Adopting cloud technology is the ultimate competitive advantage for businesses large and small, and it’s easy to see why: Cloud-based solutions are flexible, scalable, feature-heavy, and cost-effective—all major plusses for your organization. While many share those inherent similarities, it’s important to remember that not all cloud technologies are created equal. One cloud solution that stands above the rest is Microsoft Office 365—let’s explore why.
How Microsoft Office in the Cloud Can Benefit Your Business
Employees expect to collaborate professionally with the same ease as they communicate personally, and devices with robust connectivity play a big role in making that expectation a reality. What enables such an efficient setup? The answer is often cloud technology. Microsoft Office in the Cloud, for example, is a suite of offerings that allows users to deploy a number of essential applications—Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Skype for Business, and more—when and where they need to.
Let’s not forget one essential benefit of cloud technology: Lower infrastructure costs and resource expenditures. An example of this in action is OneDrive, a cloud-housing storage space with plenty of space to store and backup files, further empowering your team. That means that while your employees have greater access to the tools they need to do their best work, your IT staff can also spend time focusing on adding business value instead of managing day to day tasks like upgrading software, engineering workarounds to service incidents, etc.
Microsoft’s Cloud works on a monthly subscription model, and the beauty of cloud-based solutions is that they can scale up or down with your business, as and when you need it. Bottom line: You only use what you need, and don’t pay for what you don’t need. Which is exactly why businesses of all sizes are loving Microsoft’s Office 365 offering. From an IT standpoint, the burden of being up-to-date is a non-issue, as the technology is automatically and regularly update.
As with any technology, there are challenges associated with Microsoft Office 365, too. For example, the platform includes a host of features—many of which change often—and it’s reported that many users use a mere 20 percent of the capabilities of the service. Underutilizing the service can lead to underwhelming ROI, even for a platform that’s already cost-effective. How can you get around this issue? Let’s explore how to get the most out of Microsoft Office 365 post-migration.
Getting the Most Out of Microsoft Office 365 Post-Migration
Microsoft’s cloud boasts more than word processing and design power—it also gives you access to every business leader’s best friend: data analytics, the leveraging of which can help you drive the most value from the cloud service within your organization. Let’s look at how to do that.
Post-migration, you (or your IT team) will likely be spending a good amount of time in the Admin Center of Microsoft Office 365—and that’s a good thing. The Admin Center houses many core capabilities of the platform, including dashboards that provide data and insight to support a variety of business needs. For example, here, you can understand how end-users within your organization are interacting with the platform, allowing you to see the success of the adoption initiative in real time. If there’s a lag and more training is required—there’s a dashboard for that, too.
Data in the usage reports is a good starting point for stakeholders and administrators, but it’s easy to take the insights further. For example, dashboards contain metrics and fully customizable reports based on adoption, communication, collaboration, and activation down to the user-level. There are also built-in sharing capabilities that allow you to share these insights with those inside or outside of your organization, along with the ability to create an entirely new dashboard of your own.
Remember my earlier point about the platform being widely underutilized? Using data analytics to monitor usage and collaboration in real time—and, more importantly, pivoting your strategy to optimize both—is the way to boost both team performance and ROI.
As with any new technology migration, your organization—and, especially, your IT team—should understand the associated risks and how to mitigate them. I’ve covered that in detail here: Migrating to Office 365? Here’s How to Mitigate IT Risk. It’s an important read and covers the basics like mobile device management and email encryption as well as big picture considerations like advanced threat analytics.
Do you want to learn more about how Microsoft Office 365 can provide business-building insights, boost team collaboration, and empower your IT staff to focus on what’s really important—i.e., leading digital transformation initiatives to keep your company relevant? If so, make sure to watch this on demand webinar: Role of IT After Migrating to Office 365. It provides a ton of great insights and examples that will be helpful to business owners, platform users and IT teams, both pre- and post-migration.
Has your business embraced the cloud? If you’re already a Microsoft Office 365 user, do you have any insight to share that could add to this discussion? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This post is sponsored by Microsoft Office’s Small Business Academy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”