We don’t always stop to appreciate the magnitude of the technologies that play a role in our daily lives. They continue to evolve and grow around us, and we benefit from them. The speed of this growth has increased exponentially. All of this rapid digital transformation is worth reviewing and understanding how it can be best applied to business growth going forward.
There is no question that the year 2020 was unlike any that we have ever seen in modern history. It created a sort of vortex in which many employees found themselves suddenly working from home on a full-time basis. They had to completely change the way that they performed their job. Digital transformation took centre stage as millions of companies had to work out ways to allow their employees to perform the tasks that they needed to from home. Business managers began to ask themselves the following questions:
Those three burning questions were some top concerns for business managers attempting to navigate through the minefield that was 2020. We want to explore these questions and some answers that were unveiled as a result of people acting quickly on their feet to adapt.
Collaboration seems like a strong contender for the word of the year for 2020. Workplaces around the globe became tiny laboratories of collaboration. Employees strove to find ways to stay in touch and work on projects. Microsoft illustrates an example of what real-time collaboration looks like and is:
Two managers contributing to the same report from two different locations. Three executives using an online whiteboard and building a presentation from three corporate campuses. Four hundred employees participating in an online meeting from their homes spread across the four corners of the globe.
Real-time collaboration is just that—people working together at the same time, even if they’re in different places. And the online collaboration tools available are just as varied as the types of collaboration they enable.
This used to be in the realm of only the top technology companies and other leading-edge innovators. but thanks to widespread digital transformation, that is no longer the case. Real-time collaboration has been embraced by companies large and small and in all industries. The Microsoft 365 suite of tools makes this easier than ever to do.
Real-time collaboration is promoted in favour of traditional collaboration for the simple fact that real-time collaboration allows for multiple people to access and review a particular document at any given time. That is preferred over only allowing access to one person at a time. It means that brainstorming sessions and the like can become a lot more productive and useful.
Pandemic shutdowns have forced people indoors for unprecedented periods of time. Few predicted just how long we would be trapped in our homes like this, but this is indeed the reality we continue to face. This move has accelerated trends that were already in motion before the pandemic ever struck. An article from Forbes.com before COVID-19 was on the radar of most average individuals details how the online realm has become the latest battleground for advertising:
With less time to spend consuming traditional media types, brands are turning to digital marketing to reach consumers. Online has become the default billboard of today. Brands have new tools for reaching consumers particularly via social media, but these tools have potential risks as well. Examples of such pitfalls range from partnerships that do not align with brand values to overstepping consumers’ privacy expectations, with the threat for any misstep to go viral.
It is worth noting here that Forbes points out that advertising via the Internet is not without its risks. Look no further than the recent controversy surrounding a tweet put out on the corporate account for fast-food giant Burger King.
All of this matters because many companies now lean into using Microsoft 365 as their social media manager as well. In fact, some individuals use it for their own accounts if they feel that there is enough there that it requires management from a software tool.
Social media engagement and appropriate postings are two things that Microsoft 365 can assist with. Many like the fact that they can see all of their social media accounts from one place. They may also schedule posts as they see fit to publish on those accounts all at once. Also, it is a lot easier to track engagements with postings across accounts when using Microsoft 365. Today’s climate demands that one be a good steward of their social media accounts, and that means keeping tabs on them at all times.
A few companies, such as Twitter, grabbed headlines fairly early in the pandemic by saying that their employees may choose to work from home forever if they wish. This is a movement being followed by some others, but many companies are just as eager to have their workforce return to their traditional office spaces. This means that a massive “return to office” movement is likely to occur in the coming months and years.
Employees returning to their offices may be somewhat shell-shocked by the experience. Many have been away from the office for over a year at this point. Virtually all of them will have at least some concerns regarding their health and well-being. Now is the time to look at how Microsoft 365 may be used to enhance the work that the human resources (HR) department does to help employees.
HR has always been there to assist with onboarding new employees, payroll issues, settling disputes, and so much more. Now, they are tasked with helping employees see that the workspace they are returning to is suitable to work in. Nothing about this is easy, but Microsoft 365 can at least make the organisation of these efforts a bit better.
Employers are encouraged to provide their workers with specific guidelines about how they may remain safe when they return to the office. This may involve the continued wearing of masks or face shields, the spacing of desks/workspaces, and even staggered work schedules. It is a bit of an ordeal, but the pandemic is not yet concluded, and we must rely on the technologies that we do have to get us through it all.
For the latest on digital transformation and how technologies are being used to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 world, please contact us.