Why Microsoft 365 is Key to Creating a Modern Workplace

The digital revolution and the application of cloud solutions are not only disrupting several industries, they’re also reshaping the way we live and work. Businesses and employees alike have been experiencing the real benefits of the cloud, with 96% of firms using cloud services today. Meanwhile, the definition of a modern workplace is has changed too. Gone are the days of massive headquarters, fixed office desks and operating from isolated spaces. The modern workplace is all about leveraging technology to the fullest to create vibrant and stimulating environments, enabling total mobility and 24/7 staff connectivity regardless of location.

We’ve already covered how Exchange Online offers a valuable step towards digitalizing work environments. To go further, now it’s the Microsoft 365 package that can truly complete the digital transformation towards a more forward-thinking business.

 

Microsoft 365 - The Complete Solution For The Modern Workplace

Microsoft 365 is a set of integrated services in the cloud that facilitate communication, collaboration and the flow of information for businesses. Through a mix of different cloud-based technologies, mainly Office 365 and EMS (Enterprise Mobility + Security) as well as Windows 10, Microsoft 365 provides a vital foundation for the creation of the modern workplace.

Office 365

Office 365 is the cloud-based version of Microsoft’s traditional on-premise Office package that’s loaded with unique features and additional services. It includes all well-known office applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access, and makes them accessible in the cloud (with the exception of Access). Additionally, Office 365 also comes with several additional services such as Exchange Online for email services, OneDrive and SharePoint for storage in the cloud, and Microsoft Teams for collaboration and video conferences.

Thanks to this attractive mixture of digitalized office solutions and value-added services, companies are increasingly moving from on-premise office packages to the cloud-based version, in order to develop a more modern workplace. In fact, in 2017, over 50% of Microsoft Office business users opted for the online version, and, according to the head of Microsoft Office business solutions, that number is expected to grow to two-thirds this year.

Windows 10

Windows 10 is the newest operating system (OS) for computers. An overwhelming majority of IT workers, 59% in fact, would select Windows 10 for their next device. 62% of IT professionals state that their main reasons for opting for Windows 10 are security and privacy. This comes as no surprise given that Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is one of the principal features of Windows 10. Besides built-in security features, the OS also provides users with an array of services such as the intelligent assistant Cortana that help improve productivity. Finally, IT teams can leverage tools such as Windows Autopilot that make it easier to update, deploy and manage devices remotely.

EMS (Enterprise Mobility + Security)

EMS is a set of solutions that enables companies to manage devices and virtual identities in the cloud. With employees increasingly working from multiple devices, EMS was developed to provide IT with tools that ensure the security and maintenance of the modern digital infrastructure. Features like single sign-on for multiple devices, identity-driven security across devices and desktop virtualization will enhance user experience, boost the efficiency and flexibility of employees, as well as equipping IT departments with tools to actively manage modern workplace security.

 

Why Microsoft 365 Is Key For A Modern Workplace

Studies show that firms with forward-looking workplace strategies significantly outperform their peers in key success factors such as profitability, market share, employee engagement and productivity. Microsoft 365 could be central to these strategies, due to several benefits:

Empower employees

Microsoft 365 helps firms get the most out of their employees. It equips workforces with the full office suite, a leading operating system plus essential tools, which are updated automatically. Each of these helps employees to perform their jobs more efficiently, and work from their chosen device and location without provoking security threats to their organization. Moreover, by ‘digitalizing’ the workplace, firms promote collaboration across departments and countries to foster innovation.

Better serve your customers

Happy employees mean happier customers. Not only will employees that feel supported and valued perform better against customer expectations, but Microsoft 365 also gives them the tools to execute this. It gives 24/7 access to work applications, data and email services, which significantly boosts response time to customer queries. Additionally, working with reliable solutions like Microsoft 365 also ensures that employees aren’t faced with external errors that impact their performance when dealing with customers.

Flexible growth through subscription-based per-user costs

The modern workplace requires flexibility to respond to rapidly changing markets. Microsoft 365’s subscription-based model on a per-user basis facilitates scaling up or down depending on business needs. Being able to turn CAPEX into OPEX also hands more flexibility to finance departments considering investment opportunities. Finally, the subscription model reduces spend on updates and maintenance since Microsoft constantly rolls out new improvements. This means businesses’ monthly spending ensures access to the latest technologies.

Different packages for different needs

Microsoft 365 offers a range of different packages, designed to fit organizations’ specific needs. Customers can choose between solutions for enterprise, business and workforce to opt for a package that covers their requirements. Together with additional applications offered by Microsoft, firms can make sure they build a powerful bespoke infrastructure for their business.

 

Take the next step after moving to Exchange Online

Moving to Exchange Online is frequently a first step in organizations’ cloud journeys and digital transformations. Following this, many firms purchase Microsoft 365 as their next step to creating a modern workplace. Whilst still including the Exchange Online feature, Microsoft 365 builds on this strong foundation by adding cloud-based office, storage and workplace solutions as well as increased security and optimized user experience.

 

 

Olav R. Birkeland Technical Analyst & Cloud Operator olavb@ironstoneit.com

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