There’s no question that hybrid work is here to stay. And as enterprises look for tools to help them thrive in this new era, Microsoft 365 benefits make it a must-have: weaving the digital fabric that seamlessly binds every type of worker together with secure communication, collaboration, and creation.
As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, the traditional productivity toolset of email, calendar, word processor, and spreadsheet has had to evolve. Formerly Office 365, Microsoft 365 is the cloud-based suite of workplace productivity tools and security features all others are now measured against.
With more than 250 million active monthly users, Microsoft 365 is one of the most widely used business tools worldwide. The 2021 Forrester Wave recognized it as a content platform Leader – claiming the highest score in the strategy category and the highest score possible for market presence.
Microsoft 365 combines premium editions of Microsoft’s traditional desktop apps like Word and Excel with cloud-based products and perks like Teams and SharePoint that ensure work can get done wherever and whenever it happens. It makes it simple to integrate data, automation, and artificial intelligence into the flow of work.
In addition, the 365 platform delivers tremendous security and compliance features that make it very appealing to organizations scrambling to navigate today’s exploding cyber-risks.
Let’s look at the biggest Microsoft 365 benefits that make it easy and efficient to get work done in the modern enterprise.
Collaborate seamlessly in the remote work era.
In today’s hybrid workplace, collaboration and communication comprise the pillars of productivity. Microsoft 365 delivers the tools necessary to make them seamless for every individual in your organization – keeping everyone in the loop whether they’re at the office, home, or across the globe.
Instead of juggling between applications, Microsoft 365 creates a central place where everyone can connect in virtual meetings, edit files, share mailboxes and calendars, create and plan tasks, collaborate on projects, and more as if they were in the same room. Real-time access eliminates confusion over versioning; everyone involved is always working on the most up-to-date document, presentation, or spreadsheet.
Forrester also recognized Microsoft as a leader in innovation, constantly adding new features to its 365 platform to help teams collaborate and communicate even better. Recently released, in preview, or on the not-so-distant horizon are additions like:
Microsoft Mesh for Teams, a new generation of 2D and 3D meetings with immersive spaces and personalized avatars. It’s designed to spark creativity and camaraderie and bring your physical presence into a conversation if your camera is off.
New capabilities in Microsoft Teams Connect make collaboration with external organizations easier and more secure.
Microsoft Loop, a new collaboration app that combines a flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across applications.
Context IQ, using AI to glean insights about people’s daily work and then predicting, seeking, and suggesting information when they need it.
Microsoft Viva, an employee experience platform that infuses communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights into the flow of work.
Leverage a robust, multilayered data security strategy.
With the cloud easing access to enterprise applications and documents, security is a top-of-mind concern. Accenture reported an average 270 cyber-attacks per enterprise in 2021, a 31% increase over 2020.
Microsoft invests heavily in keeping its 365 platform highly secure, weaving the latest security and privacy controls into a multilayered strategy.
To start, state-of-the-art security infrastructure and processes protect the platform’s data centers. Within 365, users can leverage a range of robust security capabilities designed to thwart cybercriminals at every turn, including identity and access management, threat protection, information protection, and security and risk management.
For instance, the platform’s up-to-date anti-malware and anti-spam security measures protect your business from harmful attacks, while advanced threat analytics identify suspicious activity in real-time. You can also enable automatic message encryption if sensitive information like credit card or bank account numbers are detected.
Other tools protect the security of business data. For instance, files are automatically encrypted when uploaded to cloud storage and customized permissions control access. Multifactor authentication and password policies increase the security of user logins as well.
Microsoft Compliance Manager further uses signals from the customer’s Microsoft 365 tenant, Microsoft’s compliance program, and customer workflows to manage and report compliance against more than 330 global regulatory and industry-standard templates. Customers can also create custom templates based on other standards or mapped to their policies and control set.
Some versions of Microsoft 365 offer even more Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) plans. Stand-out tools to look for include Microsoft 365 Defender, a unified pre- and post-breach enterprise defense suite. It integrates protection against sophisticated cyber-attacks like credential phishing and business email compromise by natively coordinating detection, prevention, investigation, and response across endpoints, identities, email, and applications.
Other ATP features like Safe Links and Safe Attachments can scan your email to ensure data is safe. Spoof Intelligence is another desirable feature, filtering legitimate emails from malicious threats.
With mobile devices triggering 1 in 3 data breaches, some 365 versions further provide Mobile Device Management to protect and secure company data and resources on employee devices. The Data Loss Prevention tool is another robust offering, preventing leaks of sensitive information like credit card details, passport information, or social security numbers.
Work on the go.
Upgrading to Microsoft 365 is a boon for productivity and mobility. It also delivers continuous availability that mitigates the financial pain of downtime.
Storing files in the cloud enables you to work from any device at any location with an internet connection - whether checking emails on your phone from the train or updating an Excel spreadsheet on your iPad in a hotel across the world. If your location doesn’t have internet connection or your office suffers an outage, simply use OneDrive to work on files locally and sync later with the cloud.
Eliminate the burden of pricey on-premises servers for file storage and running online applications.
Microsoft 365 enables enterprises to eliminate the high costs and constraints of hosting and maintaining servers to run applications such as SharePoint and MS-Teams, as well as storing and accessing files through on-premises servers. Instead, everything is managed through the cloud - increasing agility by cutting employees’ tether to their desks.
Cloud storage also supports business continuity. No matter what happens to your physical devices, critical data won’t be lost – helping your organization operate normally during a disaster.
Protect your budget with predictable spending.
Microsoft 365 is a subscription service paid on a monthly or annual basis. Costs are based on your specific needs, with subscriptions customizable to the number of licenses you require and level of functionality you choose.
With no unexpected costs down the road, spend is predictable – making it easy to budget the year ahead. Microsoft 365 also delivers the flexibility to avoid waste by scaling licenses up or down if employees are hired or leave.
With proper planning and management, Forrester found that enterprises can realize a potential 163% ROI by deploying Microsoft 365 at their business.
Let go of troubleshooting, patching, and upgrading responsibilities.
As a cloud-based subscription instead of a perpetual license, Microsoft 365’s components are updated automatically. As long as your subscription is current, you get the latest versions of security releases and feature updates at predetermined intervals – as available, monthly, or semi-annually if compliance requires extensive testing.
Allowing Microsoft’s experts to assume responsibility for troubleshooting, patching, and upgrading the platform’s infrastructure enables your team to focus on more value-add work. It also eliminates the expense of constantly buying new software to obtain the latest version.
As organizations navigate the new way of work, scaling and automating business content processes rank among the biggest challenges they face. Without a clear path forward, too many create an unreliable and cumbersome patchwork of manual activity and disconnected systems.
Implementing Microsoft 365 benefits your business in myriad ways – enhancing collaboration, improving productivity, and seamlessly supporting secure remote work in a cost-effective, easy-to-use platform.