By Ahmed Mazhari, President, Microsoft Asia. This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.
Last week was the third anniversary of the launch of #MicrsoftTeams. Normally, we would put out a note to celebrate such a milestone.
But these are not normal circumstances; these are extraordinary times.
Since we have begun to offer Teams for free for six months to anyone wanting to collaborate, connect or manage business continuity, we have seen our user base grow from 32 million to more than 44 million, in less than two weeks.
However, we know this dramatic acceleration is attributable to the even more dramatic changes and safeguards being implemented on how people and organizations interact, brought about by #covid19’s rapid spread around the world. And that puts things in a different perspective.
As they say, the world is adjusting to a new normal.
When we launched Teams in 2017, it was because we envisaged helping people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. We thought about collaboration and productivity, and global reach. But these past few weeks have shown us something else – all the other things Teams can be used for.
That includes remote working, of course, but also learning, sharing, gathering, events and the most important thing, keeping us connected and engaged. There are many different innovative uses that are becoming real, some we didn’t even consider three years ago. Universities and schools putting almost all their courses online in a matter of days.
Doctors working with patients online for both safety and speed. Groups, from small and medium-sized businesses to large cities, holding major conferences, sharing crucial information, onboarding new employees or just a quick hello with each other.
Organizations around the world are fundamentally changing how they work, and it’s all taught us a lot about how to improve Teams even more. Because we also better understand how important it is to help keep businesses running, keep students learning and keep communities interacting during these challenging times.
We truly hope this global situation progressively improves, and that everyone affected – which is everyone, really – can all be healthy and safe, and able to resume their normal activities soon.
We at Microsoft are grateful that we can share a tool to help empower and enable people and organizations, and we hope that this year will see a world that has transformed to become even more united.