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4 reasons remote teams should go all in on Microsoft’s modern workplace

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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:

  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.

  2. Microsoft’s modern workplace promotes more effective collaboration

    Microsoft’s modern workplace enhances productivity, enables seamless collaboration, and streamlines workflows across locations and platforms.

  3. 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.

  4. 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”.


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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.”

Focusing on people’s well-being and health in a distributed workplace [is] going to be very important this year.

Jasper Oosterveld (@jasoosterveld), Microsoft MVP, State of Microsoft 365 report Tweet this

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.


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.

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.

People are looking to automate or reinvent their processes now that they’re no longer working in person together.

Benjamin Niaulin (@bniaulin), Microsoft MVP, State of Microsoft 365 report Tweet this

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.


Read the full report on the State of Microsoft 365

Seventy percent of the IT professionals we surveyed for our benchmark report expect the majority of their workforce to continue working remotely through 2021. In this new world of work, modernizing workflows and the employee experience is more critical than ever. That’s where Microsoft 365 comes in.

Learn about more trends in digital transformation in our full report, State of Microsoft 365: Migration, Modernization, and Security in 2021. Get data-backed insights and expert recommendations to better leverage Microsoft for your business. The report also outlines what makes for a successful, scalable, and secure distributed workplace—now and for the future.

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