So no surprise, Covid-19 took us all by storm and moved the world into a virtual office’s within days. We haven’t been to the office in weeks, we haven’t seen our colleagues, my ping pong skill will certainly be affected and we have all invested in decent coffee and tea to fuel our days now were at home. Also my home office finally got the breaking in it needed having me sat there for hours a day – rather then now and then.
As most businesses looked to how they could cope with demand, small and large – one major partner of ours took some of the brunt.. it just so happens to be Microsoft. Within moments, businesses and all sorts of organisations became reliant on a partner that they probably never have relied on this much before. Relying on there systems working, making working from home possible and making business and usual (BAU) normal from home, and so far so good right?
Microsoft no doubt have come under immense pressure – as I said before, overnight they have given millions of people the right and option to work from home. This technology has been around for a while – and yet only some organisations are just waking up to it which is staggering. Digital Fatigue hit the workforce thick and fast – with apps for remote working, VPN gateways, and who the hell needs certificates? There are lots of applications and software that allow things to be done remotely, but if were not careful – we will confuse the workforce with several different ways to communicate. Anyhow what I’m trying to say is in a very short space of time, Microsoft empowered and gave businesses and organisations a chance to survive in this very strange and weird time were all in, in a very simple way.
Some quick wins to work remotely:
- So for those that haven’t taken the leap to Office 365 – try it, Microsoft in response to homeworking announced a free 6 month trail to O365, so speak to us should you need help with this!
- Teams – now saying I don’t have a company phone is a massive understatement, with Teams I can use my Surface as my phone, dialing out from it, setting up and joining conference calls etc. and while most of us are locked away, it’s imperative to keep contact. Using Teams between computer and phone is seamless. We can instant message, video call etc which is a great way to connect with colleagues, but also external meetings can now be done remotely, and really, really easily – I mean it. In most cases productivity has risen as a 3 hour meeting can be condensed into a really productive teams call. Setting up team sites to connect with specific individuals on projects is also really handy, sharing ideas, housing Power Bi dashboards, working on any document from Excel, PowerPoint etc, even implementing Planner so we can plan tasks and assign to colleagues. I have shared a picture below of some of the tabs you can create within a team – overall great for collaboration.
- Power Bi – As I referenced above, using this to help your business. We all run on data these days, looking at just the financial numbers just doesn’t cut it nowadays. risual as a consulting business needs to maintain utilisation – and one of the ways we track this is via Power Bi. Now a dashboard pulls through every morning with updates on statistics that we all need to see, if you want you can get real time updates by viewing the page. Using something like this can be huge for organisations, as they understand there business or organisation, that much better and gives actionable insights.
Now some stats about that will blow ya mind:
- In the last couple of weeks we have seen teams calling and meeting monthly users increase by over 700%!
- Building on the last comment – A spike in Teams Daily Users by more than 12 million. Taking the total from 32 Million to 44 Million!
- Widows Virtual Desktop has grown more than 3 times than it was over a month ago!
- Government use of Power BI to share COVID-19 dashboards with its citizens by 42%!
Now many worry about the bandwidth, but due to clouds like Azure, we rely on much bigger organisations to support us, in this case Microsoft. As part of there effort to help everyone they have made some temporary adjustments to certain features in Teams, such as presence, typing indicators and video resolution – tweaks that don’t impact user experience but even the load so it can reach all its clients. This is temporary, and will come back! Were already starting to see more features already, with more in development. Most recently backgrounds… we don’t need to be nervous of the old wallpaper, or our favourite pictures that may seem odd to broadcast – we have wallpapers we can add that make us look like were over the pond at some awesome beaches! To add, Microsoft announced an increase in video-calls, allowing users to see 4 feeds to 9.
On Azure there are Millions of cores being added each week to fuel the need for digital, giving each organisation more power as each week goes by. This helps as more look to take advantage of Windows Virtual Desktop and aiding not only businesses and organisations from around the world, but also the first line workers that Microsoft have committed to supporting during this challenging time. What will be interesting to see if after all of this has settled, if organisations will continue to work from home, and continue to consume cloud technology. For many they have had to re-invent there business, or processes to adapt to this challenging time, and technology has been the enabler.
Cultural Challenges – aka changes!
No doubt there are some major cultural changes to go through, most of us are figuring out how to work remotely, how to balance home/work life, and for those lucky enough to have children and pets, how to work/teach/look after and live all at the same time. We could never have anticipated this – but take solace as we are all in this together! It may seem hard, and a colleague of mine produced a separate blog on working from home and some rituals that may help. I seriously recommend giving it a read! Go check it out!
Chin up folks!