In 2010 Microsoft launched Office 365 in beta (known as B.P.O.S.). It had evolved from the “Business Productivity Online Suite” with the promise that you could “work from anywhere.” Who knew that 10 years later we would all be working remotely with online meetings as a way a life?
Through the years since Office 365 was introduced, businesses learned to communicate with Lync Online and later were able to improve collaboration with Skype for Business.
This year Office 365 has been reimagined and rebranded as Microsoft 365. With the spike in remote work, Microsoft Teams has seen usage skyrocket, with an average of 75 million active daily users. Enterprise Mobility & Security (EMS) is now part of the M365 offering that provides a platform for intelligent mobility management and security.
In light of the new Microsoft 365 offer and our remote work reality, we thought it was time to sit down with Pyramid Consulting’s Microsoft 365 Practice Director, Mark Wuerslin. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.
Hi Mark, happy to be meeting with you virtually on Teams today! To kick off our conversation, what excites you about working with Microsoft 365?
I’ve spent decades working in the Microsoft space because I’m passionate about how their tools enable content creation and collaboration. I like to say that Microsoft 365 is your modern productivity suite. It’s a holistic platform that enables productivity at all levels of business, from the individual to the teams they work with on an everyday basis. That means users can create and collaborate and then actually run their day-to-day business workflows.
One thing we’ve seen, especially in the last six months as remote working has spiked, is the digitization of those workflows. The ability to share documents in real time within Microsoft 365 speeds up a lot of processes that had involved paper documents being passed around. And from documents, spreadsheets, and financials, Microsoft 365 protects your team members and devices by keeping bad actors from getting in and causing damage
Could you tell us a bit about your role at Pyramid Consulting?
Pyramid Consulting is a true partner with Microsoft and understands how M365 is enabling the future workforce and digital transformation. As the leader of that practice, I am responsible for the end-to-end customer journey with Microsoft 365.
Our typical engagement starts with a technology assessment that determines where the organization is with licensing, security, and productivity. Then we develop a roadmap to help the business get the most out of their Microsoft tools including Exchange, SharePoint, Teams, and EMS. Our M365 experts can help implement the recommendations and projects. And once up and running, we can also take over the day-to-day management so their IT staff can focus on strategic initiatives.
Let’s talk specifically about what Pyramid Consulting’s Microsoft 365 practice entails. What problems does it solve for your clients?
Before an organization goes to M365, they’re often juggling solutions to enable their workforce and they don’t have an integrated platform. What we’ve found during our years of consulting and helping with these transitions is to dig deeper.
For example, when a client comes to us for a mailbox migration to Microsoft 365, we can often find other ways to transform their business. They might be using different video conferencing tools in each department or purchasing a separate vendor’s endpoint protection for their antivirus malware. When you add up all the expenditures for these ancillary services, as well as the training and management costs to support them, we find that we can help them save time and money by running the Microsoft platform in a more unified fashion.
Productivity improvements are another reason enterprises come to us. What we do as a trusted partner is work with your IT team to integrate the Microsoft 365 platform so you can have a secure system that is up and running quickly and smoothly and maximize the value it can add to your business. When a customer comes to us, Pyramid Consulting offers a full end-to-end solution and expertise beyond M365. Our in-depth knowledge of data analytics, Quality Assurance, and security really compliment the M365 platform.
We can also add additional value along the way. If you want to develop a new application, we can quickly put together a team of application developers or bring in people to supplement your team in whatever ways you need. We can quickly find the right talent for customer solutions. It’s a combination of the right people and the right technology.
Pyramid Consulting often engages with clients first through an assessment. Walk us through that process and what types of assessments you offer?
Sure! We have two M365 assessments. For organization that are not already using M365, we walk through current software, licensing, and spending, as well as the requirements to move them to Microsoft 365. Then we create a comprehensive roadmap to get to M365 from a licensing perspective, an administrative perspective, and a security perspective. So, it’s a holistic approach that leads into full deployment migration planning.
For customers who are already on M365, we scan their Microsoft tenant and review the current set-up and security posture. During our assessment, we often find organizations are hampered by licenses that are inactive or oversized. We’ll look at how your people are consuming – or not consuming – OneDrive, Teams or other components. Our roadmap deliverable identifies that usage and includes how you can drive change management to improve that adoption.
We can offer best practices and deep experience from our engagement with M365 at customers in various industries around the world. That’s why you want to work with us. We won’t just sell you a certificate that says, ‘You have a 1,000 licenses.’ We are a partner with you, learning your business – infrastructure, applications, development, security. Once we know your organization inside and out through those assessments, we can work with you every step of the way to implement and optimize a 365 solution that’s perfect for your organization.
Once a company has moved to Microsoft 365, why should they consider managed services?
They know their business best, but don’t necessarily have the experience with M365. We do. By partnering with us, they can set the requirements and leverage our resources to maintain them. We can provide day-to-day admin support, roll out conditional access, implement Intune management policies – we provide a fully managed solution with end user support. Our managed services allow companies to leverage their capabilities and resources where they can provide the most strategic value for their business and they gain the depth of our M365 experience as well.
One of our clients is a bio-pharmaceutical company that has seen explosive growth in the last 6 months. We took them from a hosted solution and migrated them to M365 and now we’re managing their day-to-day services. As they moved to remote work, we helped them transition off other legacy providers to teleconferencing and start using Intune to secure their endpoints. This partnership has allowed them to focus on their growth and not have to worry about the technology.
Thanks, Mark! You can learn more about our Microsoft 365 Practice on our website.
Whether it’s spearheading your Microsoft 365 integration from the beginning or maximizing productivity for your remote workforce, Pyramid Consulting has years of experience creating tailored solutions that have transformed businesses around the world. As one of only 20 Microsoft 365 Managed Partners in the US, we have deep experience and best practices to help organizations get the most out of this powerful platform.