Microsoft 365’s productivity suite is designed for users to benefit from new ways of work. Here are the top reasons why IT teams should go all in and fully adopt Microsoft’s modern workplace!
In a survey conducted for our new cloud computing report, State of Microsoft 365: Migration, Modernization, and Security in 2021, 92.8% of IT professionals said they pushed prior modernization plans ahead of schedule in 2020 by a matter of days, weeks, or months due to COVID-19.
Microsoft’s concept of the “modern workplace” is a new way of working that uses the latest cloud-based Microsoft 365 tools and services to create a more integrated, agile system that can evolve as a company grows. To “go modern,” IT teams must make a digital transformation that includes: embracing cloud migration for company data and tools; moving from classic to modern SharePoint; flattening site architecture and getting rid of subsites; and connecting modern team sites to Microsoft 365 groups and teams.
When fully adopted, the modern workplace streamlines business processes, enhances communication, and enables employees to connect, collaborate, and create from anywhere. Here are the top reasons why IT teams should go all in and fully adopt Microsoft’s modern workplace.
Here are 4 reasons remote teams should go all in on Microsoft’s modern workplace:
- Microsoft’s modern workplace offers a better employee experience for remote teams
Microsoft 365 includes new platforms, tools, and apps to nurture employee well-being, connectivity, and learning in the digital workplace.
- Microsoft’s modern workplace promotes more effective collaboration
Microsoft’s modern workplace enhances productivity, enables seamless collaboration, and streamlines workflows across locations and platforms.
- Microsoft’s modern workplace automates time-consuming tasks
Another top reason to go modern is the ability to leverage all the available capabilities of the PowerPlatform automation apps.
- Microsoft’s modern workplace is scalable for remote teams
By leveraging self-service functionality in Microsoft 365, IT can empower employees to create the resources they need without “gatekeeping”.
1. Microsoft’s modern workplace offers a better employee experience for remote teams
Microsoft 365 includes new platforms, tools, and apps to nurture employee well-being, connectivity, and learning in the digital workplace. With the launch of Microsoft Viva, the company’s new employee experience platform, Microsoft is betting on the future of remote work and the importance of creating a virtual company culture built around flexible work models.
When examining digital transformation for our State of Microsoft 365 report, we interviewed Microsoft MVP and modern workplace consultant Jasper Oosterveld. Oosterveld noted that among his corporate clients, “there’s a lot of focus right now around user engagement, people’s well-being and health. Making sure people stay healthy and sane [when working remotely]—that’s going to be very important for companies this year.”
There’s no doubt employee expectations around work have shifted due to the pandemic. A BCG survey of 12,000 employees revealed “a significant shift in employee expectations for the future of work, with a keen appetite for flexible ways of working—and increased openness to this from managers.”
Companies recognize the need to cultivate a culture better suited to a digital workforce. According to Forbes, “Companies that shift to building around the remote employee experience can create great company cultures that are purpose-built for the future of flexible work.” In the post-COVID era, companies that embrace digital transformation to satisfy those new employee expectations are better suited to thrive going forward.
Viva is designed to do just that. The employee-focused platform helps companies to better connect and support distributed teams by integrating customized tools for employee engagement, learning, and well-being into the daily flow of work within Microsoft Teams. Through Viva, employees can view a continually updating company news feed, attend virtual town halls, and access insights specifically targeted at remote workers, like a guide to planning your remote workday to include regular breaks, informal chat time with colleagues, and wellness opportunities.
Also, Viva Insights is a powerful tool to help your organization balance the complexity of remote work.
2. Microsoft’s modern workplace promotes more effective collaboration
At its core, Microsoft’s modern workplace is about enhancing employee productivity, enabling seamless collaboration and communication, and streamlining workflows across locations and platforms. The technology that enables all of that is within Microsoft 365. Through the seamless integration of Microsoft 365 apps and services, users can collaborate better together from wherever they work.
Microsoft Teams’ collaboration tools are one of the most compelling reasons to upgrade to Microsoft’s modern workplace. Teams usage has exploded over the past year, reaching 115 million daily active users by October 2020. When examining Microsoft trends in our report, 43.4% of IT professionals we surveyed cited Microsoft Teams deployment as the top motivator to move to modern Microsoft architecture.
And, with a stellar IT modernization strategy, it’s easy to upgrade to a secure modern workplace.
Teams embodies Microsoft’s modern workplace by presenting a unified interface that allows users to work seamlessly across Microsoft 365 apps that are integrated on the backend. As Microsoft’s “hub for teamwork,” Teams brings together chat, calls, meetings, file sharing, and third-party tools in one centralized location.
As the needs of remote workers continue to evolve in real-time, Microsoft has continually added new Teams features to address them. From streamlined file sharing to shareable calendars, check out our roundup of new Teams capabilities you can leverage for greater agility, collaboration, and productivity.
3. Microsoft’s modern workplace automates time-consuming tasks
Another top motivator to go modern is Microsoft 365’s Power Platform—a group of products that enable users to develop, build, analyze, and automate business processes. They are incredibly helpful in streamlining workflows and boosting efficiency. But you need to be using the modern SharePoint platform to leverage all their available capabilities.
In a survey conducted for our cloud computing report, the second top driver for modernization in 2020 was “seamless/improved integration” with Power Platform apps including Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents.
What this tells Benjamin Niaulin is that in the age of cloud computing, we need to reimagine workflows from the ground up. “People are looking to automate or reinvent their processes now that they’re no longer working in person together. They’re realizing, ‘We’re not here physically; I can’t just drop by somebody’s desk or give them a paper to sign. I need to do all of that automatically and digitally.’”
Microsoft’s Power Platform includes Power Automate (a cloud-based service that helps users create automated workflows between their favorite apps and services), Power Apps (a custom app builder), Power BI (a data analysis tool), and Power Virtual Agents (a no-code chatbot builder).
Power Automate, previously called Microsoft Flow, is a popular tool for streamlining everyday tasks. And you don’t have to be an IT professional to use it. Employees can use Power Automate’s “no-code/low-code platform” to create all sorts of time-saving flows, from automatically saving email attachments to managing SharePoint approvals.
4. Microsoft’s modern workplace is scalable for remote teams
Distributed work is here to stay, and organizations now face the challenge of finding a scalable way to maintain a well-managed and secure digital workplace. By leveraging self-service functionality in Microsoft 365, IT can empower employees to create the resources and tools they need while avoiding the time-consuming gatekeeping of a fully locked-down system.
Enabling self-service in Microsoft 365 is a concept that encompasses allowing specific self-service features such as group/team creation, external sharing, and guest access. Our report findings show IT professionals recognize the benefits of enabling self-service. In a February 2021 survey, 84.1% of respondents said that enabling self-service functionality in Microsoft 365 has saved their IT teams time and money.
The self-service model has become more relevant given the explosion in Microsoft Teams creation and corresponding administrative challenges. In a modern, distributed workplace, IT teams can quickly become overwhelmed, and an IT-led provisioning model—where users depend on IT to approve the creation of each new group or team—is virtually impossible to manage at scale.
When IT brings users into the fold via self-service, it creates a win-win strategy for the long term. Employees are able to make the best decision for their own content, and IT gets some relief from having to approve and manage every single user request.
What is Microsoft Teams suitable for? It’s more than a hub for teamwork, especially for remote and hybrid environments. It’s the place where secure collaboration happens.
Microsoft modern workplace FAQs
You have solid built-in security and compliance features and services in the Microsoft modern workplace, which includes Microsoft 365. The main ones are Microsoft Defender (for protection against cyberthreats) and Microsoft Purview (for data governance and compliance). These are the best safeguards to protect your company data and ensure privacy in the digital workspace.
These tools will help you set up data loss prevention (DLP), information rights management (IRM), and multi-factor authentication (MFA). For compliance, Microsoft 365 adheres to global standards like GDPR and offers features like Compliance Manager and Microsoft Secure Score to help organizations measure and improve their compliance posture.
In the Microsoft modern workplace, IT admins can leverage Microsoft Intune for device and app management. With Intune, organizations can manage a wide range of devices (including smartphones, tablets, and laptops), control how they access company data, and ensure they meet the organization’s security policies. This is especially valuable for remote teams, where employees might use personal devices for work purposes.
Related: Boost remote work security for Microsoft 365
Promoting user adoption and training is a crucial aspect of transitioning to the Microsoft modern workplace. Microsoft offers resources like Microsoft Learn and Learning Pathways to help users get familiar with their new tools.
Your organization could also set up internal training sessions, provide user manuals, or work with third-party training providers to ensure employees effectively use Microsoft 365 tools. Implementing a phased approach to adoption, encouraging feedback, and recognizing employee engagement with the new tools are some strategies to boost user adoption.
Make no mistake about it: migrating to the Microsoft modern workplace, including Microsoft 365 and modern, cloud-based SharePoint, involves some serious planning and careful execution from IT admins and managers.
Common strategies include auditing existing data and systems, defining a clear roadmap, preparing the IT infrastructure, training end users, and implementing the migration in phases to minimize disruption.
Some of the challenges IT admins and managers can expect are data migration issues, change management (like dealing with end-user resistance), and security risks. Addressing these challenges requires careful planning, communication, training, and, depending on the case, seeking assistance from a Microsoft partner or consultant.