The modern workplace is a term derived by Microsoft to encapsulate its latest suite of Office 365 cloud solutions. However, the modern workplace isn’t a physical thing, or even a suite of things. It’s intangible. It’s just a new way of working, or a modern day ideal.
Having an ideal is great. Every business needs a target to work towards, or a goal to improve efficiencies, reduce its carbon footprint, or to reduce costs. However, reaching that ideal or goal is the challenge. It’s a journey fraught with risk, that you know is worth taking; you just don’t know where to start.
Some might refer to the journey as digital transformation, or modernisation. Whichever name you want to give it, the fundamentals are clear. It’s a journey from point A to point B. Point A being a state of owning physical servers, hardware, and software licenses, managing on-site data, and providing secure access to the right people on the outside. While Point B refers to a state in which all assets are cloud-based; employees can work from anywhere, and the only boxes that land on the doorstep of the IT department are gifts from management to thank them for reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint – wouldn't that be nice!
As with any goal, it’s always good practise to envisage the ending before you start. What will your IT estate look like when you reach point B?
Let’s start with data and servers
Data will be housed in cloud storage solutions, accessed via cloud servers. From your exchange server and Active Directory, through to file servers, and application servers, your server hardware is no longer an issue. If you need to scale up or down, no problem at all. That’s a good start. You also no longer need to worry about that looming hardware renewal project, or that expensive hardware break fix contract you pay for just in case a hard drive fails or a fan pops.
Let’s talk about core software
By core software, we mean the applications that your entire workforce relies on. Email, Word, Excel, and the rest of the Office suite. If you aren’t already using Office 365, imagine all your MS Office licenses being centralised. No more audit threats. No more lost license keys. If a user needs to access their email remotely, it’s easily accessible via the internet. Office 365 provides a web-based version of nearly every app in the ever-growing suite.
What about employees?
When your data and software are cloud-based, your employees can work from home, or wherever suits them. The data is accessible without the need for a clunky Virtual Private Network (VPN), as are emails. If they have an Office 365 license, they can access SharePoint, and Teams to collaborate and communicate.
Improving collaboration and communication
For those less versed in the modern workplace, you might be wondering about phones. The business has had the same phone number for a decade, and your customers likely call you all the time.
No problem at all. With cloud-based UCaaS solutions, such as Microsoft Teams Voice, your employees can be reached on your business number wherever they are working. Of course, desk phones can still be available to them on days they choose to work at the office, but for any other time, calls can be routed to their mobile phones.
Here’s the big one…
Security is on the tip of most IT Directors’ tongues whenever a change is put on the table, and for good reason. But with Microsoft Cloud Security solutions such as Managed SEIM and Managed Detection and Response (MDR), all security concerns are catered for, even during the move from physical to cloud-based environments; every asset can be covered.
Did you picture your cloud utopia?
Okay, so it’s not quite utopia, and we didn’t cover anywhere near all the possibilities. Developing a Modern Workplace is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. It needs maintenance and monitoring just like a physical solution. In terms of effort, a cloud-based environment still needs resources. The difference is that barriers have been lifted, the limitations have been removed. A cloud-based infrastructure enables and empowers employees, while giving the business elasticity, room to breathe, and enabling new opportunities to succeed.
There’s a sense of freedom this image of a modern workplace invokes to businesses that are yet to make these changes, and to those that are already on the journey, just reading this may bring back some dire memories.
Many of our customers begin their digital journey by attending a Microsoft Cloud Accelerator Program (MCAP) workshop led by Core’s team of specialists. The benefits of taking this route are huge. Not only do you get to see and feel the solution in your own environment, but we’ll help you with stakeholder buy-in and help you develop a deployment plan. Take a look at our range of MCAP workshops – you might even be eligible for Microsoft funding to cover the cost of the workshop.