The Pandemic and the Acceleration of Digital Transformation

Just think how the world has changed essentially overnight from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It has all but eliminated traffic jams, reduced pollution, and forced human beings to interact differently. It also has impacted our lives on a personal level. For the first time, I’m helping family members get on virtual calls to celebrate birthdays together – even though we’re thousands of miles apart. This technology has existed for years, of course. But people weren’t using it.

All of that has changed. The shift is especially visible in the workplace.

We’ve been hearing about Digital Transformation for years. It’s simply the use of digital technology to help solve problems in faster and more efficient ways. It’s a constant process because technology itself is always progressing. (Telephone, television, computer, the internet, the cloud.) But what doesn’t change is our natural skepticism and resistance to, well, change itself. Sometimes it takes something crazy and out of this world to shake things up and forces us to act.

Hello, COVID-19.

Shelter-in-place directives throughout the world are altering how work gets done for individuals, teams, and companies. And that leads us back to Digital Transformation. CEO Satya Nadella may have said it best during Microsoft’s recent Q3 earnings call: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

What we’re learning – out of sheer necessity – is that with the technology that exists today, many jobs can be done just as well remotely as when we’re in an office setting. We’re learning that “work” doesn’t have to be where we go. It’s what we do. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not underestimating the value of face-to-face human interaction. But if I’m honest, it does also improve my productivity by not having to listen to my colleague Mark and his endless stories in my open office floor plan when I really need to focus on my presentation that’s due in an hour.

So, as terrible as this crisis is for so many people, we also see benefits to this “new normal” of remote workers. Making sure that this remote workforce still has access to the information, resources, and even company buzz when everyone is dispersed is the ongoing challenge. It’s why communication with our employees is more vital than ever.

How vital?

Let’s consider the remarkable growth of Microsoft’s M365 collaboration solution, Microsoft Teams. Here’s the increase in Daily Active Users over the last three quarters:

  • July 2019 – 13 million
  • November 2019 – 20 million
  • March 2020 – 44 million
  • April 2020 – 75 million

Microsoft Teams Sees Jump in Usage as Remote Work Surges

Employees are craving connection and information to do their jobs. Companies need ways to provide guidance and resources to maintain business continuity. That’s fueling the growth of Microsoft Teams.

It’s also powering the hyper-growth of Dynamic Signal’s Employee Communication and Engagement platform. Our platform was always important to how companies connected with their people. Now we’re critical. Don’t just take my word for it. You can see here how many of our customers are describing our platform as pivotal for helping them navigate this crisis. They understand, more than ever, communicating with your employees is key to the success of their businesses – especially during difficult times.

We’re also taking pride in how Microsoft Teams has become instrumental for organizations. Dynamic Signal is a preferred partner of Microsoft. Through our integration, we make Microsoft Teams even more powerful as a leadership communication tool.

For instance, executives and communicators can send critical content to their employees inside of Microsoft Teams – a tool they’re already choosing to use. They can broadcast messages about working from home, the good deeds the company is performing to help during these times, or even about company virtual happy hours. There’s also a Public News Feed that can be pinned to the left navigation bar where employees can consume this company-approved content without ever leaving Microsoft Teams.

We help make Microsoft Teams even more powerful as a source of truth for every company.

This crisis will end. (Hopefully sooner rather than later.) Shelter-in-place orders will lift. Workers will start to return to their offices – whenever it’s safe to do so. But I think we can all agree that we aren’t going back completely to the way things were. I suspect that the future of work probably will be some combination of before and today.

The question will be, how do we take what we’ve learned from this crisis and apply it going forward in ways that both help our businesses succeed and keep employees feeling more fulfilled and connected?

How do you not take a step back when employees return to the office? My view is the tools that have value during this crisis for employees are going to continue having value going forward.

I know that I’m going to welcome the day when I see my colleagues face-to-face again, and not just on video conferences. It’s logical to think that maybe the usage of a solution like Microsoft Teams might slip a bit when office life becomes more the norm again. But once people see the value in something – like the way Dynamic Signal and Microsoft Teams work together – to keep them more connected, it’s more likely that they’ll stick to using it.

It’s why I’m sure that my family will continue to celebrate some events over virtual calls.

That’s the thing about positive change. It tends to move forward.

Post Author

G.I. Sanders

G.I. Sanders is Senior Director, Creative Services at Dynamic Signal. He specializes in entrepreneurship, digital and social media, design, and marketing. G.I. is based in Dallas, TX with his wife and two sons. Passions include technology, startups, music, fitness and sports.