AI is hot right now. Many organizations may be wondering how and what they will need to do as AI continues to be more prevalent. Fortunately, there is plenty of AI already at their fingertips in Microsoft/Office 365. Here are just a few examples:
- Intelligent search: you can search for text even when it is within an image
- PowerPoint Quickstarter: pick a topic and PowerPoint auto-populates a template for you
- Office Translate: real-time text translation to over 60 languages
- MyAnalytics: your personal dashboard that summarizes work and suggests ways to work smarter
- Excel: Insights automatically highlight patterns to explore, analyze, and visualize data
As more and more companies are decentralizing operations, the ability to seamlessly collaborate is essential. Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive help you to embrace the modern way of working by allowing conferencing, file sharing and real time co-authoring from any device and any location.
There are various subscription models that exist, depending on your individual needs, and these can be complicated to understand. Are you a non-profit? Are you an educational institution with a lot of off campus or remote students? A small business with a high percentage of frontline workers? Having a good partner that understands the complexities and nuances of Microsoft licensing and can guide you to the best solution for your needs can save you a lot of money.
One of the more misunderstood aspects of 365 revolves around security. Gartner estimates that over the next few years, 90% of cloud-related breaches will be the fault of the customer, so it is imperative to understand that moving applications and workflows doesn’t then transfer sole responsibility for security to Microsoft. Customers still need to be proactive in securing and protecting their data.
Working anywhere from any device: As a cloud-based service, 365 means no longer having to be at the office to access data, collaborate, and be productive in real time. You can work from any device and still have strong security measures for peace of mind.
As opposed to an on-premise deployment where the system administrator has complete control of the deployment and upgrade schedule, a cloud-based solution is putting much of that control into the hands of the provider. In this case, Microsoft is continuously enhancing and upgrading the environment, particularly for security-related patches, and this can put an additional burden on the organization to ensure that those responsible for managing are current on the latest changes.
Microsoft provides an SLA of 99.9% uptime, which sounds great. However, this translates to over 43 minutes of downtime, and no way of predicting when it could happen. The fact is that relying on the Internet in the way that cloud services do prevents any organization from realizing 100% uptime. It is very important for customers to discuss and plan for these types of outages to mitigate negative impact and maintain business continuity.
Regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, PCI, HIPAA have increased businesses liability over the last several years. Microsoft provides information on how they conform and comply with these regulations, but it is still the responsibility of the customer to ensure compliance is met. Understanding that there are requirements that may only be met on-premises is important, so working with a partner that has the necessary expertise in the various aspects of compliance helps you to avoid issues.
A hybrid deployment is a useful entry point for a company to begin offloading from on-premises to cloud-based services. Companies with well-defined on-premises environments or specific security concerns around customized workflows and data can keep those on-premises, and still maintain the flexibility of integrating cloud-based solutions to take advantage of the savings by reducing maintenance and replacement costs for local hardware.
Whether you are looking to use Office 365 for its best-in-class productivity suite or leveraging intelligent cloud apps, business protection, and productivity with Microsoft 365 to help transform your business, it pays to use an experienced partner who understands your needs and can help you maximize your investment.