For many the mandatory shut down of non-essential businesses has undoubtedly hindered business continuity. While re-establishing full business continuity may be difficult during this time there are several tools that can be implemented immediately to restore some functionality.
The key hurdle for most organizations is restoring communication. Those who utilize the Microsoft Office suite can utilize a variety of communication tools as part of the enterprise Microsoft 365 licensing. For those who are not currently Microsoft 365 subscribers, Microsoft has made the Office 365 E1 tier free for 6-months as part of their response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The E1 tier includes Microsoft Teams that can serve as a hub to coordinate your business remotely. The application is available on both Windows and mobile platforms. Teams allow your entire organization to connect through a single platform with instant messaging, content sharing, voice, and video capabilities. Users can easily connect in real-time to exchange documents or share screens. Managers can set up dedicated user groups for various projects and initiatives. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents can be added directly to Teams (stored on the OneDrive cloud) and edited in real-time by all users at the same time. Teams does a great job integrating many of the different tools within the Microsoft ecosystem and can be expanded to serve as a replacement for phone services. Teams also provides a platform to have powerful video meetings with customers and business partners.
In addition to the collaboration tools within Teams, the Office 365 E1 tier subscription offers email services and cloud-based file storage. OneDrive for Business provides each user with 1 TB of cloud storage enabling users to access their files from anywhere, on any device. Files on the cloud can be shared internally, externally, and within Teams.
It is worth mentioning that there are several alternative products that provide similar functions such as Slack or Zoom. Zoom is particularly useful for facilitating outside communication for groups by allowing dial-in numbers to participate without any software.
Collaboration, communication, and file-sharing tools can go a long way in restoring some internal business functions. If you have any questions regarding implementing any of the above or need help in transitioning your business/IT operations into a remote format, please reach out to your WG advisor.