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Cost-effective workplace transformation for the SMB market with Microsoft 365.
Fortunately, choosing the right tools doesn’t have to be difficult. Microsoft’s Modern Workplace offers SMBs an opportunity to design a customized workplace with market-leading productivity and collaboration tools to support their organization’s evolving needs. However, working with Microsoft directly to deploy and optimize your company’s systems can be daunting; how can a company that massive support a business like yours? The truth is: for most, they can’t.
Companies need expert support that intimately understands their needs to help customize their solutions, accelerate their digital transformation, and leverage technology that supports their organizations at scale. That’s why forward-thinking SMB executives are working with partner organizations to configure, deploy and manage Microsoft’s practical workforce automation technologies. Here’s everything you need to know about gaining the benefits of Microsoft’s Modern Workplace without enduring a tedious and difficult deployment.
But, without the right tools to support and automate operations across a hybrid workforce, many small and medium businesses (SMBs) are struggling to adapt to the demands of a modern workplace. Limited internal resources like tight budgets and a lack of specialized support make deploying and adopting cloud-ready tools time consuming, expensive and confusing. Even if teams can deploy a tool themselves, they may overlook cybersecurity gaps, experience low adoption rates, and miss out on ROI and productivity gains without specialized support.
Creating an efficient decentralized workplace means companies need to fundamentally reevaluate how their businesses operate to stay secure, connected and productive. From supporting hybrid workforces to prioritizing multi-generational learning and implementing new technology, companies are discovering that many of their tried-and-true processes and tools need a refresh.
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The time for digital transfomation is now.
The transition to a decentralized workforce happened nearly overnight due to pandemic lockdowns, but many smaller organizations are still trying to catch up. Now, however, the writing is on the wall: the hybrid work environment is here to stay, and SMBs must transition to the cloud to survive.
Yet, many organizations still fail to see the benefits workforce automation can have in their business. Without a strong case for change, SMB executives struggle to justify the costs and resources necessary to move to a cloud-first platform. The memory of failed implementations, low adoption rates and unrealized ROI leaves many SMB executives reluctant to adopt tools beyond what’s essential for day-to-day operations.
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of SMB leaders say their business wouldn’t have survived the pandemic with the same technology they used a decade ago.
of those leaders reported that digitization played a key role in helping them survive the pandemic.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that cloud migrations and adoptions are notoriously challenging for SMBs; these technology shifts are so all-encompassing and complex that smaller organizations often delay making the shift as long as possible.
Finding the right solution is the first hurdle SMBs face in their digital transformation. While the enterprise-level options may seem beyond a project’s scope and budget, comparable small business tools fall short of the digital transformation your team needs.
“Small and Medium Business Trends Report.” Salesforce. 2021.
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Despite deployment and adoption struggles in the past, many SMBs see the benefits of using new digital tools and technologies. A recent study by Deloitte found that 90% of all SMBs say these tools help them foster innovation, enter new markets, and successfully connect with customers
Yet, over 75% of SMBs say they have one or more barriers that stand in the way of leveraging more digital tools. In many instances, small and medium businesses have dedicated tons of time and resources to adopting new tools, only to be left with a subpar experience.
The Challenges of Workplace Tranformation for SMBs
SMBs eager to evolve often find themselves with many disparate tools with capabilities they aren’t fully utilizing. While organizations get excited about all the possibilities a new tool presents, they often focus on configuring the essential features that inspired their purchase first.
However, without expert-level support from someone who specializes in a particular tool, most smaller companies don’t explore beyond those essential features. These SMBs typically don’t have the expertise or time to optimize their technology platforms themselves and hiring a dedicated support specialist for each tool can quickly drain a budget. As a result, teams often experience fewer productivity gains, stilted communication across teams, and less collaboration overall than if they were taking full advantage of their tech stack.
Instead, many SMBs introduce multiple tools or applications to gain a wider variety of features, not knowing their existing tools can be optimized. Companies face a revolving door of introducing new applications and tools, convincing their teams to adopt them, and not gaining the full benefits of any of them due to incomplete configurations, poor integration, low adoption, and lack of training.
SMBs Focus Solely on Essentials and Miss Critical Features
SMBs Manually Piece Together Tools, Exposing Security Gaps and Workflow Issues
SMBs Focus Solely on Essentials and Miss Critical Features.
Some SMBs try to build out their technology platforms themselves, using complicated workarounds to integrate and force disconnected tools to work effectively together. But, patching tools together manually often leaves behind undetected security gaps, presenting new security threats and compliance concerns.
By piecing together disparate applications, SMBs can undermine their existing security controls, introduce data integrity issues, combine tools with overlapping capabilities, and ultimately hamper productivity. Not only does this put your sensitive data at risk of a cyberattack, but it can also introduce poor quality, incorrectly formatted, or duplicate data. When data is unreliable, employees may feel confused using these tools and start to fundamentally distrust company data, making deploying and adopting new tools in the future more challenging.
These security risks are especially common with cloud-based platforms, which can unintentionally leave data exposed when security features aren’t set up correctly. Considering 68% of IT professionals consider cloud account transitions a significant security risk, it makes sense that SMBs worry about expanding beyond their essential business needs on cloud-based systems. (“The Cost of Cloud Compromise and Shadow IT” Ponemon Institute. April 2021.)
Clunky integrations don’t just present security concerns, though. They can also make workflows more complicated, presenting new challenges for employees trying to complete their work. As they reluctantly adopt these new workflows, they may not see the expected benefits and will start using workarounds to complete their work more efficiently. These workarounds can introduce even more risks as employees sidestep security controls and processes to complete their work.
Considering 62% of SMBs say improved productivity is their main motivator for introducing new tools, manually combining tools without the correct support rarely provides the benefits that companies expect it will. (“Small and Medium Business Trends Report.” Salesforce. 2021.)
Working Directly with Microsoft Isn't Always the Best Option for SMBs
Part of the issue with choosing robust, enterprise-level software suites is that most SMBs need more hands-on support to take full advantage of the software they’ve purchased. Even though cloud-based systems like Microsoft’s Modern Workplace Solutions are technically simple to adopt by design, it can be tough to realize the full capabilities of your new tools without a specialist to guide your implementation.
But companies like Microsoft often don’t have the right resources to prioritize smaller customers and provide the level of support or training they need to succeed. That means even after a long and expensive implementation, these SMBs still struggle to optimize the technology to leverage all the ways it could support their business operations and realize the ROI they hoped for.
Instead, they’re left to fend for themselves with costly licensing fees, capabilities they know they’re not using, and potential implementation errors exposing new security gaps. It’s no wonder key stakeholders may start wondering if the implementation failed!
Companies need a combination of the right tools and support to ensure successful deployment and adoption. While Microsoft can provide the right tools, they aren’t the best fit to provide the customized solutions SMBs need to succeed.
The secret to getting the specialized attention and frontline support you need is implementing Microsoft’s Modern Workplace Strategy with a credible Microsoft partner organization.
The average SMALL COMPANY used 102 different applications or tools in 2020.The average MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANY used 185 different applications or tools in 2020.
38% of SMBs see integrating different applications, data sources, platforms,
and devices as the primary technology area where their business needs improvement.
80% of small businesses report they aren’t taking full advantage of their digital tools.
Introducing: Microsoft's Modern Workplace
We know that workplace automation is the future of business, but many businesses struggle to see how automation could transform their organization. However, with the right support, a partner can help you make workplace automation a reality for your workforce with Microsoft’s Modern Workplace.
Microsoft’s Modern Workplace strategy covers four key elements every organization needs in their technology stack:
Modern desktop tools Communication and collaboration Security Compliance
By combining the most critical elements of the Microsoft product suite, SMBs have newfound access to providing an exceptional employee experience and introducing a new way of working within your organization.
The foundation of Microsoft’s Modern Workplace is Microsoft 365—a productivity cloud solution that combines best-in-class Office applications with powerful cloud services, device management, and advanced security capabilities. This includes powerful communication and collaboration tools you may already know about, including Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Outlook, Exchange, Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive and the Office 365 Suite.
Companies use Microsoft 365 to enable optimal connectivity across their tech tools and resources, making it the ideal platform to support fluid workflows and encourage peak productivity for both in-office and remote employees. Even as the platform simplifies collaboration, communication, and resource access, it continues to provide best-in-class security capabilities through tools like Microsoft Defender, Intune, and myriad identity and access management tools. These essentials ensure your company’s data remains secure no matter how your employees work, but they’re only the beginning of what Microsoft’s Modern Workplace is capable of.
Creating an exceptional employee experience demands streamlined communication, simplified collaboration, and automated processes in an increasingly asynchronous work environment. Cloud-based tools like Microsoft 365 empower companies to foster a culture that connects employees and business functions across time zones. For many SMBs, Microsoft’s Modern Workplace Strategy is the best way to integrate decentralized cross-functional teams, maintain a strong security posture, and drive business growth.
Time employees save per week using M365 Apps.
Time employees save per week from better communication and information sharing with Microsoft Teams.
“The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise.” Forrester/Microsoft. March 2020.
How Microsoft Partners Offer Optimal Support for SMB Implementations
While the Microsoft 365 suite offers a powerful solution for SMBs, we’ve already seen that Microsoft often isn’t the best partner to support and customize the platform for your company’s unique needs. Yet, with so many options and capabilities, it’s hard for SMBs to know which tools best support their business goals.
While SMBs share the same fundamental digital transformation priorities and goals as enterprises—like higher productivity, improved automation, and more effective collaboration, to name a few—smaller organizations benefit from a customized approach to effectively leverage and integrate the tools they’re already using. Organizations like yours can often benefit from hands-on guidance and training to help your users take full advantage of the capabilities of Microsoft 365.
That’s why Microsoft partner companies specialize in helping SMBs procure, deploy, configure, optimize, and manage Microsoft 365 to align with their specific goals.
Great partners commit to deeply understanding your needs and leading you into the next step of your organization’s digital transformation. They’ll work with you on everything from optimizing licensing costs and choosing the right package, to training your team on the ins-and-outs of Microsoft tools. By reducing costs, enhancing productivity and collaboration, and taking full advantage of your tech stack’s capabilities, your organization can see substantial increases in your bottom line.
Plus, working with an experienced partner allows you to easily integrate all your tools, applications, and tech platforms into Microsoft 365. Expert configuration ensures that your applications work together seamlessly while protecting you against security and compliance risks. A specialized partner can even help you enhance your security position and data privacy processes through automation across applications and supportive security management tools.
Most importantly, partners excel at optimizing Microsoft 365 to support your organization’s unique workflows, helping your company see ROI and productivity benefits faster. Businesses that work with Microsoft partners often see these other benefits, too:
Better collaboration across cross-functional teams
Increased team satisfaction
Higher adoption rates
Improved data security
Efficient and affordable licensing
Improved access control and management
Partnering with a Microsoft 365 expert is about more than implementing new technology; it’s about creating the customized environment your team needs to thrive in the modern business world.
31% of SMBs say privacy and security concerns are their primary barrier to digital tools.
It’s clear that Microsoft’s Modern Workplace strategy helps SMBs align with today’s way of doing business. But, even after seeing the clear benefits of implementing Microsoft 365 with a partner organization, companies can still hesitate to take the leap. After years of tumultuous technology implementations and negative experiences, many SMBs are concerned about picking the right partner for the job.
Choosing the right partner is essential to reaping the full benefits of Microsoft 365. Here’s what you should look for in a partner organization...
Choosing the Right Partner for Your Implementation
Recognition from Microsoft
Many partners claim to have experience deploying and optimizing Microsoft solutions, but Microsoft specifically suggests working with someone involved in their Partner Program. These partners have the experience, skills, and support agreements necessary to work with Microsoft solutions and support your implementation to the fullest.
Partners who work directly with Microsoft deeply understand Microsoft products, so they can help optimize your solution to align with your usage and licensing needs, saving your company money over time. They’ll also manage billing on your company’s behalf! Because of their deep familiarity with Microsoft solutions, partners can customize your platform to design a cost-effective solution and management plan that includes everything you need and nothing extra.
This means a partner deployment goes beyond IT support, supporting every element of your implementation process to align with your overarching business and financial goals. Ultimately, that leads to a comprehensive platform to modernize your business without breaking the bank.
Customization is one of the biggest benefits of working with a partner. By learning about your goals, current processes, and employee pain points, a client-centric Microsoft partner can make the best recommendations for your organization’s needs.
Workplace automation only delivers value if it solves problems you’re already facing. Client-centric partners work closely with leaders in your organization to deeply understand your businesses and the unique needs of specific teams. From there, these partners help you optimize your platform, so you’re getting the most benefit out of Microsoft 365.
Transparent and Easy to Work With
Implementing new technology can be a headache for many SMBs. Working with your partner organization shouldn’t make deployment even harder.
Great partner organizations openly share their knowledge of Microsoft’s functionality and other best practices to help SMBs deploy a system that supports their needs. These partners readily help clients leverage new features and capabilities because they’re up to date on Microsoft solutions and adoption strategies.
There’s no secret sauce when it comes to implementing Microsoft 365, so there’s no reason to work with a partner who isn’t fully transparent. The best experts readily make recommendations and answer your questions because they’re committed to your company’s success.
of SMBs say identifying WHICH PARTNERS to work with is a top tech challenge for their organization.
“Tech Buying Trends Among Small and Medium-Size Businesses.” Comp TIA. February 2019.
Finding an impactful implementation partner doesn’t have to be difficult. Here at OneNeck, we’re dedicated to seeing your company succeed with Microsoft 365. With the high potential for error, it’s possible to make some common mistakes.
OneNeck: A Trusted Partner for SMBs.
As a recognized Microsoft Gold Partner, we’ve supported hundreds of small and medium businesses by creating customized workplace automation solutions with Microsoft 365 on the cloud. We take a client-centric approach to intimately understand your needs, define your goals, and support your success with an optimized system designed just for your company.
Our expert team works with you to design the best configuration to accommodate your current technology stack. Years of experience as a cloud and managed services provider illustrates our expertise and ability to integrate all the tools across your tech stack into one comprehensive solution.
We start with Microsoft's fundamental communicaton and collaboration platform, Teams and Office 365 applications to support your day-to-day business.
We then add on essential security and endpoint management tools like Microsoft Defender and Microsoft Endpoint Manager.
Finally, we optimize your Microsoft Modern Workplace based on your organization’s distinct needs by designing integrated workflows and impactful process automation.
Our team helps you discover the best solution to streamline compliance and governance processes and facilitate your journey toward data modernization. All along the way, we continuously support your users with adoption and change management training to ensure your users are ready to take full advantage of your Microsoft tools.
Working with OneNeck allows your company to accelerate your digital transformation with a fully customized and supported Microsoft Modern Workplace Strategy. We support your team to design, deploy, and manage your Microsoft solution with your goals in mind so you experience high ROI, exceptional adoption rates, better productivity, and improved collaboration quickly.
Microsoft 365 Implementation Steps
In today’s ever-evolving business environment, digital transformation is essential to keep up with the speed of business. Microsoft’s Modern Workplace Strategy is designed to help your organization realize the benefits of technology without putting your sensitive data at risk.
However, Microsoft 365 isn’t designed to support SMBs out of the box. Most SMBs need additional customization, expert configuration, and supportive training to discover the full capabilities of Microsoft 365.
Working with a recognized partner is the best way to get started with Microsoft’s Modern Workplace offerings. With a dedicated partner, your organization can see better profitability, higher productivity, improved communication, and a stronger security posture faster than working directly with Microsoft.
At OneNeck, we’re committed to helping employees across your organization stay connected without compromising security. We know that for many SMBs, Microsoft 365 is the perfect platform to deliver on that commitment. That’s why we specialize in helping organizations embrace the modern workforce through the latest cloud-first technology.
Now’s the time to accelerate your digital transformation. Talk to our team today about getting started with Microsoft’s Modern Workplace.