Did you know that in many office environments now, up to 60% of desk space is vacant? Well, the fact is that 4x as many people are working outside the office compared to just five years ago. Not only are these people working away from the office, but statistics also suggest that they’re working on twice as many teams too!
If this trend is going to continue, which it is, as businesses we are going to need to adapt to accommodate these evolving practices. Increasingly “work” appears to be a thing we do and not a place we go.
Conventionally software was written to be accessed and used from a single location, sharing and collaborating without huddling around a workstation was difficult, to say the least. As time moved on, the need for “remote access”, whether it was for staff on the road, or those working from home increased. As such, software developers started to incorporate methods in which applications were available from locations outside the office.
However, although it was a huge leap forward, it just wasn’t quite the same, we had to use things such as VPN connections and RDP sessions to gain access, and although completely effective, they just didn’t feel as good as using a local applications on a PC, but it was an improvement, to say the least!
Why wasn’t it good enough?
Why when you had that remote connection was it is still not feeling like the real thing, or feeling seamless like so many other bits of tech in your life? Well, we can probably thank Apple for the steady increase in dissatisfaction. As everything else in your life was getting faster, more attractive, streamlined and “addictive” to use, business IT was just kind of stuck there, comfortable in its own safe place with its arms wrapped firmly around your company’s operations.
The thing is, that ivory tower of safety wasn’t going to last for long in business environments. The masses were becoming more comfortable doing whatever they wanted in other areas of their lives, seamlessly talking to Siri or instructing their Alexa, the pressure was going to gradually mount for the final piece of the puzzle to fit… Workplace technology.
What is Microsoft Modern Workplace?
So, here we arrive at the “Modern Workplace” the term that Microsoft has cleverly coined for the evolution of technology to meet the needs/demands of staff working in business environments today. So, what does it mean? Well, essentially it refers to the use of a Microsoft ecosystem, commonly referred to as 365, but more generally can mean the use of pure Cloud products such as Azure, 365, AWS, Dynamics 365 etc.
The reason it’s important to take this shift in technology seriously is not only because the rate at which you’re going to be able to do business will start to decline relative to everyone else, but more importantly that to retain good staff, who want to share information rapidly, make fast decisions and “enjoy” using software will become more and more difficult.
This piece is not to try and promote 365 or other Cloud products, as that ship has already sailed and there is no going back. This article is to make it clear that there are certain steps you absolutely must take in your business over the coming months and years to stay relevant, competitive and a great place that people want to work in.
See what Microsoft say about the Modern Workplace
What does the Microsoft Modern Workplace include:
- Microsoft Office 365
- Microsoft Business Voice
- Enterprise Mobility + Security
- Azure Active Directory
- Microsoft Teams
- One Drive
- Microsoft Power Automate
- Power BI
- Windows 10 Virtual Desktop
Please see more information about these applications here.
What is Microsoft Power Automate?
A new application called Microsoft Power Automate is here to help you spend less time doing the mundane tasks in your day-to-day life. This app can not only automate repetitive actions, but also detect changes made by other people and take care of them for you! For example if someone deletes a file from an external drive it will automatically restore that deleted folder onto another storage device or network location like Google Drive or OneDrive so at least one copy remains safe. The possibilities are endless with this simple yet powerful software tool on hand.
How do I start moving forward to a Modern Workplace environment for my business?
- Start working with an IT partner who has genuine Cloud credentials, Microsoft, AWS, Google etc. and who can demonstrate the environment, ideally with a client in a live environment.
- Get staff interested in the project, have a demo arranged for Microsoft SharePoint, Teams, and Flow. The product doesn’t matter, what’s important is getting people hungry for improvement and excited about possibilities.
- Have a pilot group test the products, in a REAL environment, having a “play” will only get you so far, and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Work with your provider to set up some real data in the test area where people can really see it working.
- Encourage people to get mobile by downloading the Apps on their phones etc. there may be some resistance initially, but after they start seeing just how easily they can access their documents and collaborate on them, they’ll never look back.
- Identify old (legacy) bits of software and think critically about them. Are they really adding value? Or, is there just one chap who sits at the end of the warehouse printing off one label a week?
- Analyse data to find out where people are spending their time, with Microsoft Insights, for instance, it’s easy to see how much time your spending in emails or at meetings, or even how many emails you’re sending WHEN YOU’RE IN MEETINGS!
- Make collaboration and ease of access the priority, there will always be some small applications that won’t go easily but work with your provider to make the best of it and create a workaround, using RDS or Citrix for instance.
So, there you have it, just a few points to consider around the Microsoft Modern Workplace and how you can start working towards getting there. There are, of course, other things to consider, especially in larger environments, but it’s important not to think of it as cut and dry implementation. In most cases, it will be a longer, in-parallel way of working to ensure everyone is happy and comfortable.
In our experience, once people start using the new tools, and just seeing how smoothly things such as OneDrive, the SharePoint App and Teams work, the adopt these so heavily that their reliance on the old slowly but surely decreases with time anyway.
Benefits of Microsoft Modern Workplace over traditional setups
- The Microsoft platform has features that help you and your employees meet the needs of a rapidly changing workforce. The technology is scalable, secure, compliant with industry standards such as HIPPA and GDPR for international use but most importantly it integrates seamlessly into an ever-changing digital ecosystem to provide innovative solutions on what’s next in terms of workplace management.
- Employees are always trying to get messages across, but they often fail. They might use different channels of communication which means the message can be lost in translation or misunderstood by someone who is looking for it elsewhere. This lack of visibility and control creates a lot more work than necessary because each channel has its own audience.
- The business management platforms that are being implemented today have very limited integration with one another. They should implement a more robust system to allow for both automation and the exchange of information in order to make sure all aspects of their operations run smoothly because if they don’t, it will be detrimental.
- The majority of employees use desktops, but not all have laptops or tablets. This severely limits the number of remote workers available to do work from home and could be a huge issue for your company’s growth.
Get In Touch Today
If you’re looking for a way to improve your company and make it more productive, Microsoft has many solutions. For starters, the modern workplace can help by providing employees with flexible work arrangements in order to reduce burnout and increase productivity. You might also want to explore Office 365 which is designed specifically for mobile devices so that workers have access to their files from anywhere. Did any of these options sound like they could be right up your alley? Let us know! We would love to hear about how we can help bring success back into your business through our services.