Enabling remote work: an opportunity for all partners
The global pandemic has created opportunities for partners across all industries to deliver remote work services. As we detailed in our State of the Partner Ecosystem event, Microsoft partners are vital to powering digital transformation, which is now more important than ever. Last year, we saw customers move fast to enable their remote workforces, driving exceptional partner opportunities to deliver the required communications and collaboration workloads securely. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on remote work services was immediate and continues to resonate today because of the additional benefits that customers have since realized with adoption.
These accelerated transitions quickly evolved into more agile work environments, which opened more partner opportunities to manage and support the secure remote work services and help customers drive adoption and utilization after deployments. Lacking the skills or the time to take on and plan what is necessary for a successful migration, customer demand for secure remote work capabilities and services has risen to an all-time high.
In December 2020, MDC Research surveyed 1,173 Microsoft partners to determine the level of remote work services offered and the impact of COVID-19 on remote work services demand and to determine the revenue opportunities for remote work projects in the last 12 months. The table below shows median revenues in the last 12 months—per project and post project—for Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, and Windows Virtual Desktop projects. Note the follow-on revenue for additional post-project services is substantial and can even exceed project revenue.
|Practice||Median 2020 Revenue|
|Secure Remote Work||per project|
|Microsoft Teams Services||per project|
|Virtual Desktop Services||per project|
To help partners determine the plausibility of adding a remote work practice, we have published the Secure Remote Work Practice Development Playbook, which provides guidance for assessing current capabilities and the investment and additional skills required to build and optimize the new services. Like our other Cloud Practice Development Playbooks, Secure Remote Work lays out the market opportunities and shows how to define and design a solution offer, along with the skills needed to build and market the services.
There are many entry points for adding remote work offerings from setting up a virtual desktop infrastructure to reselling mobile and conferencing devices. We aligned our technologies around the following key workloads:
- Collaboration and communication: Microsoft Teams is the hub for teamwork integrating chat and threaded conversations, meetings, Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) calling, and content collaboration with Office 365 apps. Microsoft has published additional guidance in the Microsoft Teams Practice Development Playbook.
- Secure access: With integrated identity and access management across cloud and on-premises environments, partners provide workplace security with multi-factor authentication, single sign-on self-service password reset, and threat detection.
- Digital workplace: Windows Virtual Desktop is an option for customers with security needs since all applications and data remain on the company’s virtual infrastructure, with no files or data residing on remote local devices. With an Azure file server environment, customers can use the Windows licenses they currently have to simplify delivery of applications. See New Windows Virtual Desktop advanced specialization differentiates partners’ remote work expertise.
- Device management: Assist customers in the deployment and management of devices through automated capabilities such as AutoPilot and Endpoint Manager. These services all fit within the Microsoft 365 cross-workload security, compliance, and modern desktop offering to deliver a secure remote workspace. Some partners also resell the devices and create standard images for deployment.
- Training and education: Provide user and technical training to increase efficiency and security awareness and offer best practices can be extremely valuable.
- Change management: Provide guidance and manage the adoption of changes in a customer’s environment with an understanding of the customer’s culture and support for accessibility and inclusion.
Customers are also looking to partners to help drive meaningful collaboration and engagement with their employees and end-customers, and partners offering secure remote work services have an opportunity to deliver these services with accessibility and digital inclusion in mind. This is being done effectively through education, adoption and change management guidance, and support services, enabled by a fostering a culture of accessibility and inclusion that also drives business needs and results. Successful migrations to remote work environments require more flexibility from everyone involved and can change corporate cultures. Workers that are challenged within a traditional office environment can easily adapt and thrive within a secure remote work environment.
Partners driving this experience internally will build confidence within their own organizations to serve customers with diverse needs. Microsoft’s own disability inclusion journey and accessibility fundamentals training can serve as useful starting points for partners seeking to embark on and progress in their accessibility journey.
More efficient collaboration and workflows make the entire organization more productive and result in saving on commute and travel and reduced helpdesk overhead. It increases morale with better work/life balance which reduces absenteeism and employee turnover. Companies with a well-managed remote work environment report their employees gained a renewed commitment and passion to perform.
As more organizations begin to move to a remote work environment, the need for guidance and experience becomes paramount to help them navigate the capabilities and tools for remote access, security, accessibility, and digital inclusion.
Please check out the new Secure Remote Work playbook and discover what additional services make sense to keep your customers more productive during this time of unprecedented change.