Business Leaders Are Choosing Office 365 for Business Innovation and Growth

Irish businesses have had a lot to contend with in the past decade – not least economic turbulence on an unprecedented scale. Keeping things on an even keel has been the main focus for many business owners and office managers.

When the world changes rapidly, businesses need absolute certainty in its administrative procedures, which is why so many mid-sized organisations are adopting Office 365 as their business software of choice.

Business Innovation and Growth - Dc Networks

Tackling Business Growth With Innovation

Running a business is demanding – to maintain continuous business growth, business owners certainty over risk, the ability to work faster, smarter or cheaper than the opposition, and tools and systems that help guarantee client retention.

All of these demands require innovation, but taking chances on new software, new systems, new ways of doing things, inevitably carries a degree of risk that many business leaders are averse to.

And yet … without growth and change, businesses stagnate and slip behind the competition. No wonder that in a recent survey, small business leaders in Ireland said their biggest fear was not being able to plan for the future.

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Business Leader Are Using Microsoft Office 365 To Innovate

In a rapidly changing world, business leaders have to balance keeping up and taking risks on untried innovation. With decades of successful implementation of new projects and innovative systems, Microsoft doesn’t just come up with good ideas, it has tested methods to introduce those good ideas to their customers. No more so than with the Office 365 suite of cloud-based business applications.

Skype for Business

One example is the use of Skype for Business in the American healthcare sector.

This is an industry that has a strong focus on face-to-face communication, especially in consultations – which makes it all the more remarkable that nearly 15% of users of Office 365 in healthcare in the USA use Skype for business for online meetings as well as messaging.

Video calls to patients are an increasing part of healthcare provision worldwide, and business leaders in the USA have recognised the value of this inbuilt communications system – readily available to their clients – as a way of fostering loyalty in a demanding customer base.

Office 365 Is Highly Adaptable To Business Requirements

Different businesses experience different stresses, and internal departments may even have widely different priorities despite having a unifying strategy. Finding a solution provider that can meet all business needs is paramount for many business leaders. Once again, statistics from the USA show how Office 365 has high adaptability to support all business sectors.

OneDrive For Business

Financial service providers have the highest usage rate of Office 365, which makes sense when we consider how much they rely on Excel and how important they find it to maintain a technological advantage over their competitors.

So it’s understandable that 39.3% of financial service users are committed primarily to OneDrive for Business because they can easily store, share and synchronise files. Interestingly, within the same organisations there’s a growing usage of Skype for Business, with 17.9% of customer facing personnel in the financial services sector using this Microsoft offering to update clients or to respond to queries about finance in a highly personal fashion.

Office 365 is an overarching solution, being used quite differently by two different areas of the same organisation, and delivering the same levels of performance to both sectors.

Brexit Concerns Strike Close To Home For Irish Businesses - Dc Networks

Brexit Concerns Strike Close To Home For Irish Businesses

There’s no doubt that Brexit is causing sleepless nights for many Irish business owners. Will there be customs tariffs? What will a hard or soft border mean for sales and employees? How can protect ourselves from the fallout and capitalise on opportunities? Harmony of systems, integration of legislation, congruence of approaches, all these are up for discussion.

One thing that users of Office 365 don’t have to worry about is how their software will cope with whatever the future holds – with 120 million commercial users in the first quarter of 2018, this software has a guaranteed global reach and is designed to work across cultures, systems and structures, providing seamless integration worldwide.

120 Million Commercial Users in 2018 - Dc Networks

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Irish Office Managers, Threading The Needle

Like the business owners they report to, office managers are constantly undertaking a sensitive balancing act. Responsible for the hands-on organisation and running of critical business functions, they have to juggle human resource issues with time management, ensure swift and efficient communication, meet deadlines and face the unknown with confidence.

As the economic environment changes, so do the imperatives office managers face. And unlike the days of An Tíogar Ceilteach, resource implications are much greater than they used to be. Finding a balance between meeting deadlines and hiring in agency staff, for example, requires an office manager to ensure that temporary staff hit the ground running and make a contribution to the organisation from the beginning.

The Benefits Of Office 365

The business benefits of Office 365 are highly relevant to office managers. For example, a reputable global survey has suggested that, regardless of the industry, by 2020 35% of the skills the workforce needs will have changed. If this proves true, how can managers ensure their workforce has regularly updated skills without having to massively increase the training budget or take important workers out of the running when they are needed to contribute to the organisation’s progress?

Office 365 helps address these needs.

Reliability
One of the great benefits of Office 365 is the inbuilt reliability – a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, which ensures that your business will be fully functioning for 24/7, on the 365 days of the year that Office is named for!

Ease Of Use
Office 365 is also highly intuitive. Based on decades of creating and implementing software programmes, Microsoft has unparalleled skills in creating software that people can pick up and use without long training periods or ‘on ramp’ inductions.

This means that even technophobic members of the organisation (often in the higher echelons!) will find their programmes easy to use and engaging.

Similarly, temporary employees, will often arrive full equipped to use Office 365. Those 120 million businesses using the system, and hundreds of thousands of training organisations worldwide, together create a pool of proficient, highly-skilled temps who will slot straight into your business.

Ireland’s Big Industries Now Work With Office 365

Ask the average person in the street and he or she will tell you that one of the biggest Irish industries is agriculture – but farming is just a 6% contributor to Ireland’s economy. It is pharmaceuticals that head the table with a €38 million contribution per annum. And the pharmaceuticals industry – along with the associated chemicals and chemical products industry which sits in third place – is a massive user of Office 365.

Ireland’s Big Industries Now Work With Office 365 - Dc Networks

Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals – Two Large Irish Industries That Rely On Office 365. Why?

    1. Data Research & Storage
      Because Office 365 is a superb tool for any industry that has large amounts of research to create, collate and archive. While our example applies to the Irish pharma sector, it’s applicable to all organisations that have to manage large amounts of data… and given the demands of GDPR, that’s turning out to be a concern for almost every medium to large sized business in Ireland!

 

    1. Data Safety & Regulations
      Data is a major issue for both business leaders and office managers. Business leaders find themselves overseeing ‘legacy’ data which needs to be accessible but must also be safe. Data in many industries is also governed by a regulatory regime that companies must adhere to, and information about the company, its products, services and customers, may also be sensitive and at risk of hacking or espionage. It’s a headache!

 

    1. Better Administrative Productivity
      For office managers data presents other problems. The administrative load on a business is often seen as a cost – and yet without effective management of information, businesses will inevitably, eventually fail. So office managers must trade off time spent on ‘unproductive’ admin, with the requirement to get data in to a form that can be used by every part of the organisation as soon as it’s required.

 

    1. File Sharing & Collaboration – From Anywhere
      For the pharmaceutical industry in particular but many other industries in general, secure cloud-based applications provide the ability for people to share data in a safe and rapid fashion. This can speed up business administration by up to 15%. The inbuilt SharePoint Online application is a cloud-based service allowing people to both share and collaborate by accessing not just joint documentation but also internal sites like intranets and this isn’t limited to office access – it can just as easily be done from a mobile device or a home system.

 

    1. Global Accessibility
      Because Office 365 is a global messaging system, it means that collaboration is straightforward whether people are in the same room or on different continents. Great news for Irish industries with partners outside the country.

 

    1. Less Maintenance
      Office 365 can reduce an organisation’s support and maintenance costs by 60% according to one analyst, meaning that office managers are (a) getting more for their IT budget and (b) working with a system that is more reliable and less maintenance heavy. This means more happy staff and less downtime for maintenance or upgrades.

 

Tourism and Office 365

Tourism is another big Irish industry – and tourism has become a much more personal process in the past decade. Modern visitors’ needs have evolved and become more and more complex, from dietary requirements to late check-ins, to be recognised and met, and hotels, campuses, tourist attractions and venues.

All need to have administrative systems that are both sensitive to customer data and accessible to a wide range of employees because the sector is so labour intensive by nature. Office 365 recognises and meets the need of industries like tourism, education and housing, which have to balance physical locations with individual preferences.

It does this by:

    • Providing Data Control
      Customers want their information to be both secure and accessible – a tricky balancing act that Office 365 manages by offering straightforward admin controls on who can see what, alongside world-class cloud security to keep data safe.
    • Bridging Geographic Distances
      The Office 365 platform gives hospitality, travel, education and housing organisations the ability to combine excellent digital applications with face-to-face service to allow them to deliver personal and individualised experiences whether that’s to a tourist, a student, a tenant or a diner.
    • Providing Empowering Insights
      By consolidating data and making it available to appropriate individuals, organisations are able to learn from the information they are given by users to tailor their offerings. This organic process gives any service industry an advantage – by gathering information, turning it into useful metrics and then conveying those metrics to frontline employees, an organisation can engage in continuous improvement without having to take staff out of the front line for training seminars or ‘learning days’.

Additional Benefits Of Office 365

Aside from the impact on innovation and business growth, there are a number of reasons business leaders choose Office 365 over alternative offerings:

    • Easy Integration
      Office 365 works effortlessly alongside programmes familiar to almost every user worldwide, from Outlook to PowerPoint. Because these tools offer the same features as Office 365 employees are instantly up to speed with the new system.
    • 24/7 Access
      Web-enabled access to email, internal sites and calendars, allows staff to coordinate their work with partners around the world, to work from home or to update documents and contacts on the move anytime and from anywhere.
    • Intuitive To Use
      Perhaps the biggest benefit of Office 365 from the employee point of view is how easy it is to use. No new jargon and no long induction periods. Within minutes most staff members can be working in the cloud – this gives the kind of benefits to small organisations that many other software solutions only offer to big business.
    • Secure Collaboration
      Password protected portals allow employees to instantly share big files inside the organisation and even outside it, while straightforward admin functions give office managers oversight of who can access what and easy ways to limit access to sensitive data in secured data areas.
    • Reliability
      A 99.9% uptime commitment gives many businesses something they’ve never experienced before – freedom from the worry of maintenance downtime, ‘glitches’ and support woes.

What’s Left To Say?!

It’s clear that forward thinking business leaders have already identified the impact Office 365 can have on innovation and business growth but the cloud-revolution is still in its infancy in terms of the adoption rates.

More and more business owners and office managers are choosing Office 365 for their organisations every day and those that don’t adapt are increasingly more at risk of being left behind.

With such impactful benefits already available and the technology advancements constantly underway, the move to Office 365 suite of online business applications can only be a smart move for businesses across all sectors.