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6 Helpful Benefits of the New Microsoft Planner App

Staying organised and managing tasks efficiently is more important than ever. But it can be difficult the more apps that are added into a workflow.

The cloud has definitely brought big benefits to both large businesses and small, but it’s also brought a lot more SaaS tools that employees need to juggle. On average, people switch between 22 different business apps 350 times per day.

That's where the new Microsoft Planner comes into play. Beyond its user-friendly interface and robust features, it combines several apps into one to streamline workflows for task and project management.

The new Planner app combines:

  • The current Planner’s collaboration features
  • Microsoft To Do for task management 
  • Microsoft Project for the web for project management
  • Microsoft Copilot for AI capabilities
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Reasons to Use the Upgraded Microsoft Planner

1. Unifying the Task Management Landscape

Prior to the revamp, Microsoft offered a somewhat fragmented task management ecosystem, with separate applications like To Do and Tasks by Planner serving different purposes. The new Planner app bridges this gap, consolidating functionalities under one unified platform. This eliminates the need for context switching between multiple applications, streamlining workflows and maximising user convenience.

2. Enhanced Collaboration Features

At the heart of the new Planner app lies its robust collaboration capabilities. The app can be accessed within MS Teams or through a web-based interface. Real-time chat functionality allows team members to discuss tasks, share ideas, and troubleshoot challenges directly within the Planner interface. This eliminates the need for switching between applications for communication, fostering a more collaborative and iterative work environment.

Furthermore, the app facilitates seamless file sharing. Users can attach relevant documents, spreadsheets, or presentations directly to tasks, ensuring everyone has access to the necessary information within the Planner platform itself. This centralised approach eliminates the risk of version control issues or misplaced files, promoting a more streamlined workflow.

3. Empowering Users with AI-powered Assistance

The new Planner app integrates Microsoft Copilot, an AI-powered virtual assistant designed to streamline task management. Copilot utilises natural language processing to understand user intent and provide intelligent suggestions. 

For instance, Copilot can help generate new plans, set goals, track project progress, and suggest next steps based on real-time data. This AI integration reduces the cognitive load on users, allowing them to focus on more strategic aspects of project management.

4. Streamlined Task Management with Time-Saving Templates

The new Planner app offers a library of pre-built templates for various project types. These templates come pre-populated with relevant task categories and workflows, saving teams significant time and effort in setting up new projects. This ensures a consistent structure and approach to project management across the organisation, fostering better visibility and control.

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Image source: Microsoft

5. Seamless Integration with Microsoft 365 Ecosystem

One of the most significant advantages of the new Planner app is its deep integration with other Microsoft 365 applications. For example, users can directly import action items assigned during Microsoft Teams meetings into their Planner boards. 

Similarly, emails flagged in Outlook can automatically populate tasks within the Planner app, ensuring a centralised hub for managing to-dos and project requirements. This level of integration eliminates data silos and fosters a more holistic view of project progress and communication.

6. Improved Visibility and Control with Advanced Analytics

The new Planner app offers enhanced reporting and analytics capabilities, providing valuable insights into project performance. Users can visualise project progress through intuitive dashboards, identify potential roadblocks, and adjust workflows accordingly. 

Furthermore, the app allows for progress tracking at both the individual task level and overall project level, enabling better resource allocation and facilitating data-driven decision-making.

Benefits for Businesses of All Sizes

The new Microsoft Planner app offers a compelling value proposition for businesses of all sizes. Here's a breakdown of how different types of businesses can benefit:

  • Small and Medium Businesses: For smaller teams, the ease of use and pre-built templates offered by the new Planner app can significantly improve project management efficiency. The centralised platform for collaboration and communication fosters a more cohesive work environment.

  • Large Enterprises: For larger organisations, the app's integration with existing Microsoft 365 tools simplifies task management across departments. The advanced analytics capabilities provide valuable insights for project portfolio management and strategic decision-making.

  • Remote Teams: The new Planner app empowers remote teams with real-time collaboration features, ensuring everyone stays connected and informed regardless of location. The consolidated platform for file sharing and communication fosters a more unified work environment.

Availability for the New Microsoft Planner

The revamped Microsoft Planner app represents a significant leap forward in task management functionality. It will be available in preview in early 2024. It will become generally available soon after. You can visit Microsoft’s site to sign up for updates and see a feature roadmap.

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