Office 365: finding the treasure within

  • Posted on July 28, 2017
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes
Office 365

Office 365 now has over 100 million commercial monthly active users, and is one of the core components of the new Microsoft 365 Enterprise plan along with Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Since releasing in 2011, Office 365 and the related cloud productivity suite has evolved quickly to adapt to the increasing demands of the modern workforce, with hundreds of updates every year to help enhance collaboration. Office 365 certainly provides our clients with tremendous power and opportunity, but without a proper vision and roadmap, a lot of that potential goes untapped. One of our primary roles as a trusted advisor for our clients is to help them along their unified communications and collaboration journey, ensuring they maximize their investment on the platform and promote innovation within. This doesn’t always happen overnight, but what starts as a small move to the cloud can become rich with reward.

Mailboxes are only the beginning
The reality is when clients deploy the Avanade Office 365 solution, many of them initially only dipped their toes in the water via Exchange Online and user mailboxes. In fact, 87% of our deployed clients started with Exchange Online. But when that is the extent of their deployment, a lot of value is being left on the table. Our data shows that the other Office 365 workloads have historically been adopted at a far lesser rate, but as confidence in Office 365 has grown and the combined productivity story has strengthened, so has recent momentum to add additional higher-value workloads and truly embrace the power of Office 365. In fact, during Microsoft’s July 2017 quarterly earnings report, they also indicated the continued shift towards higher-value workloads, with SharePoint Online usage nearly doubling over the past year. Microsoft Teams has taken chat-based workspace collaboration to another level. The advanced Office 365 plan offers powerful voice and analytics capabilities with Cloud PBX and Power BI, respectively, and the list of features and functionality goes on and on. 

Embracing the modern workplace
The higher-value collaboration and productivity workloads are where the true power of Office 365 resides, and a key factor in unlocking the modern digital workplace. Results from workplace modernization research we conducted earlier this year showed that 86% of senior IT decision makers felt workplace modernization was important to both existing employee retention as well as attracting new employees. While recognizing the importance of a modern workplace is great, there are still challenges to getting there. Budget constraints often top the list, but we often find proper analysis of the full Office 365 suite reveals business value that moves way beyond traditional IT measurable benefits. Having a unified vision and modern workplace roadmap is key to getting started. It should not only focus on the journey to get to Office 365, but also on ongoing adoption and management of a platform that is constantly evolving. A strong foundation built on Office 365 is only the beginning, and an enabler for improvements around employee engagement and workforce effectiveness, all of which can be enhanced by leveraging the collaboration and productivity solutions within Office 365.

Maximizing Office 365 adoption
If it isn’t already clear, we at Avanade are big believers in Office 365 and the tremendous opportunity it presents our clients when utilized to its fullest potential. It is not just about mailboxes, but moving beyond the core and adopting additional workloads and services available as part of the subscription. This is where the hidden treasure resides and the opportunity for maximum ROI, allowing for creation of innovative solutions on top of the Office 365 platform that truly modernize the workplace and redefine the employee experience. It is not just about getting to the cloud, but finding the treasure that awaits and constantly thinking about “what’s next”. 

Learn more about Avanade’s Office 365 solution and how you can find the treasure within Office 365.

Prasad Kumkar

Helpful blog post O365. I found this to be very insightful!

July 31, 2017

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