teamwork and Collaboration: How to select and use right productivity environment for you and your team.


Related post: Why It's Important to Have Weekly Meetings

Why It's Important to Have Weekly Meetings

Let's look at a simple way to manage complex or multiple projects without dropping the ball.

Why we need a weekly recap

You really don’t need weekly recaps if your projects are always on time, on budget and within scope. However it is extremely rare to have the perfect requirements, perfect team and perfect execution from day one.

Gone are the days when a team would have more time and resources available than budgeted. Without weekly meetings to keep everyone informed and on track, and with people are more distracted than ever, it is easy to fall into tasks slipping, scope increase, time delays and ultimately cost overage.

A Gartner survey suggested more than 50% of projects fail. With so much at risk for execution we need an effective and consistent way to handle project updates and accountability.

How to run weekly review meetings

The important thing here is to ensure that all team members are making their assigned updates to different systems in their own time. It's important for the entire team to follow a consistent system of documentation, communication and file storage, and be able to provide a succinct update to the rest of the team at the weekly meeting. Any action items and questions need to be prepared in advance and ready to share.

Below is the simple outline of how a smoothly run meeting should go:

  • 0-5 minutes: Status Update - Highlight critical updates, tasks completed
  • 5-15 minutes: Review decision register, open items, address issues
  • 15-20 minutes: Review project plan for past week and upcoming week
  • 20-29 minutes: confirm next actions and assignments

The key idea of meetings is to discuss possible solutions, decide action items, and make decisions in the meeting rather than trying to review status or start working on any action item. Work needs to be done outside of the meeting, decisions are the primary function of the meeting.

Get more productivity tips and information from the book Teamwork and Collaboration: How to select and use right productivity environment for you and your team.


Related post: The Case for Having Really Long Meetings

4 Reasons To Choose SharePoint As Intranet Collaboration Tool

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

For the success of every business, collaboration is the cornerstone. Simply when people collaborate for a common motive, they share new ideas and collectively drive to attain a common objective.

A collaboration tool can be as easy as a whiteboard or as complicated as a document management portal or a web-based intranet.

What Is The Need For Collaboration Tools?

Collaboration tools have become important due to the change in work culture. Nowadays, to have teams where members are working in different parts of a country, even in different time zone is quite common. Teams can communicate, have meetings, discussions, share calendars, and stay updated on their work progress using a collaboration tool.

Advantages of SharePoint Collaboration Tools

For team communication and collaboration, SharePoint-based intranets are industry standards. It provides easy collaboration, secure document management, and mobility.

  1. Comprehensive Collaboration

SharePoint Intranet built on Microsoft 365 makes it possible for a business to host emails (using Outlook 365), store documents on shared drives (Using SharePoint and One Drive), track projects (using MS Projects), and manage schedules (using Planner) everything at a centralized place.

On top of it, the immense customization and scalability possibilities in SharePoint are unmatched. SharePoint-based Intranet helps create new departments and add newly hired employees (based on the organization’s hierarchy).

  1. Cloud Security

Data security is one of the most important benefits. In addition to easy accessibility and sharing ability, an organization also needs its data to be secure. With the help of the SharePoint security tool, an organization’s data is secure at multiple levels.

  1. Organized Approach

One of the key advantages of SharePoint Intranet is its organized approach to document management. Department-level document libraries coupled with nested folder structure make it easy to store, organize and share thousands of documents. To make it easy to search and filter, you can tag documents and folders under various categories, sub-categories, and keywords.

Another key advantage of SharePoint as a collaboration tool is versioning and sharing capabilities. You can create newer versions of documents as you make changes and move ahead. The latest version will also show up in the list, but if needed previous versions can be restored quickly using the edit history.

  1. Mobility

The most important feature of the collaboration tool is mobility. In modern remote work and flexible shift structure, employees may need to access their project site or document from anywhere in the world. Therefore, mobility is crucial in this dynamic workspace structure.

SharePoint Intranet truly serves the need for mobility. Your organization’s data is available anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

If you are willing to migrate to a more efficient work environment supercharged with SharePoint collaboration capability, visit and start now.

Think AI provides a Custom Microsoft SharePoint Solution to a non-profit organization in Southern California

Client Success Story – Document Management Using Custom SharePoint Solution

Think AI was hired by local non-profit in Southern California to develop a custom application in Microsoft SharePoint to manage, search, split and maintain scanned large PDF files received by the organization on a regular basis. Think AI’s goal for this project was to deliver a cloud-based service to it’s client to help with document management.

Think AI’s customized configuration of Microsoft’s SharePoint technology would help the non-profit organization in managing its content seamlessly using the Internet. Removing the limitations of a physical office location, saving time, and boosting company productivity were some of the challenges that Think AI had willingly undertaken through this project.

Read the Full Client Success Story Here

Customer Spotlight - Scott Ellis, Alexander's Mobility Services

Scott Was Concerned About Using an Outsourced Team

Scott Ellis, Corp VP of Technology at Alexander Mobility Services and Think AI client wasn’t sure having an outsourced team could work for his company.  In our latest customer spotlight, we’re highlighting a conversation between Manish Bhardia, President at Think AI and Scott to learn about what they were looking for in a technology provider and how Think AI delivered for them!

“We’re always looking to be better on the technology.” – Scott Ellis

4 Ways Chatbots Are Impacting Healthcare Services

The possibilities for chatbots to grow are relatively high when talking about the healthcare industry. Although the rate of adoption is not yet generalized, the number of chatbots in the healthcare industry is rising. Implementation of these AI-powered chatbots directly impacts both the entities (service providers and patients).

Chatbots have immense potential in the healthcare sector for efficient implementation. Here are four ways in which chatbots affect health care services:

One - Reducing Workload Of Healthcare Professionals

With the increasing use of technology in the healthcare industry, a majority of everyday tasks are automated. Still, initial patient interaction and several routine tasks are being managed in-person by healthcare professionals by establishing direct contact with the patients. Using healthcare chatbots, most of these manual interactions can be automated. It will not just reduce the chances of human errors but also save a lot of time for healthcare professionals.

Some of the activities that healthcare chatbots can perform on behalf of healthcare professionals are:

  • Recording medical notes (patient’s medical history),
  • Planning Appointments and hospital visits,
  • Providing detailed information on prescribed drugs.

Two – Improving Patient Engagement and Lead Generation

Implementation of chatbots in the healthcare industry helps improve patient engagement and boosts leads generation activities too. Using chatbots, healthcare service providers can send periodic reminders to the patients about their next visit, educate them about crucial milestones in their treatment journey, or simply asking patients for their feedback on the treatments offered.

Chatbots can also automate patient review management and increase the online ratings of healthcare service providers by asking patients for writing reviews on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. Better ratings on online review platforms directly impact the conversions from online mediums.

Three – Saving Patient’s Time, Money, and Efforts While Getting Treatments

Chatbot assistants can be helpful for patients in the following ways:

  • Timetable follow-ups,
  • Provide medication with daily reminders,
  • Ease the documentation of symptoms,
  • Payment-processing speed’s increase,
  • Answer questions related to wellness.

By actively involving them and their loved ones in their care, such apps improve patient involvement. In doing so, the patient's confusion about their therapy decreases, which can decrease dissatisfaction and improve overall satisfaction.

Four - For patients to reveal personal details, they give a bias-free room.

AI chatbots, like therapy bots, allow users to chat about their well-being. Although they do not substitute face-to-face empathy for these bots, they can:

  • Answer questions 24/7 without getting frustrated, tirelessly in a soothing, cheerful tone,
  • Providing a sense of anonymity for patients, encouraging them to open up about their health,
  • Talk to all patients subjectively and consistently without prejudices or personal issues influencing their results.

To conclude:

Given the future use and cost-effectiveness of the technology in the healthcare sector, the healthcare industry will continue to advance and hone this new technology. In the future, a vast improvement in their ability to imitate people in actions and services is forecast, given the humanism of current chatbots.

4 Reasons Why You Should Use Chatbots For Customer Service

Chatbots are intelligent programs powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. Chatbots are an integral part of the customer service industry due to their relevance in the automation of customer care. Almost every industry entity is using some or other type of chatbots to provide support to their customers.

There are several benefits of using chatbots for customer support. If you are a business owner, and still not using chatbots to handle customer service and support, here are four primary reasons to start using chatbots for your business:

Instant Response
Customer service chatbots provide instant responses to customer queries. They don’t have to wait in a long queue and wait for several minutes for an agent. Till the time an agent is not available to attend to the customer queries, the chatbot can collect basic information, ask for the nature of their queries, and respond to them using pre-defined answers. The chatbot can also redirect customers to the correct department if they need to interact with a human agent.

Self-Service Ability
There are several tasks/ customer queries where your customers don’t need to interact with a real agent. An intelligent chatbot can provide the self-service ability to your customers and help them get quick answers to their queries and perform routine tasks without letting them wait in queue for a human service agent to be available to attend them.

24/7 Availability
Having a 24/7 ready support team is an expensive affair. Therefore, several businesses limit their support hours. However, customer problems may not arise based on the support hours, they might face a problem or have a query any time of the day (or night), or during the holiday. Implementation of AI chatbots in customer service makes your company’s support available for customers round the clock without burning a hole in your company’s budget.

Chatbots directly help in reducing the cost incurred on a customer support team. By automating various routine tasks and being available round the clock to answer customer queries, chatbots reduce the need for more support people. In addition to this, chatbots also help in increasing the efficiency of the existing support team by reducing their workload and performing repetitive tasks.

These four benefits of using chatbots enhance the quality of your customer service and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. So, if you have still not adopted the chatbots for your business, this is the right time for you.

Get in touch with our chatbot services expert and discuss your requirements. Think AI consultants will help you find the best business chatbot.

The Importance of Chatbots In Customer Services

Like never before, chatbot services are revolutionizing the customer interaction space. Yes, patience is a virtue, but not all of us are blessed with it. Imagine having to wait several hours, on a seemingly unending queue, before speaking to a customer care representative. The behavioral dynamics of humans have been metered, and inferences show that technological advances are the cause.

As our patience wanes, businesses are in search of quick solutions to speed up processes. And they have every reason to do so. For instance, most customers expect their queries to be answered within an hour. Assuming that the business receives fifty of such questions every minute, it is humanly impossible to give quick replies to everyone, except, of course, if there was a medium that could grant instant gratification like chatbots.

Facebook’s acquisition of Ozlo, an AI startup, in 2017, redefined business trends automatically. What was seen, after the transaction, was a fast-paced Facebook where users enjoyed speedy and smoother interaction with brands on the platform. Similarly, Google followed suit by recruiting a chatbot services startup in San Francisco to become part of the growing community of AI adopters. If trends are to be believed, Google and Facebook’s acquisitions will influence more businesses to adopt customer service AI chatbots in the future, bringing investment predictions to approximately $1.23 billion in the next five years.

Why You Need Chatbot Services

To provide you with fast answers in nanoseconds, chatbots are programmed to sift chunks of data. Therefore, for routine jobs that require basic tasks and questions, they are perfect. Consequently, the game-changer is the unique opportunity to be in an ongoing process of work and to support companies from quality and productivity. Chatbots, for example, reduce duplication in a customer engagement network without pleading for a raise.

In the meantime, if your company already spends enormous resources on customer support, acquiring AI chatbots or chatbots for customer service will minimize operating costs, boost sales funnels, and promote smooth customer engagement. Chatbots can enhance response times, enhance customer service, automate online transactions, and provide better communication more specifically.

The big picture, indeed, is that a new period of successful customer support will be ushered in by chatbot overlords.

Maybe you're wondering how more successful business practices could be launched by a few AI chatbots. This is how:

  1. Better contact with customers

Will you like to get to know your customers better? The common challenge of delivering spotless customer care service is faced by many organizations. Enter chatbots, automated customer support. To create a personalized experience for them, think of a system that pools data about an individual customer, especially their preferences. As such, to plan your customer service, you can use these comprehensive observations and studies. Chatbots for customer service are critically designed to reduce talk time and have quicker solutions. Additionally, organizations have increased customer experience with these approaches over the years. You have no desire to be left out.

  1. Round-the clock assistance for customers

It's probably time you embraced chatbots if your company still uses outdated conventional messaging channels such as phone calls, emails, or live chats. Customers nowadays expect immediate responses from firms, and conventional instruments are losing their appeal. Even during off-business hours, as questions pile up in large numbers, no one wants to wait many hours until they are attended to, and the workers enjoy a well-deserved break. Still, nobody cares. Some clients are quick to discredit a 'slow' brand, prompting them to look for 'more effective' rivals. And a lack of AI chatbots is the contrast between your brand and the competitors.

They are available 24/7 and are capable of instant answers because chatbots do not sleep. Chatbots will provide helpful responses, regardless of how mundane the message is, thereby raising the chances of turning first-time visitors into active clients.

  1. Everybody likes saving money

A shortcut to saving over 30 percent in customer service operations is the use of chatbots in your business process.

Chatbots are capable of answering and reducing response time to routine questions. A report by IBM indicates that 85% of consumer transactions now continue without human intervention since 2020. It is a win-win scenario to implement chatbots, reducing the expenses while benefiting from customer loyalty.

  1. The correct agent gets the correct message

Automated chat systems allow human agents to enter into discussions and propose solutions. But chatbots are capable of doing even more! AI chatbots can designate the right department for relevant messages because they understand conversation contexts. For instance, hoteliers can more effectively handle booking-related queries as the chatbot transfers them to the reservation team. Customers are both satisfied and willing to return for more business, as an inherently efficient method.

  1. Getting rid of the obstacles to language

Friction in communication is one of the greatest issues in customer interaction. From time to time, employees and clients experience communication gaps, and as it is impossible to have an all-knowing staff, chatbots will suffice. Implement a chatbot in your communication system instead of risking the loss of a possible client. By virtue, chatbots run on NLP (natural language processing) standards that allow them to easily understand different tones and languages.

Customer service chatbot stores different words and phrases related to customer problems during an active conversation with guests, which makes it easy to develop and increase the existing knowledge base. Eventually, to deliver selfless and precise customer service, chatbots tap into their vast knowledge stream. The self-learning feature of bots is powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, making them capable of rough responses to queries for which they have not received training.

  1. Numbers Do Not Lie

A detailed study by SurveyMonkey shows that, statistically, chatbots are winning. Gartner reported that since 2020, company owners and CEOs control 85% of their business without human intervention. It also implies that clients, in the absence of the human factor, can also control their relationship. In the same 2020 study, Oracle says that 80% of organizations have incorporated or integrated artificial intelligence into their activities. As more mainstream corporations tap into the current potential of the chatbot, the figures would then skyrocket.

5 Ways SharePoint Intranet Can Enhance Your Organization's Productivity

It sounds like a challenge to improve productivity via a SharePoint Intranet, particularly during this new age of social distancing that has forced us to work remotely. Improving efficiency and promoting the retention of workers is essential to business growth for most enterprises and organizations around the world.

It is important to find new or effective methods to increase efficiency for a company/organization to be competitive in the long term, while also reducing stress and pressure on employees. Consequently, the best way to accomplish goals, be efficient and be a happy place to work where productivity levels and satisfaction are constantly on the rise is a modern workplace combined with a remote work strategy.

SharePoint is the most popular basic intranet technology in the world. This is consistently expressed in different studies of the digital workplace and the intranet. You can be sure, for this reason, that investing in a SharePoint Intranet means that efficiency will increase. The five ways the SharePoint intranet increases the effectiveness of your company are below.

  1. Ecosystem from Office 365

SharePoint is an important part of the Office 365 suite and there are many inbuilt features and functionalities in this ecosystem. OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Planner, Skype for business, Yammer, Delve, and many more are some of the great tools. It offers enormous opportunities within the intranet to optimize business processes (using Power Automate) and reporting (using Power BI). It also offers improved potential possibilities to incorporate into SharePoint Online with Microsoft automation and AI capabilities. You will create a better digital workplace experience through the strong relationship of the Office 365 suite of software with your intranet.

  1. Targeting content and customization

sharepoint-intranet-content-targetingPersonalization features play a crucial role when it comes to the intranet. You can configure your digital workplace and leverage simple integration of Active Directory profiles by using SharePoint as an intranet. With a modern intranet, by division, place, functions, or seniority level, you can target the content into various classes. This implies that it is possible to bring different personalized content targeting the individual workers together. In addition, the SharePoint intranet enables users to subscribe to several topics of interest.

  1. Excellent handling of documents


The compilation, storage, and dissemination of information and records depend on the majority of organizational performance. Some of SharePoint services’ key features are comprehensive document and library capabilities that help organizations achieve state-of-the-art information management, collaboration, and more. To provide easy access to information, the SharePoint libraries can easily be incorporated into your intranet. Not only are the capabilities limited to recording the lifecycle, but it goes far further. You get all in one spot, from version history to check-in/check-out, to smooth integration with Microsoft Office Suite. Without getting into the hassles of email trails, you can conveniently edit and co-author your papers.

  1. Highly scalable and robust


When it comes to the SharePoint platform's versatility and adaptability, the sky is the limit. With a variety of capabilities, including content management, teamwork, internal communication, employee engagement, business search, and more, you can easily create your unique digital workplace solution. The company targets never stay the same and neither do SharePoint's features. To offer a finely built intranet, Microsoft invests heavily in SharePoint's latest features and updates. You do not need to invest extra time, effort, and budget on creating your personalized intranet solution with the SharePoint intranet.

  1. Social features and collaboration


SharePoint is no longer a rigid and static network that can only be used locally. With the evolution of Yammer, "Follow" features, Office 365 tools, SharePoint has become an immersive social framework with a multitude of collaboration and social features. It can be consciously used to involve workers and provide them with a more enjoyable experience with social dimensions attached to it. SharePoint Intranet does not act as a social networking tool, but it offers features such as personal profile, interests, specifics of the job function, team, etc. It helps you to search for individuals inside the company, to better understand the audience, and to enhance the communication channel. In addition, the crown of its flagship collaboration instrument has now been taken over by Microsoft Teams and has become the heart of the intranet experience.

Impact of Power BI on Business Intelligence

Revolutionary Impact Of Power BI On Business Intelligence

With a quick and fast business intelligence platform for powerful data visualization, the Power BI, the Business Intelligence environment has been simplified. This Microsoft Business Analytics service brings together raw data from different sources, such as a simple spreadsheet on a desktop to a cloud-based data. Easy, quick, scalable, and enterprise-grade, due to its simplicity and minimal training, it can be used by non-technical individuals to visually analyze and share data. And this makes it ready for detailed modeling, real-time analytics, and custom development. In this post, we are discussing the revolutionary impact of Power BI on business intelligence.

Impact of Power BI on Business Intelligence

Therefore it comes as no surprise that in the past 6 years, Power BI has been top of Gartner's magic quadrant leadership list year after year.

Let's take a closer look at Power BI, what it is made of:

This Business Analytics service consists of a Power BI Desktop, a Windows desktop application, an online SaaS software service named the Power BI service, and mobile Power BI applications for Windows, iOS, and powerful Data Visualization Android devices.

The three components, Power BI Desktop, the service, and mobile apps, are designed to enable individuals to produce and exchange business insights for better decision-making. And the fourth element is there too. It's called the Power BI Server. It helps you to publish Power BI reports after they have been generated on Power BI Desktop to an on-site report server.

Power BI's core features include:

  • Support for hybrid deployment, which enables the business intelligence tool to link to multiple data sources and allows analytics to be automatically applied to information through the Quick Insights feature by creating data subsets.
  • Power Query, that enables data to be incorporated and transformed into the Power BI web service. For improved data visualization, this information can be shared through several users and models.
  • The common data model-This makes the use of extensible building of databases (schemas).
  • Data visualization software can adjust the appearance of the customization function and can also import new tools into the platform.
  • Via the APIs, the Power BI dashboard can be incorporated into other software products.
  • Complex data models-You can use the modeling view to break them into different diagrams. As per requirement, common properties can be set, viewed, and modified.
  • The Cortana integration, which enables users to ask for data orally using natural language, is a popular feature on mobile devices. It's a Microsoft robotic assistant.

Doesn't it sound like a winner?

But what's in it for you with Power BI?

The business intelligence tool, as a whole, incredibly lets you link different data sources, clean it up and convert it into a simple data visualization data model (graphs, maps, etc and share it with other users within your company.

Its benefits include:

  • Fair costs for accessing the Power BI dashboard make your investment worthy of this Data Visualization tool.
  • Quick learning if you are familiar with the Power Pivot and Power Query in Excel.
  • Since this Business Intelligence tool is operated by Microsoft, in terms of tips and exercises, there is always assistance at hand for you to learn from and network with other clients.
  • Simple and easy data sharing across all platforms such as Windows, Android, and IOS.

But how you use each aspect of Power BI at a given point in time can depend on what your position is within a team or a project. You might be using the Power BI service, for instance. But inside your organization, a business report maker that does a lot of number crunching might use Power BI Desktop extensively to produce reports, then publish those reports to the Power BI service, where you can access them. Similarly, in sales, another partner can involve the use of the Power BI phone app to track sales quota progress and fill in new sales lead information. In order to drive data into databases or to embed dashboards and reports into their custom applications, developers also use Power BI APIs.

And all of this in 2 easy steps to make life a lot easier for you.

For great data visualization, this is how Power BI works:

  • In Power BI Desktop, the business intelligence platform links to data sources and creates reports.
  • Reports are released from the Power BI Desktop to the Power BI service and exchanged for accessing and drawing insights with end-users on the service and mobile devices.

However, if we let you off without showing you the full picture, it would be unreasonable. There are a few down slides to the Power BI.

  • The data model developer needs to define the protection permissions, otherwise, it will be applied to all data users.
  • Only a personal dashboard can be developed by the user and not a device dashboard.
  • While it is possible to construct multiple datasets, the limit per dataset is 1 GB and the maximum number of records that can be generated on is 100,000.
  • Reports and dashboards can be shared only by users of the same email domains.

But despite the above, Power BI is a strong tool for business intelligence and is here to stay in the Data Visualization environment. In the world of Business Intelligence, it is due to the impact of Power BI, we can seamlessly link to hundreds of data sources and infuse life into our data through dashboards and reports insight.