Although it feels unfair, the fact is that small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) must deal with many of the same challenges that face their larger competitors. Both global enterprises and local SMBs have to contend with managing costs to stay profitable, protecting employee and customer data, and scaling business operations to maximize productivity. While many SMBs have successfully leveraged cloud-based services to help “level the playing field” when it comes to the aforementioned challenges, IT budgets are always tight for SMBs. Some IT leaders in these SMBs are skeptical of moving to the cloud until they can confirm a return on investment (ROI) with the cloud.
Respected industry analyst firm Forrester conducted a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study to examine the potential ROI that SMBs often realize by deploying cloud-based Microsoft 365 solutions at their organization. Amaxra consultants who reviewed the Forrester TEI results agree with the findings, as they track with our real-world observations of how SMBs with distributed workforces use Microsoft 365 (and specifically Microsoft Teams) to collaborate in a post-pandemic workplace.
What is the Forrester TEI?
For well over a decade, Forrester has used a repeatable process of analyzing IT costs for businesses by evaluating the flexibility and associated risk of using the technology in the organization. The Forrester TEI process looks at what it takes for a business to deploy IT holistically from a cost-benefits standpoint. Forrester TEI reports give business leaders a proactive tool to predict the effectiveness of an IT decision or project.
The purpose of this recent Microsoft-commissioned Forrester TEI was to provide IT business decision makers at SMBs with a means to evaluate the potential financial impact of deploying a Microsoft 365 For Business solution at their organizations. Unlike other surveys that includes data from hundreds if not thousands of people, the Forrester TEI study on Microsoft 365 For Business focuses on nine IT business decision-makers at SMBs over a three-year period. By targeting fewer people in the study while maintaining a diverse cross-section of those surveyed, the answers submitted to Forrester for the TEI are more in depth, meaningful, and relatable to the SMB audience.
The before and after of a Microsoft 365 deployment
One of the key findings in the Forrester TEI is the increased level of collaboration those surveyed enjoyed using Microsoft 365 For Business. All of those surveyed remarked on how their businesses relied on a patchwork of unconnected solutions for employee productivity and collaboration prior to their move to Microsoft 365. Their employees often stored data on individual computers rather than a centralized cloud repository such as Microsoft SharePoint or OneDrive—making it very difficult to access information remotely or to collaborate on tasks.
Prior to their companies’ migration to Microsoft 365, their IT managers spent significant time managing, updating, and troubleshooting various tools and software systems from competing manufacturers. An interesting by-product of these “siloed” IT systems was inflated technology costs. However, after making an investment in Microsoft 365 For Business, the IT managers experienced organization-wide improvements to productivity along with reductions to their overall technology expenses.
The benefit of Microsoft Teams before and after the pandemic
Another critically important finding for SMBs in the TEI report is how Microsoft 365 enabled a seamless shift to secure remote work. By using the Microsoft Teams apps built into Microsoft 365 For Business, the companies surveyed were able to seamlessly shift to a work-from-home environment during the COVID-19 pandemic without experiencing any downtime. This is in stark contrast to statistics from a separate but contemporary Forrester survey that noted only 37% of SMBs surveyed were prepared for the forced transition to remote work brought on by the 2020 pandemic.
As more people gain confidence to travel in 2021, another benefit of seen in the Forrester TEI of Microsoft Teams is the reduction of travel time and costs. Employees are now used to conducting virtual meetings with employees, partners, contractors, and investors in Microsoft Teams. Even in a post-pandemic world, the TEI proves that SMBs can use Teams to help save travel time and associated expenses.
The bottom line on ROI in the TEI
According to the Forrester TEI, SMBs investing in Microsoft 365 For Business saw an average 163% return on investment with a payback time of less than six months. The TEI study notes that using Microsoft 365 provides employees with a unified suite of business productivity and collaboration tools available everywhere thanks to Microsoft’s secure cloud infrastructure. That same cloud infrastructure also automates many tasks around management and security for IT teams at SMBs so they can spend more time on higher value-added initiatives.
Amaxra specializes in deploying Microsoft 365 For Business solutions with a high ROI. Our expert consultants will work to provide the most cost-effective and secure solution for small businesses that help them look and function like a larger enterprise.
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