Quadrotech, which polled more than two million Office 365 users, said it found that one in five corporate licenses isn’t being used at all (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/05/22/better_use_of_office365_licenses/)
Whether this review was before, during or post COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide is unclear, however, it does suggest a gaping divide between software intention versus its execution in business.
At a recent training seminar, I attended with Microsoft Office 365 grand-master Tracy van der Schyff, she asked us to raise our hands if we believed we were computer literate (Which we all did). After 13 minutes of Q&A (Such as “Does anyone here know how to…”), it was apparent that we were mostly, grossly ignorant to the features that have been released in our oldest and dearest software, Microsoft Office, over the past 10 years.
Recent events (That do not require reiteration) have thrust the need for remote working to the fore and left many businesses on the back foot. Additionally, as overheads and expenses are being forensically scrutinized, it has come to light that we are double-paying for services we already have in our Microsoft subscriptions.
Business is using Office365 but also paying for ‘Mono-product’ cloud offerings, which do much the same thing. Think ‘monday.com’. By their narrative;
‘monday.com is a flexible platform that teams use to create custom apps in minutes – to plan, run, and track processes, projects, and everyday work.
It’s probably good software (I don’t know) but looking at the description, it is apparent you can replicate the same functionality using Office features of MS Teams + MS Tasks + MS PowerSuite. The big difference is monday.com does not have email and starts at $39 vs. Office365 at $6. There is even an apples-to-apples comparison and it appears you are paying much more for far less.
Another example is Grammarly: text editing and grammar suggesting AI software with integrations to Microsoft Outlook & Word could now be redundant as Microsoft released ‘Microsoft Editor’ with integrations to all Office but with the addition of web browsers Edge and even Chrome.
The reality is, most low-tier cloud business offerings could be replicated (and even improved upon) using Microsoft by internal resources with minimal training in PowerSuite and a handful of Office 365 licences. Which most companies already have.
So why are we buying software twice?
Adoption is the challenge. I.T. is no longer a separate division providing networking, upgrades (only when necessary) and troubleshooting Susan’s mouse-issue on level 4 (“Have you tried turning it off and back on again?”)
For businesses to leverage their software investments they need to have (Either internally or externally) a resource to periodically review needs and apply the latest upgrades from their existing software portfolio to accommodate.
In the 1990s my mechanic-cousin said to me “I am now a computer engineer”. This after being run through a course on the ‘new’ ECU technology that was bought in to replace the faithful carburettors and mechanical fuel injection. The switch in the industry was glaring and impossible to miss. It was over-night.
The 4th industrial revolution, however, has been drawn-out. I.T. professionals now need to be Business Analysts as well as Technical Resources. Ensuring the right tool for the right job, at the right time.
The good news is there is information readily available out there to assist.
Microsoft Learn is a fun initiative with high-level courses overviews and ‘badges’ which (though won’t get you from novice to expert) certainly give a good basis in the technology, with the bonus of looking good on a Resume.
For more depth, companies offer Microsoft Office 365 and Application-specific learning, albeit instructor lead and paid. It is possible (Believe it or not) to do a 5-day course in Office 365; such has grown the breadth-and-depth of the product.
But it is worth it? The answer simply is yes. It is not just the cost-saving in superfluous software, education can save each person in your organization an average of 30 minutes a day just by leveraging the technology you already have.
As budgets are being reviewed and costs cut, simple and readily available efficiencies will be the fastest and easiest to implement.
In some cases, they will be the most effective too.
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