This article was contributed by Harry Wilson, Head of the Digital Marketing Department at Globex Outreach.
Microsoft is one of the few companies that will go down in history as a game-changer. Not only is Microsoft one of the most valuable companies in the world, circling around $2.38 trillion USD market cap, but it also continually innovates and focuses on bringing more to its clients. What originally started as a software company has now grown into an international corporation with hundreds of thousands of employees and countless deployments.
The Microsoft ecosystem – a sum of all of the distinct product, software, and system offerings that they provide to enterprise clients – has grown over the past few decades. With this growth, Microsoft now offers business applications and integrations for the vast majority of operational functions.
Yet, as a new business that’s looking to scale, it can be hard to pin down exactly which tools you should use and where you should start. To point you in the right direction, we’ll break down the three most important operational pillars of the Microsoft ecosystem, demonstrating exactly how to extract the most value from this multi-functional company.
Components of the Core Microsoft Business Ecosystem
Technically speaking, the Microsoft ecosystem has five core pillars. Each of these segments pertains to a slightly different field of technology. For example, one segment looks at data and analytics, while another segment looks at productivity and internal communication. Understanding that to engage effectively with the Microsoft business ecosystem, you don’t have to use every pillar is vital here.
Most companies, unless you are already extremely scaled, will only need three of the core pillars to begin. Here are the segments that you should focus on:
- Internal Communication and Document Generation
- Business Applications
- Data Storage and Access
Let’s break down each of these pillars and demonstrate some of the utility you can hope to gain from each.
Internal Communication and Document Generation
Effective internal communication underpins every single business. Without fail, the ability to communicate with coworkers, share information, and work together on projects is central to the daily progression of a company.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that Microsoft has designated a huge part of its ecosystem to internal communications and document generation. There are a few core technologies here, most of which you’ll probably recognize:
- Outlook – Microsoft Outlook is a powerful all-in-one email platform that has been around for decades. It offers extensive support for emails and is the go-to for many companies around the globe.
- Teams – Teams is an instant messaging and video call platform that allows teams to communicate remotely, giving instant access to face-to-face communication.
- OneDrive – OneDrive is Microsoft’s catch-all document system, which is where employees can share files with one another and store important information related to projects. As it’s based in the cloud, it also offers a layer of security against data failure or loss.
While by no means an exhaustive list of all of the productivity and communication tools that Microsoft offers, these are some of the most important ones to start with.
At the heart of the Microsoft business ecosystem for sales and business are the Dynamics 365 Apps. These applications cover everything from marketing integrations, finances and ops, customer service, and even analytics platforms.
In order to get the most from your business, your business needs a comprehensive system that allows you to interact with customers, find new customers, and streamline all interactions with your clients.
The business-related applications segment of the Microsoft ecosystem has exploded over the past 10 years. For example, one of its most recent tools, Microsoft Clarity, allows website admins to trace a virtual heatmap of their website and explore where people are spending the most time.
As a relatively new technology, this is a powerful way of refining your website offering and creating a more appealing site for your users. Using a Microsoft clarity guide, you can rapidly begin to improve your website without the need for expensive or overtly complex data tools. This is just a singular example of how Microsoft has started to accommodate for the modern age of businesses.
By utilizing the tools that feel most apt for your specific company, you can create an impressive business operations department only using Microsoft tools.
Data Storage and Access
One of the biggest issues that businesses run into early on in their operations as they start to scale is an inability to break down data silos. With siloed data, employees are unable to draw insight from others, preventing your business from becoming truly data-driven. Equally, without the ability to harness all of the insights that your various applications and IoT devices generate, you cannot effectively orient your business and plan for the future.
To overcome this problem, another core asset of the Microsoft ecosystem that your business should look into is the Azure SQL Data Warehouse. Data warehouses are universal systems for storing all of the data that your business produces in an actionable way. Azure integrates with numerous other data tools, allowing you to centralize your data repositories and move data as you’d like.
Once you’ve created a central system where all of your data goes, your employees are instantly empowered with the ability to make effective data-driven decisions. Instead of only having access to segments of data, they can pull from all of the information that your company holds, creating a direct path toward defeating data silos and boosting data usage.
Without a doubt, the ability to feed data into a centralized repository and then move it into any BI tools that you may use is one of the central pillars upon which the entire Microsoft ecosystem stands.
With this final segment, you’ll have a comprehensive ecosystem that tailors to all your needs.
One of the most striking aspects of Microsoft’s development over the past decades has been its continual commitment to creating and distributing new applications. Their current ecosystem spans across every single possible application you could need, including data integrations, sales tools, website analytics, and much more.
As a successive technology with a high degree of cross-platform integration, the more Microsoft applications you use, the more effective your business can become. By finding the core technologies that your company uses and converting them into a Microsoft offering, you can create a free flow of information and data across all of your employees.
Especially as you continue to scale your enterprise, making the most of the Microsoft ecosystem is a powerful solution to the modern tech stack.
About the author
Harry Wilson is the Head of the Digital Marketing Department at Globex Outreach. He helps clients grow their online businesses and occasionally writes blogs to share his experience with other professionals.