By Samik Roy, Country Head, Modern Workplace, Microsoft India
In the eighth week of the nationwide lockdown, we have started embracing new ways to survive and thrive. Every crisis has its learnings and the COVID-19 situation is no different. The lockdown and social distancing have made remote working and learning the new normal. Technology is the enabler for almost all that we do, be it for work, communicating with friends and family, or ordering your grocery. This has accelerated India’s organizations and individuals on the path of digital transformation.
Data trends and conversations with our customers highlight that the world is realizing that we can effectively connect across distances in a way we’ve perhaps never thought was possible before. In April, globally, we saw more than 200 million Microsoft Teams meeting participants in a single day, generating more than 4.1 billion meeting minutes. Teams has more than 75 million daily active users and two-thirds of them have leveraged Teams beyond just communication (video/audio calling, chatting, meeting, etc) and have used its collaboration features like co-authoring, co-editing, sharing of files, and more.
Early in March, we made Teams available to everyone for free and our productivity solutions have helped organizations in ensuring business, learning, and healthcare continuity. Microsoft Teams provides the ability to work from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. It is the ‘hub for teamwork’. Being a part of Microsoft 365, it provides users with a single interface that allows access to all Office solutions. Users can co-create, co-author documents, collaborate amongst themselves, and share all of them securely in OneDrive for Business. The interface allows users having Microsoft 365 to invoke OneNote, Power BI, third-party applications, or even build their own custom applications using Power Platform. As organizations streamline their business processes, they can plug in apps and services or integrate existing custom apps to Teams.
At Microsoft, privacy and security are ingrained in the core design principles of every product. In Teams, we provide privacy and security controls for video conferences, safeguard user privacy, secure user identity and account information, as well as protect customer’s data and defend it against cybersecurity threats.
Currently, Microsoft Teams is being used across various industries, including healthcare, education, information technology, manufacturing, banking and financial services, and governments. Thirty out of the country’s top 50 companies are working remotely on Microsoft Teams. Organizations like Wipro, Mindtree, Aditya Birla, educational institutions like The British School, Amity Institutions, Delhi Public School International, and medical care companies like Fortis Healthcare and HealthCare Global are leveraging Microsoft Teams extensively every day. Many of the group companies of conglomerates like Tata, Reliance, Mahindra, and L&T are leveraging the Microsoft workplace suite of products.
Microsoft Teams is being used across various industries, including healthcare, education, information technology, manufacturing, banking and financial services, and governments. Thirty of India’s top 50 companies are working remotely on Microsoft Teams.
Each day, we are empowering organizations ranging from large enterprises to small and medium businesses, and even startups. Microsoft Teams is designed for all kinds of users. Its applicability spans from board rooms to factory floors, from hospital workers to hoteliers and from retail shops to remote learning environments. The unique needs of different types of workers have given us the opportunity to help them and provide solutions through Microsoft Teams. For example, Shifts in Microsoft Teams gives managers of frontline workers a tool to manage schedules and gives workers an easy way to receive information or swap work shifts. Leadership teams in many organizations are leveraging Teams Live Events for meetings with all employees or large-format virtual events. Amateur football coach Sanjeet Sen has leveraged Teams to stay connected with his students and teach them a trick or two during the lockdown.
Our academic solution (M365 A1) is enabling learning continuity in schools and universities. While students are attending classes remotely, teachers are going the extra mile in keeping them engaged through new ways of interaction and collaboration. Teachers can see their students and draw them in as soon as there are any signs of attention lapse. Functionalities like Immersive Reader can create personalized learning experiences including language learning and helping students with special needs.
Underscoring the importance of local languages in our diverse country, Microsoft Teams offers support in eight Indian languages. While it supports Hindi on desktop and web, the mobile version can be localized in Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, and Malayalam. Teams also has real-time inline translation, where text can be translated between Hindi and other world languages.
It’s inspiring to see how our technology is helping organizations and individuals continue to work and learn amid the current global crisis. Every single day, we live our mission of empowering every person and every organization to achieve more. And a moment comes, but rarely in history, when we rise beyond ourselves and keep more organizations up and running with secure tools. Although the way we work has changed, it is heartening when our customers tell us that our drive to connect with each other is often stronger than the circumstances that keep us apart. We are humbled and privileged to be able to serve the country and its people.
What we need now is to ensure that we carry forward the learnings into the future. When we overcome the COVID-19 crisis, children will go back to their physical classrooms, and physical meetings will be reinstated in our calendars along with the virtual ones. But “remote everything” trend will sustain, and tech intensity will continue to accelerate. Parents, students and teachers should continue to communicate and collaborate for newer learning approaches. It’s encouraging to learn that the future operating model of Tata Consultancy Services will have 25% of their workforce at their facilities and they will continue to drive high productivity with anytime, anywhere, collaborative working. Geographically dispersed teams should continue to connect and collaborate securely and efficiently virtually. That’s how we will be able to transform ourselves digitally and usher in a new era of higher efficiency and productivity.