A Modern Workplace with Microsoft

What you need to know and how you can build it

You’re fighting battles every day: developing the business, beating the competition, surviving. If your technology isn’t supporting you or your users, you’re on the back foot before your day has even started.

Microsoft 365 technologies simplify management of your IT and empower your workforce. Equip your users well and you’ll give your organisation a competitive advantage.

“Fundamentally, the Modern Workplace is about technology that just works. At Content+Cloud, this means placing users at the heart of decision making. The premise is straightforward; businesses thrive when people are equipped to do their best job.”

 

Dan Coleby, Director of Business Performance, Content+Cloud

What is a modern workplace?

A modern workplace is a digital and physical space that meets the needs of your business and users. It eliminates the problems many of us are familiar with:

  • Poor communication: information is exchanged across disparate channels, leading to a lack of visibility, control, and misunderstandings.
  • Clunky processes: two or more systems used for the one job. Re-keying data, increasing the potential for error. Low-level tasks performed manually because of a lack of automation.
  • Data in silos: time burned extracting and reconciling information. Reporting and analytics are a burden. No single source of truth, resulting in limited insights and a lack of trust in the data.
  • Constrained to certain devices: for example, legacy systems cant be accessed via mobiles as they’re incompatible or present security risks. Users have fixed desktops which inhibit efficiency because they can’t take them to meetings.
  • Lack of cross-platform services: disconnected processes and systems. No common data model or APIs to enable different data sources to be leveraged in one place.
  • Crammed office space: flexible, remote working options are limited. The consequences of overcrowding include distracted workers, frayed nerves and low morale.
  • No self-service for basic IT needs: your users and IT team are spending time on trivial support issues, such as password resets.
  • Shadow IT: the unapproved use of apps and other software can compromise your security and compliance.
  • Dated service offerings: your technology isn’t scalable, nor is it keeping pace with the requirements of your user base or customers.
  • Inflexible contracts and software licences: your vendors are too slow or unwilling to adapt to your evolving needs.
  • A frustrated user-base: your people are unhappy as they’re not equipped with the tools to do their best job.
  • A beleaguered IT department: your IT team is devoting most of its time to putting out fires and keeping the lights on, rather than adding value.

The Microsoft Modern Workplace gives you what you need to improve productivity, collaboration and employee engagement.

“The starter for embracing the Modern Workplace and making the best use of cloud services is to understand where you are today. Most companies have some workloads running in the cloud. The path to transforming them is to start with a picture of what your organisation looks like now, then map that onto where you want to be.”

 

Matt White, Technical Consultant – Technology Enablement, Content+Cloud

What are the core technical elements of Microsoft’s Modern Workplace?

The Microsoft Modern Workplace suite: Office 365 tools, EM+S, Fresh digital workplace, Intune, Windows 10 and telephony

The Microsoft Modern Workplace is your integrated, frictionless ecosystem. It’s intuitive for your user base, and agile and scalable for your business.

Spin up new locations in days and add new users in minutes. A security wraparound gives peace of mind. As everything is in the cloud, updates are automatic. Fresh from Content+Cloud gives you a digital workspace for allowing your users to access everything they need in one place.

Your goal is to rid yourself of the constraints on the left and replace them with the list on the right:

Goodbye to the burden of:

  1. On-premise infrastructure and Active Directory
  2. Poorly managed devices
  3. Legacy systems and CapEx

Hello to the freedom of:

  1. Intelligent cloud leveraging AI and modern cloud infrastructure
  2. Intelligent edge including Windows 10 managed through Intune and Autopilot
  3. Microsoft SaaS and OpEx

“Security weaves seamlessly through every element of Microsoft 365. Microsoft safeguards your data, devices, apps and users. As the technology is in the cloud, it’s continuously and automatically updated.”

 

Pete Wilson, Head of Technology Consulting Services, Content+Cloud

Solve your common business headaches with Microsoft 365

Here’s a look at how the Modern Workplace helps you overcome many common challenges organisations face.

Poor collaboration

If you look for statistics linking collaboration with performance, you’ll probably encounter Frost & Sullivan’s Collaboration Performance Index. The index was the result of analysis of 4,500 enterprises in seven industries and ten countries.

Frost & Sullivan’s research proved that companies that collaborate better perform better. Organisations that equip their employees with effective collaboration tools are more successful in key revenue-generating areas.

The consequences of ineffective collaboration include:

  • Departmental or functional polarisation; people working in silos
  • Misaligned goals
  • Issues accessing and controlling information
  • Fragmented data and poorer insights
  • Unclear responsibilities, confusion over ownership
  • Missed deadlines
  • A lack of managerial visibility and control
  • Wasted people potential
  • Lost business opportunities

For project management, Microsoft Teams is the ideal collaboration tool. It’s a hub for bringing people together, both inside and outside your organisation. Users access everything they need – such as files and apps, in a controlled and structured way. Conversations and meetings take place without people having to leave the hub, and teammates can see what’s happening.

For non-project work, Yammer is a great tool for connecting people across your organisation and building a sense of community.

Keeping on top of to-do lists

Capturing the actions from endless meetings and juggling the resulting to-do lists can be overwhelming. Microsoft has a neat tool to manage this, called OneNote. It’s your digital canvas for making notes and annotating documents with the natural feel of pen and paper.

You can also capture the information on whiteboards.

Enjoy the comfort of having your meeting records and notes in one place, combined with a powerful search facility so you’ll never have to hunt for anything again.

Finding information or subject matter experts without wasting time

How do you rapidly find what you need from a database containing thousands or even millions of files? When you want to identify an expert to help with a project – either inside or outside your business, how do you locate them?

The answer is to use Microsoft’s intelligent search and discovery, which is powered by artificial intelligence. By storing your files on SharePoint or OneDrive, you can search in the same way as you do on the internet. File management tools identify text in images, so you can quickly locate screenshots, receipts and whiteboards.

Once you’ve found what you need, you can import it to Outlook, PowerPoint, Word or Excel.

LinkedIn Profiles are integrated with M365 so the people you need are only a few clicks away.

Staying productive while on the move

The reality for many mobile workers is that they play catch up on their return to their office. Their access to files and systems is blocked or limited, and collaboration is impeded.

Nearly 50% of professionals believe their mobile devices are core to their productivity. For those who spend a lot of time travelling, accessing business applications and maintaining effective communication with HQ is even more important.

Microsoft puts the workplace in the pockets of your mobile workforce. Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive and your company intranet will help them stay fully connected and productive.

Common applications like Excel, PowerPoint, Word and Outlook are compatible with popular mobile platforms, like iOS and Android. Cortana – a personal digital assistant – further enhances the mobile experience.

The curse of inefficient meetings

Ineffective, poorly managed meetings are bad for business. A survey of nearly 500 business leaders found that 90% of them attributed a lack of advanced planning and organisation as the main failure of most meetings. (Source: software company Atlassian).

It’s a rare to find anyone who hasn’t experienced:

  • meetings that meander on with no clear purpose;
  • underprepared colleagues – if information was shared ahead of the meeting, they either missed it or didn’t read it;
  • a lack of clarity – responsibilities and timelines aren’t captured, actions not followed through.

As well as being an expensive waste of time, such meetings crush morale.

With Microsoft Teams meeting functionality, collaboration starts the minute the meeting is scheduled. Attendees share documents and connect on ‘persistent chat’. Rich audio and video capabilities enhance the user experience.  The wider task and project management capabilities in Microsoft Teams ensure everyone stays on track.

Disconnected, disengaged employees

In big organisations, especially those with multiple sites, employees can feel disconnected from head office and each other. If people feel excluded from decisions that affect them, or have no voice, their commitment may erode.

This can manifest in different ways: low productivity and energy, lack of initiative, absenteeism. Furthermore, when workers feel left out of the loop – especially during times of uncertainty or change – it can set the rumour mill spinning.

Yammer is a social network for business. Yammer helps foster a community and breaks down people silos. You can set up Yammer groups to manage comms on a specific topic.

Dull company updates few pay attention to

When employees are overloaded, the chances of them eagerly devouring every word of your company newsletter or important announcement are thin. However carefully you’ve crafted your communication, it’s competing with a great many other things going on in their heads.

Did you know that the brain processes video 60,000 times faster than text? Microsoft Stream makes video communications easy. For scattered teams and remote workers, it comes into its own. You can also integrate Microsoft Stream with other collaborative apps, such as Yammer and Teams.

Managing the monster that is email

Despite the proliferation of other channels of communication, email remains the number one choice of many. While people are often guilty of copying in co-workers unnecessarily, there’s a deeper challenge.

Setting aside the merits of Teams and SharePoint, how do you bring new team members up to speed on older emails? You can add them to a distribution list when they join, but that won’t solve the problem.

Groups in Outlook allows you to modernise your legacy distribution lists. New team members can view past emails.  You can also use an Outlook Group to invite everyone to a meeting at once.

Getting actionable information from your data

Your business generates high volumes of data every day, but what value are you drawing from it? Despite the mantra that data is the new oil, less than half a per cent of digital information is used to inform decision making and improve performance.

Why is this? Valuable information often languishes in disparate systems. It takes time to extract, reconcile and analyse it. By the time the job’s done, it’s out of date.

Microsoft 365 helps you make data-driven decisions in real-time.

Keeping everyone focused on the big picture

Ensuring everyone is aligned with your business goals can be challenging. Are they spending time on what counts or are they vanishing down rabbit holes? Are inefficiencies or obstacles getting in their way?

Give your workforce visibility of how their actions are contributing to your company’s ambitions with real-time dashboards and KPIs. Not only does this foster a shared sense of purpose, it enables your management to better track performance and other important metrics.

Maximising productivity: improving individual and business performance

In our personal lives, much of what we do is measured. From what we eat, to the exercise we take and our sleep patterns. Our personal apps give us an opportunity to be better versions of ourselves. So, why don’t we enjoy the same insights at work?

With MyAnalytics, you can. Microsoft found that MyAnalytics users commonly save half a day a week through building better working habits.

Workplace Analytics gives a holistic view by aggregating and anonymising the data from MyAnalytics. See productivity trends and work patterns across your organisation. Use them to identify blockers and inform improvements. Workplace Analytics is also valuable for measuring the impact of change.

Protecting your data and reputation from constant threat

Over 40% of businesses and nearly 20% of charities experienced a cybersecurity breach or attack in the last 12 months. (Source: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018). The average cost of a data breach is rising, at over £3K for businesses and £1K for charities.

But cybercrime shouldn’t be measured solely on the numbers. Reputations built over years are destroyed in days. Operational downtime is crippling for your employees and your customers or service users. There’s the emotional impact too: a cyber attack is blindsiding.

The dangers aren’t just on the outside. Insider threats – careless or malicious employees – cost British business millions.  As if this isn’t enough to worry about, the longer a breach goes undetected, the costlier it is to fix.

Many organisations are nervous about entrusting all of their data to the cloud, choosing instead to manage sensitive information on-premise. Ironically, this often means it is less secure. Legacy and on-premise systems also present a barrier to innovation.

Security is the thread that runs through the Microsoft ecosystem. Achieving the same level of threat protection in-house that Microsoft delivers as standard would be prohibitively expensive, making a compelling argument for a wholesale move to the cloud.

“The way we work is changing; employees want to interact with business systems in the same way as their consumer apps. A Modern Workplace enables this by providing access to data in ways that modern IT users want.  Modern Workplace solutions keep your organisation evergreen. They allow your users to incrementally make use of new products and features as they’re released. The days of waiting for IT to upgrade systems before new functionality becomes available are over. It’s a win for both your users and your IT teams.”

 

Matt White, Technical Consultant – Technology Enablement, Content+Cloud

Building your Modern Workplace with Content+Cloud

If you could eliminate your top three business headaches, what would they be? To respond with greater agility to the needs of your C-Suite? Like many organisations – perhaps security is a huge concern. Or maybe operational and people silos are holding your business back?

Whatever your needs, it’s likely that the functional element of your role means your time to strategise and transform is limited. As one of the UK’s most awarded Microsoft Certified Partners we can help you navigate your choices and design your modern workplace.

From short-term consultancy to a long-term partnership, we support businesses like yours every day. We understand your challenges and know how to reduce your time to value. Our consultants and technical experts work as one team and act as an extension of yours.

Often, eyes from outside the business will spot obstacles or opportunities your people have become blind to. The Microsoft Modern Workplace is your door to digital transformation. At Content+Cloud, we give you the keys to unlock it.

Find out more about our Modern Workplace services 

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