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The future of distributed work: How Microsoft 365 can benefit your business

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Distributed work is expected to continue through 2021 and beyond. If your company hasn’t made the move to Microsoft 365 yet, here are some reasons why you should.

Our recent cloud computing report revealed that Microsoft 365 adoption skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft 365 is now being used globally by more than a million businesses, translating into an estimated one in five corporate employees who access Microsoft 365 cloud services.

If you’re not aware, Microsoft rebranded its popular Office 365 productivity suite as Microsoft 365 in March 2020. Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription model that includes the same core applications as traditional Office versions, as well as an array of new AI- and cloud-powered apps, including Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and OneDrive.

Some think Microsoft 365 adoption isn’t a worthwhile investment. On the contrary, the long-term payoff can be huge. With remote and hybrid work models becoming permanent, leveraging Microsoft 365’s cloud-based productivity suite will set your business up for long-term success—no matter what the future brings.

If your company hasn’t already made the move to Microsoft 365, here are some reasons why you should.

How Microsoft 365 can benefit your business:

  1. Microsoft 365 makes your business more cost-efficient

    The new era of widespread remote work requires new methods of virtual collaboration—and Microsoft 365’s all-inclusive productivity suite is a cost-efficient solution to accomplish that.

  2. Microsoft 365 helps make employees more productive

    Microsoft 365’s cloud-based tools boost business productivity by helping remote employees collaborate, communicate, and work together more efficiently.

  3. Microsoft 365 keeps company data more secure

    Microsoft 365 comes with built-in security solutions prevent data leakage and help remote employees work more securely without hindering productivity.


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Microsoft 365 makes your business more cost-efficient

The events of the past year have pushed more businesses to move to the cloud. The new era of widespread remote work requires new methods of virtual collaboration—and Microsoft 365’s all-inclusive productivity suite is a cost-efficient solution to accomplish that. It delivers all the tools necessary to work and collaborate to every employee in your company, regardless of their location.

Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based service, allowing companies to pay a monthly fee to access the services of their choice. This is a more cost-efficient productivity solution than purchasing the suite outright on a one-time basis, which locks you into continually buying a new copy when new features are released. Each year, you would have to choose between using outdated software or paying a steep premium to stay current. But with Microsoft 365, your employees are always using the latest versions of Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint—without your business having to pay to upgrade.

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

The fact that Microsoft 365 is entirely cloud-hosted benefits your bottom line, too. Unlike on-premises/desktop solutions, Microsoft 365 doesn’t require any expensive servers or hardware to maintain. That frees up valuable office real estate, as well as your IT team’s bandwidth.

As we venture deeper into the unknown future of distributed work, the adaptability of cloud-based solutions like Microsoft 365 will only become more essential. We saw firsthand during the pandemic that the companies that thrived were able to leverage the cloud to navigate the demands of the moment. It’s no surprise, then, that a recent PwC survey found that nearly 75% of finance leaders are “planning for a more agile business environment going forward.”


Microsoft 365 helps make employees more productive

In comparison to older, on-premises solutions, Microsoft 365’s cloud-based tools boost business productivity by helping remote employees collaborate, communicate, and work together more efficiently.

Microsoft 365 is designed as a cloud-first application, meaning the whole point is to allow employees to collaborate without being in the same physical space. The suite bundles conferencing, messaging and chat apps, file sharing, and cloud storage. So, it easily supports employees working across different locations, time zones, and continents.

Microsoft 365 also includes intelligent tools designed to enable distributed employees to be more productive. One of those tools is Microsoft Teams, which brings together chat, calls, meetings, file sharing, and third-party tools in one intuitive interface. When examining Microsoft trends in our report, 43.4% of IT professionals we surveyed cited Microsoft Teams adoption as the top motivator to move to Microsoft 365 during the pandemic.

In Microsoft 365, all apps and services are connected, which streamlines employee workflows and prevents constant context-switching between different apps and systems. Additionally, Microsoft 365’s Power Platform includes products that enable IT admins to automate employee processes, such as automatically saving email attachments and managing project approvals.


Microsoft 365 keeps company data more secure

Businesses should consider adopting Microsoft 365 because it comes with built-in security solutions to prevent data leakage and help remote employees work more securely without hindering productivity.

A recent survey of IT decision-makers found that 83% believe “the rise in remote workers increases the risk of a security incident” in the post-COVID era. These security risks include data breaches related to the use of personal devices and accidental sharing of confidential files. Our cloud computing report found that 67.2% of organizations currently allow employees to use personal devices for work.

Microsoft 365 mitigates these risks through multi-factor authentication (MFA), which adds a layer of protection to the sign-in process. When accessing accounts or apps, remote users provide additional identity verification, such as scanning a fingerprint or entering a code received by phone. A survey conducted for our report also revealed that 86.2% of companies have enabled MFA in their organization over the last year to enable remote work.

On top of MFA, you can add more feature-rich solutions like Microsoft Intune, which gives you advanced capabilities like enforcing mobile device encryption and the use of PIN numbers.

Microsoft 365 also protects your company against phishing attacks and email scams, which have proliferated during the pandemic. The suite includes multi-layered defense solutions like Microsoft Defender, a cloud-based email filtering service to detect and protect against phishing attempts, unsafe attachments, malware, spam, and more.


Learn about the future of distributed work in the State of Microsoft 365 report

Seventy percent of the IT professionals we surveyed for our cloud computing report expect the majority of their workforce to continue working remotely through 2021. In this new world of work, leveraging Microsoft 365 to support your remote employees—and your business—is more important than ever.

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 in the future.

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