Entrepreneur

How Microsoft's Portfolio Of Cloud Solutions Can Play A Role In Growing Resilient Businesses

[This is a paid article with Microsoft.]

Back in 2015, SME Corp Malaysia predicted that almost all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would be using digital or cashless transactions by 2022.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of digitalisation has been sped up. With consumers avoiding physical stores and many companies operating remotely, going digital is no longer a distant want—it has become a need.

Despite the shift in priorities, we still have a long way to go. Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, recently highlighted that the lack of a clear nationwide blueprint for the tech ecosystem has led to “serious problems in terms of digital and tech adoption”.

It is not just the government that has the responsibility to keep things moving. There must be integrated efforts from all the entities involved.

K. Raman, the Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia expressed similar sentiments in an August release.

“With technology becoming more ingrained in our daily lives, it is vital that we work in tandem with the government and other industry players, to enhance technological accessibility among all Malaysians, towards a move resilient and inclusive country,” he wrote.

While it’s easy to come up with encouraging words, Microsoft has actions to prove their commitment to supporting digitalisation. Take, for example, their business collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is constantly improving. In 2020 alone, Microsoft has implemented a laundry list of new features to enhance the application’s security, compliance and overall performance.

These are all vital to a smoother communication process when working from home during the pandemic, but the scope of what SMEs require is much larger.

“SMEs are still facing problems to improve business operations from computing to digitisation. These problems consist of issues such as high cost of digitisation, adaptation of technology, providing infrastructure and proper digital usage skills to be implemented in their company’s operations,” said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi, the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) in August.

It takes a unified, comprehensive and integrated portfolio of cloud solutions across Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure, built on a foundation of security and privacy, to tackle all the aspects that SMEs need.

1. Empowering Businesses To Collaborate Securely And Efficiently

Microsoft 365 enables teams to collaborate and communicate easily through Microsoft Teams. There are also the familiar Microsoft Office offerings like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.

Find Out More: Check out practical applications of Microsoft 365’s suite of offerings.

1TB of OneDrive storage is also provided to each team member for safe and protected file transfers. Working remotely means the reliance on physical paperwork reduces, and digital file transfers increase so secure storage space is crucial.

Power Automate is another feature that SMEs will find useful. A thriving business could have a high volume of leads coming in through direct messages on social media platforms. It can be overwhelming to keep up with the volume.

If someone messages a business’s Facebook page, Power Automate can be pre-programmed to run these processes:

  • Send a customised reply
  • Add them to a spreadsheet that gets emailed to the business
  • Add the contact to Salesforce or Dynamics 365

This is just scratching the surface of what Power Automate can do. Beginners can start with recording mouse clicks, keystrokes and copy-paste steps, but the service is robust enough to handle complex, enterprise-wide processes.

Picture showing a dashboard of Microsoft Power Automate flow of your workflows, enable business logic to simplify tasks, and connect your processes with Microsoft Power Automate. Image Credit: Microsoft

2. Maximising Efficiency Across All Industries

Microsoft’s cloud computing service, Azure, consists of over 200 products and cloud services. This puts all the capabilities and possibilities of cloud computing at the fingers of businesses, both large and small.

In Malaysia, one of the leading telecommunication networks, Celcom knew that migrating to the cloud was a key step in expansion and acceleration as a telco service provider. With 5G in mind, Azure’s services give Celcom the agility to be future-ready while saving on costs since they don’t need on-site infrastructure to host it. Thanks to the success of their migration, Celcom is looking to share the fruits of the experience with their parent company, Axiata Group, which has extensive operations across Asia.

Another success story on cloud migration and adoption of Azure is with Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRT Corp), the company behind the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit system project.

This mega construction has a total of 1,500 engineers and construction managers that uses Bentley software hosted on Azure to collaborate in a connected data environment. The team had worked together on approximately 7,500 models with more than 280,000 documents and drawings. That is about 2.3TB of project data.

With the huge data pipeline, Azure helped reduce errors and design conflicts, resulting in a 35% improvement in their collaboration efficiency. With this, MRT Corp is expecting to complete the SSP Line on time and within budget.

How MRT Corp uses Azure on their day to day work. Read more here.

3. Enabling Customer Insights and Leveraging On Data-Driven Strategies

Most businesses understand the importance of knowing their customers by aggregating data on them. But just having data is useless. It won’t magically transform into sales. Business owners have to marry the right data with the right tools to gain valuable insights and obtain a 360 view of a customer’s profile.

Imagine if you were a merchant on a popular e-commerce platform, and you have acquired a large amount of data on your customers. Where do you start? With Microsoft Dynamics 365, you are able to sift through the wealth of information and make sense of your customers spending habits and form solutions to meet their demands.

Industry Recognition: Microsoft was named a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Technologies report released in Q3 2020.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 gives users access to a customer data platform (CDP). The CDP provides a quick overview of what customers often look for and how they spend their money.

This information can be used to personalise customer shopping experiences, or to come up with more strategies that can drive sales-based behaviour.

As Surina Shukri, the CEO of MDEC said earlier this year, “Digitalisation is key because it helps businesses to be better, faster and cheaper (to run), at the same time continuing to deliver good customer experience.”

It has been a tough year for many industries. More than ever, businesses have to be more resilient to ride out the storm and come out stronger at the end.

The time to invest in the right key technology for the present and the future has never been more important. Head over to Microsoft Malaysia’s SME portal to talk to a sales representative to learn more about implementing Microsoft’s cloud commercial solutions.

  • For more information, Microsoft Malaysia hosted a webinar for SMEs in July, focusing on how Microsoft solutions can improve an SME’s productivity, operations, scalability and security.
  • To find out more on how Microsoft’s portfolio of cloud services can improve your business, you can talk to a sales representative here or check out their website here.

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