Companies failing to maximise use of Microsoft 365 investment, finds survey

While 88% of IT decision-makers surveyed say they have ‘fully deployed’ Microsoft 365 in their organisation, most have yet to adopt the software suite to its fullest extent, particularly the built-in security features.

The most commonly used application was for email through Outlook/Exchange (59%), followed by Microsoft Teams (41%) and Skype for Business (23%). This is a huge missed opportunity when it comes to maximising investment; considering Office 365 has 155 million active users, there are many more organisations that could benefit from exploring further.

“Adopting any new technology involves considerable change and can be a challenge for even the most innovative of organisations – the fact that email is still the most popular application shows there is a missed opportunity when it comes to maximising the investment made,” said Andy Dunbar, technology services lead, SoftwareONE. “Organisations need to go ‘under the hood’ of technology platforms and explore how they can make employees’ lives easier because, ultimately, they are paying for the full set of features regardless of whether or not they are using them.”

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Looking at the challenges organisations face in encouraging employees to use all the available functions or applications within Microsoft 365, the most commonly cited by almost half of respondents (47%) is that employees are unsure which ‘apps’ they have access to and the corresponding benefits. This was followed by resistance to change in the organisation (34%) and not having enough time to provide enablement (29%). Moreover, just over a quarter (26%) are not measuring how Microsoft 365 is used; given the pace of today’s business world and the rapid rate at which technology develops, this is something organisations must address.

“Organisations should continually monitor how employees use software so they can identify neglected applications and provide the relevant enablement, focusing on user scenarios not just ‘how to’ guides,” said Dunbar. “Microsoft 365 offers a number of features to facilitate collaboration and increase productivity, as well as out of the box reporting and analytics functions, which the research shows are underused by many. Such applications could transform how employees work day-to-day – using Microsoft Teams to reduce time spent managing email, for instance. Successful adoption of any new technology requires behavioural change and fundamentally finding different or new ways way of working, but if employees don’t know about these tools, organisations miss out on the productivity and collaboration benefits available.”

Overlooking security features

The research also found that many organisations are overlooking or ignoring the in-built security features of Microsoft 365 (which includes Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security). With most companies still buying additional third-party security, they are essentially paying twice for the same outcome.

Key statistics include:

  • 44% of respondents don’t use Intune (device and application management)
  • 37% don’t use Azure Advanced Threat Protection (identifies, detects and investigates advanced threats)
  • 36% don’t use Azure Information Protection (document protection)

“Given the growth in remote and flexible working, and the widespread use of mobile devices, organisations should explore these security features further to mitigate risk while increasing ROI,” said Dunbar. “Most organisations have used traditional third-party security providers for many years, and are overlooking the consolidated security capabilities of platforms such as Microsoft 365.

“In practice, this means organisations using third-party solutions are essentially paying twice for the same outcome. However, as they become confident that integrated features are robust enough to use, we expect to see adoption rise as users realise that integrated security features are a strong, cost-effective option.”

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future

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