If you’re looking for new Quality Management System (QMS) software, your IT team may have suggested you build something yourself on Microsoft 365—so what can you do, and should you?

Microsoft 365 contains a range of apps that can assist with quality management, such as SharePoint, Forms, and Power Automate.

In small firms, this can be sufficient. However, to support an effective QMS in enterprises, Microsoft 365’s ‘low code’ abilities are not going to cut it in 2022.

Instead, it provides the perfect foundation for an integrated QMS solution.

Here are the pros and cons of Microsoft 365 for quality management, and what you should consider when choosing your path forward.

What is Quality Management System software?

The purpose of Quality Management System (QMS) software is to help ensure businesses consistently achieve customer requirements.

This entails coordinating a range of information including nonconformance reports, audits and inspections, corrective and preventive actions (CAPAs), documentation such as company policies, training, and more.

In fact, Quality Magazine found 53% of U.S. respondents were currently using cloud software to support quality management.

There are 4 prominent types of QMS that software can be applied to:

  1. ISO 9001
  2. AS 9100
  3. Six Sigma
  4. SMMI

As a Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality (HSEQ) software provider in North America and Europe, the system we come across most often is ISO 9001.

QMS software brings automation and traceability to the table, helping organizations become more efficient and to quantify KPIs towards the standards these systems set.

How can Microsoft 365 help quality management?

Historically, many in-house applications were developed internally on SharePoint, which makes up part of the Microsoft 365 platform.

These often failed or became redundant over time. Nonetheless, now with Microsoft’s new ‘low code’ tools that promise to empower business users such as Quality Directors, there is renewed focus on the buy vs. build debate.

We’ve seen several tools in Microsoft 365 used to create a custom QMS solution, including:

  • Forms
  • SharePoint
  • Power Automate

This facilitates many benefits including easy access, familiarity, and flexibility.

However, there are some major problems with this approach:

  • Time-consuming for Quality to create
  • Time-consuming for Quality to support
  • Requires coding knowledge for non-basic workflows and data modelling
  • Project likely to run over time and over budget

Cobbled-together systems can sometimes even worsen the very quality issues you’re trying to solve, such as unreliable communication.

This approach may provide an adequate stopgap for small companies—or, at the other end of the scale, a highly custom system for giants with abundant IT resources—but is not the best solution for most enterprises.

Instead, organizations in this bracket (typically 1,000-50,000 employees) require something that combines the benefits of QMS software with that of Microsoft 365.

Combining QMS software with Microsoft 365

Both in-house built systems on Microsoft 365 and commercial QMS software have their benefits.

For example, in-house Microsoft 365 systems are easy to access, learn, and will be built to your unique processes.

On the other hand, commercial QMS software is fit-for-purpose, already built, and supported by a vendor (Software-as-a-Service). However, these tend to sit separately to everyday business apps, so can hinder spreading the ownership of quality to all staff.

🤔 Which is best for you? In 2022, many companies are choosing a combination. Enterprises can get the best of both worlds with QMS software on Microsoft 365, like Pro-Sapien.

Microsoft integrated QMS software comes with many benefits, including:

  • Reach employees and increase visibility through familiar apps like Teams
  • Time-savings in admin and removal of effort duplication
  • Ability to proactively track KPIs in Power BI
  • Alignment of Quality with corporate IT strategy
  • Avoids the risk of failure associated with internally built systems
  • Supported and maintained by software experts

Learn more about Pro-Sapien’s Quality Management Software on Microsoft 365.

Should you use Microsoft 365 as a QMS?

Whether you should pursue Microsoft 365-based QMS software depends on several considerations.

  • How big is your company? It tends to be mid to large organizations with 1,000+ employees who get the most value out of Microsoft 365-based QMS software like Pro-Sapien.
  • How embedded in culture is Microsoft 365? If all employees have an email address and know how to get around SharePoint or Teams, you’re in a good position to utilize MS 365 for quality management.
  • It the IT department following a Microsoft 365 trajectory? Typically, Microsoft is a big investment your IT team has made, and they’ll likely be keen to see it utilized.
  • How important is configurability? If you want “plug and play”, Pro-Sapien may not be appropriate. The flexibility of the solution means it’s best suited to companies who require a tailored experience.

These questions usually form part of a wider effort to choose the best HSEQ software for your business, or when building the business case.

Quality Managers: What now?

If you’re interested in utilizing Microsoft 365 for quality management, whether as part of an HSEQ system or solely Quality, you can learn more about Pro-Sapien here.

In summary…

On one hand, Quality Managers can build simple systems on Microsoft 365 internally, but this is not a sustainable solution for enterprises.

On the other hand, commercial QMS software can present barriers to all staff adopting a continuous quality mindset.

So, to retain the benefits of Microsoft 365 while introducing the power of commercial software, consider Quality Management Software on Microsoft 365.

It’s time to stop doing quality management in ISOlation! 😉

Questions? Please get in touch with our team!

Get everyone involved in Quality Management

Pro-Sapien on Microsoft 365 boosts engagement, increases efficiency, and reduces the risk of noncompliance. Learn more by viewing a demo today.

QMS on Microsoft 365 Learn more →

Author

  • Hannah Stewart

    Hannah Stewart is the Communications Manager at Pro-Sapien, providers of EHS software on Office 365. Since 2015, Hannah’s responsibilities at Pro-Sapien have included collaborating with clients to measure their successes with Pro-Sapien products and to share their achievements with the EHS community. In addition to this, Hannah works closely with industry analysts to understand trends and match Pro-Sapien solutions to emerging EHS challenges. With a keen interest in marketing and languages, in 2015 Hannah received her bachelor’s degree in Media & Communications with First Class Honors from Glasgow Caledonian University.

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