Martello recently commissioned EMA to conduct an entirely independent exploration of the state of Microsoft 365 and how enterprises are managing its performance and user experience in today’s modern workplace. With special attention given to Microsoft Teams, EMA set out to gauge the criticality, impact, performance, management, challenges, and best practices of Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Research Overview
Every research project has its share of surprises. After all, why do research if you already know all the answers? However, this project EMA undertook for Martello landed findings that fall into three general categories: to be expected, interesting, and surprising—in some cases, almost shocking.
To be expected
A global survey of 128 IT leaders placed MS365 as strategic/mission-critical by 33% of respondents, and widely used in most departments and functions by 48%. The remaining 19% indicated that usage varies from group to group. That differed very little by geography, with EMEA barely edging out North America. Of the largest enterprises, 51% rated MS365 as strategic. Maturity was almost an even split between organizations that had fully deployed MS365 for more than two years and those deployed for fewer than two years. Of those who have been deployed for more than two years, 50% rate it as mission-critical compared to 13% of the less mature deployments.
When it comes to IT budgets, 82% reported an increase, with 35% in excess of 10%. The population was an organizationally healthy one. The top three applications in the suite are Excel, Outlook, and Teams. In EMEA, Teams is number one chosen by 56% of respondents vs. North America’s 29%. North America’s top choice is Excel (52%) compared to EMEA’s 40%. A full 70% stated that an MS365 outage had a high or critical impact on business productivity, with 21% choosing “critical,” which EMA defined as “business grinds to a halt.” When MS Teams is rated as strategic, 78% see that outage as critical. The advent of work-from-anywhere has increased the use of MS Teams in 96% of the organizations polled, with 82% reporting usage doubling (45%) or more than doubling (38%) in the past year.
Although 32% have invested in Microsoft-specific teams, only 10% report having either proactive management of MS365 applications or an end-to-end view of their performance. In fact, only 11% use third-party tools to aid in ensuring performance and availability of these applications that have the power to make business grind to a halt. That’s kind of shocking. Although Microsoft was tagged as the likely culprit in 23% of the issues experienced with MS Teams, that leaves a full 77% of other sources of problems. Yet, when it comes to managing MS365 performance, 25% rely solely on Microsoft tools and 43% use a combination of Microsoft tools and internal infrastructure monitoring. What’s more shocking in this time of technological abundance is that 19% rely on users to raise an issue with the service desk in ITSM to kick off problem resolution teams and activities. It’s shocking partly because it is so unnecessary and partly because that approach puts a big hurt on productivity and user experience—both C-level items of interest.
Clearly, enterprise investment in managing MS365 performance and availability has not kept pace with the strategic value and business impact of those capabilities. This gap represents a direct risk to business productivity that is largely avoidable. There are automated approaches to addressing all of the top performance management challenges.