During the course of the pandemic, major research bodies like McKinsey, Deloitte, and Gartner made repeated references to the phrase “the new way of working.” But, to be perfectly honest, digital workflows aren’t new: they’ve been transitioning into the workplace for years. Microsoft 365 has been used by millions of businesses to create modern workflows, facilitate remote collaboration, and implement powerful workflow automation. And, this was before COVID-19 permeated our lives.
The value of Microsoft 365 is immeasurable. Businesses can access billions of dollars worth of R&D in security, workflow automation, productivity, collaboration, and governance under the same banner.
Today, we talk about Microsoft 365, how it helps businesses digitally transform, and how it can help you create a sustainable, future-proof workplace.
Microsoft 365 & The Modern Workplace
The modern workplace has many intricate moving parts. So, you must combine digital transformation with tried-and-true productivity tools to successfully navigate the new normal. In doing so, you’re forced to grow your tech stack. Ominously, Gartner predicts that the majority of workplace initiatives spawned by COVID-19 will fail. Businesses are facing a massive challenge, and the timeline has been accelerated to warp speed.
Here’s a secret: Microsoft 365 is a complete, seamlessly integrated workplace tool. You don’t have to invest in 15 disparate or siloed tools, spend hours patchworking them together, and invest in user testing and post-deployment analysis. You can get virtually every single digital workplace tool in one platform.
We’ve identified 10 primary levers of the modern workplace:
- Workflow automation
Here’s how Microsoft caters to every single one of those 10 buckets with one easy-to-use solution — Microsoft 365.
At the heart of Microsoft 365 lies Office 365 — a suite of digital productivity tools. Chances are, your business already uses at least one of these solutions. From the classic Microsoft Word to PowerPoint and Excel, Office 365 offers a variety of must-have business tools. And, these tools are interconnected. Office 365 exists within an ecosystem, allowing each tool to interact and engage with another seamlessly. For example, Excel data can be immediately plugged into PowerPoint, while Word data can be sent over Outlook emails.
In addition to the “basic” productivity tools, Microsoft 365 offers a variety of other productivity-forward features, such as:
- Microsoft Search
- Focus Assist
- Windows Timeline
- Cross-device experiences
- Virtual Desktop
- Microsoft Edge
According to Microsoft, 2020 is the year that “every company becomes a tech company.” In other words, manual processes are quickly being replaced by digital workflows — all across the global supply chain. And, Microsoft 365 brings a suite of tools to help you digitally transform.
But, before you can create a holistic and comprehensive digital ecosystem, you have to pick the right tools to implement an organization-wide change. Microsoft 365 comes with a variety of digitization-enabling tools like:
3. Workflow Automation
Before COVID-19, automation and “digital transformation” were buzzwords that businesses used to justify incubation projects. Today, they’re a reality that many businesses are embracing. According to McKinsey, a key lever of adjusting to the “new normal” is finding ways to automate core processes to align with your new remote landscape. Microsoft makes this easy.
Power Automate — Formerly Microsoft Flow — is a best-in-class digital automation solution. Anyone in your organization can leverage Power Automate to create automated workflow triggers for their most labor-intensive processes.
And, that’s not all: it gets a little deeper than that. You can do some pretty complex automation with Power Automate, and it syncs up with your entire Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
There are two layers of “insights.” These are customer insights and business insights. On the customer end, solutions like Dynamics 365 help you build scalable AI-enabled customer data architectures that make extracting, utilizing, and understanding customer data simple.
On the business end, you have data insight tools built into virtually every productivity tool, and individual employees can leverage MyAnalytics to understand their granular needs.
Let’s talk about that angry 800-lb gorilla in the corner of the room: security. Hackers attack a business every 39 seconds. And, they’re out for blood. The average cost of a data breach is over $3 million, and most businesses will spend nearly 400 days dealing with it. So, when we talk about the new normal (a normal where remote workers are disconnected from internal network policy controls), cybersecurity isn’t just a top-of-mind concern — it’s a make-or-break problem.
Here’s where Microsoft 365 shines. Literally, every little ounce of the 365 ecosystem is shrouded in enterprise-grade security. That includes solutions like:
- Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection
- Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
- Microsoft Cloud App Security
- Azure Advanced Threat Protection
- Microsoft 365 Security Center
- Microsoft Secure Score
As if the cybersecurity monster lurking under your bed isn’t terrifying enough, regulatory bodies are biding their time waiting for it to pounce. To put it simply, digital compliance can be a nightmare. There are well over 100 omnibus bills pertaining to digital privacy and a multiplicity of digital compliance laws surrounding data security, handling, and storage.
Again, Microsoft 365 can help. Since digital workflows are streamlined in the Microsoft ecosystem, MS365 makes it easy to deploy policy controls and governance across all of your apps and solutions. There are plenty of niche and granular tools that help with this. However, the primary tool is Microsoft 365 Compliance Center, which lets you build compliance policies that are incredibly simple to deploy.
If you want to create a digital ecosystem, you’ll need A LOT of storage capacity. From data lakes to cloud servers, you need a place to put your share of the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data we’re creating each day. Luckily, Microsoft 365 provides a plethora of storage options. From Azure Cloud to OneDrive, Microsoft provides hyper-scalable storage solutions for almost anyone.
With all of these amazing apps, solutions, and security features, you may be thinking, “IT nightmare!” But, Microsoft also has an answer for your IT management woes. MS365 admin centers give IT a clear window into the inner workings and behaviors of end-users. This includes solutions like:
Most importantly, virtually every app also connects to a backend admin center.
Remote working may have been an ambitious goal in 2019. But, it’s the new normal now for many of us. COVID-19 accelerated the trend. Now, we’re left with a gaping hole where in-person collaboration used to preside. So, how does Microsoft help? The obvious answer is Microsoft Teams, which has become a de facto staple of the remote space over the past few months.
During this pandemic, billions of minutes have been logged in Teams for daily virtual meetings. It’s easy to use, has diverse channel features, comes equipped with Slack integration, and syncs with all of your other MS365 apps. It’s a dream! But, there’s also Outlook and Exchange — both of which facilitate communication.
Really, Microsoft 365 is built on collaboration. Every tool is integrated, and Teams is just waiting to spark meaningful communication.
You want reporting? Microsoft (pardon the pun) excels in reporting. We’re talking device compliance reports, Exchange audit reports, Azure AD reports, and the Microsoft Reports dashboard. The MS365 ecosystem lives and breathes reporting.
Deploy Today — Not Tomorrow
Here’s a dirty little secret: digital transformation is a buzzword. But, Microsoft 365 isn’t. The way we work is changing. Wait, that’s not quite right. The way we work has changed. COVID-19 accelerated the inevitable. Don’t wait to digitally transform, and don’t let your business crumble beneath the pressures of the digital age. Upgrade to MS365 Business Premium TODAY. It’s the same price as Office 365 but offers more value. If you’re ready to take the next step, let’s talk.