Technology is not a panacea for every problem, but it does have an important role to play in helping organizations and individuals overcome the obstacles caused by COVID-19. The pandemic forced many business owners to quickly adopt technology for a new business reality where employees had to work remotely. Sectors from manufacturing and healthcare to retail and finance came up with innovative solutions to the problems faced with the pandemic.
Companies had to close their physical locations and operate entirely online. Others had to dramatically reduce their operating hours and adjust their business models.
Manufacturing businesses adjusted the way and did everything from receiving and processing orders, to shipping products, to communicate with their customers and each other. Many healthcare organizations quickly adopted telemedicine to allow patients to be treated by doctors from a distance.
But throughout the struggle, many organizations were able to leverage emerging technologies to create new opportunities and grow their businesses. For the last two years, tech has been a constant source of hope and gratitude during an otherwise incredibly difficult time.
Work from home is here to stay
The most enduring effect of the pandemic is likely to be the work from home revolution. As 2021 draws to a close, companies are grappling with what blend of remote, in-person, and hybrid work model works best for them. Hybrid work, which is a combination of remote work and co-located work, become commonplace during this pandemic and is here to stay. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index was published earlier this year in March 2021, this survey found that an estimated 66% of businesses around the world are reorganizing their workflow to accommodate hybrid and remote work arrangements. Whether it’s working from home, working from a local library or a coffee shop, or even working in their own garage, allowing employees to work remotely is becoming a desired working arrangement. This will also free up office space for other purposes and allow for a reduction in overhead costs.
Microsoft Azure Cloud can help drive innovation and success in a post-pandemic world
One of the most important enablers of work from home and hybrid work is cloud technology. The team at Microsoft Azure have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to provide new tools and solutions for helping organizations adapt to the new reality.
A prime example of this is the use of Azure to migrate desktop applications and data to the cloud. This lets employees can access their desktops from any web browser or device, including smartphones and tablets, and all their data and applications are safely stored in the cloud. Teams can work from home or from any location, as long as they have an Internet connection.
The technological revolution catalyzed by the pandemic runs deeper than just work from home culture. As cloud technology became entrenched in businesses processes, organizations found themselves becoming more comfortable with working in the cloud and started to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
For example, Azure lets businesses store and access data in a single, unified source, so that it is always up to date, accessible, and secure. Business intelligence (BI) tools can then be leveraged allow users to analyze data to make better decisions. Microsoft’s Power BI is a powerful tool for businesses to get insights from their data quickly and easily. It provides insights into patterns and trends to help organizations make informed decisions. Another tool companies have embraced is Azure Synapse Analytics, which is a cloud-based data analytics service that makes it easy to explore and understand data, build predictive models, and visualize the results. It’s also useful for organizations who want to do their own machine learning to get insights into their data.
Azure AI is driving cloud-first, intelligent application development
Cloud adoption has also allowed organizations to begin developing cloud-first applications, with AI at the forefront. The Azure AI platform offers developers the ability to create intelligent applications that can learn and predict. These intelligent applications can be used in many scenarios, from building chatbots and knowledge mining, to providing personalized healthcare and improving customer engagement.
Considering cloud security
While the world was in the midst of the pandemic, cyberattacks on organizations were on the rise. Organizations that have a strong security posture can take advantage of Azure Security Center, which offers proactive security services to ensure that their organization is protected. Azure Security Center can detect attacks and anomalies and provide information about the attack to IT administrators so they can take the appropriate action.
Additionally, organizations have to adjust their security strategies accordingly. Microsoft Azure’s threat protection platform has been able to detect and block suspicious activity by leveraging machine learning and AI. This helps organizations identify and prevent malicious activity before they escalate and cause significant harm.
The combination of business intelligence tools, Azure AI, and cloud security features can help businesses weather the storm and even thrive in the aftermath and during this pandemic.
COVID-19 will have a lasting effect on the world and keeping business operations flexible for remote and hybrid work has become paramount to success. To learn more about how you can leverage the Microsoft Cloud to get ahead of the trend and ensure business success post-pandemic and beyond.