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CBTS Application Modernization services bring your company into the digital age

Application-based companies are changing the business landscape. Digital models have disrupted legacy companies in every industry and sector. For example, Uber and Lyft changed the way we think about transportation. Amazon has supplanted countless retailers across the world, and investing has become more accessible to the working class because of companies like Robinhood. Calling on CBTS Application Modernization services can give companies the edge they need to compete in the digital age.

Unfortunately, many companies struggle to begin modernizing due to the costly investment and sometimes complex infrastructure strategy. (Even though legacy application architecture can easily consume a considerable portion of a business’s IT budget.) Thankfully, companies don’t have to go it alone.

This blog will outline how the CBTS holistic APO (applications, platforms, operations) approach to application modernization services can future-proof and streamline operations, securely integrate platforms, and manage applications via cloud-first environments.

Table of contents:

App Modernization defined

What exactly is application modernization? A precise definition has been elusive because service providers tend to offer explanations that suit their specific offerings. However, over our decades of experience, CBTS has put together an agnostic definition of application modernization.

Application modernization is the process of rewriting, re-architecting, and re-platforming applications into cloud-native modern apps designed for resiliency, scale, and speed to market.

Benefits of application modernization services

In addition to gaining a competitive edge, there are a host of other benefits to digital transformation:

  • Improved customer experience through simple, responsive interfaces that enhance customer experience
  • Continuous deployment of new features
  • Cloud-native architecture that extends future-proofed scalability, performance, flexibility, and availability
  • Promote a culture of ownership and trust while improving an organization’s agility by utilizing DevOps best practices
  • Improved security incorporated directly into the app build cycle
To be successful, a modernization strategy must include: Holistic approach Success depends on a having a personalized mix of interconnected applications, platforms, and operations that deliver a competitive advantage Modern Solutions Incorporating the right mix of future-proof agile technologies such as cloud native development, DevOps, data lakes, containers, automation, and microservices Security Is always top of mind, and is addressed throughout the entire project Interoperability Between systems, software, and applications to allow for the sharing of data to produce analytics that drive business decisions

Businesses can no longer afford to think of themselves as service providers that utilize apps. Instead, every company should think of itself as an application company that happens to sell products or services. Apps are no longer a marketing gimmick; today, they are a matter of survival.

Employing application modernization services is a powerful way for a business to update its operations across all departments—especially in the customer-facing realm. Modernized applications utilize a cloud-native architecture, providing greater flexibility, scalability, performance, and availability. Application modernization services are the key to future-proofing business operations.

However, many businesses are resistant to the idea of digital transformation. Understandably, companies fear significant infrastructure investments. They may lack the qualified staff to drive the change, or there may be concerns about system downtime. In many cases, these fears are justified. Most technology integrators provide point solutions as opposed to a holistic approach.

Watch the CBTS tech talk: 3 critical goals for application modernization initiatives

CBTS Tech Talk – 3 critical goals for application modernization initiatives

APO: What is it, and why does it matter?

It’s not enough to upgrade or rewrite a client’s applications. The true value for our clients is streamlining operations by connecting and optimizing those modernized applications and platforms.

The CBTS approach—coined APO (applications, platforms, operations)—encompasses the spirit of our commitment to client success.

Applications that work for you

In today’s world, cloud-native apps are the key to a thriving business. The CBTS application development process helps you achieve:

  • Seamless, secure migration.
  • Continuous deployment of new features.
  • Future-proof scalability.
  • Improved availability.

Secure, scalable platforms

Through our various application modernization services, CBTS can take over or help manage existing environments—compute, network, or storage—through:

  • Managed services.
  • Public Cloud lift and shift.
  • On-premises private Cloud.
  • Infrastructure and hardware upgrades.

Optimized operations

Connecting employees to apps requires a coherent approach with security, networking, collaboration, and platform considerations. CBTS helps our clients accomplish optimized operations through:

  • Cyber security consulting, products, and services.
  • Network as a Service (NaaS) and SD-WAN.
  • Collaboration platform integration and customization, including Microsoft Teams and WebEx.
  • Hardware and infrastructure design and deployment.

Download the e-book: CIO’s Definitive Guide to Safely Migrating Applications to the Cloud

The CBTS approach to application modernization services

How does CBTS use APO to achieve exceptional results? This comprehensive strategy hinges on four pillars: a holistic approach, modern solutions, security, and interoperability.

Holistic approach

Gaining a competitive advantage requires a personalized mix of interconnected apps, platforms, and operations.

CBTS takes a holistic approach to navigating your transformation journey by:

  • Creating secure and scalable platforms.
  • Developing and deploying modernized apps.
  • Managing, monitoring, and optimizing your operations.

First, our project managers help our clients prioritize which legacy apps should be modernized with cloud-native development. Next, the team assesses and documents the current application environment to craft a customized roadmap outlining our clients’ complete transformation process.

Download the e-book: CIO Field Guide: Cloud Assessment Services

Modern solutions

A truly modern solution incorporates a mix of future-proof, agile technologies such as cloud-native development, DevOps, data lakes, containers, automation, and microservices. Adopting DevOps best practices improves collaboration between app development and IT operations teams while driving a culture of innovation and continuous process improvement.

Security

Moving apps to the Cloud does not always reduce risk or complexity if they are not appropriately designed and managed. Companies should be aware of the most common challenges associated with cloud security and how they can mitigate complications.

Security oversights. One of the biggest challenges is migrating safely. One wrong step and a company can put themselves and their customers at risk. Assess the challenges at the forefront and bake in security as you go. Common cloud security mistakes include unsecured storage containers, poorly set access rights, and open ports.

Legacy systems have outdated data security measures. Legacy systems have outdated data security measures and open companies up to security risks. Critical security updates can be risky to implement, often breaking older systems.  

Secure data
Customized applications made specifically for your business can reinforce your data security system. They are built to provide full compliance with all regulations, enable the protection of vulnerable data, and reduce the chances of intrusion.

Embed security at each stage of the process. Inspect the security of your legacy systems and fix issues immediately. Encrypt data and implement strong access/authorization measures.

Operations teams should have dedicated personnel who constantly analyze the threat landscape and implement security measures that minimize risks to the organization. Additionally, staying on the cutting edge of security technology is essential. CBTS managed security services include:

  • Vulnerability and patch management.
  • Security assessments.
  • Penetration testing.
  • AI-powered threat detection and response.

Also read: Q&A: Secure networking utilizing robust SD-WAN solutions

Interoperability

Application modernization is somewhat worthless if it creates communications incompatibility between your systems. The CBTS approach ensures interoperability between systems, software, and applications, allowing data sharing to produce data and analytics that drive business decisions.

Connecting the dots

The sum of application modernization services is greater than the whole. When clients step back from the individual pieces of APO, they see the power of the interconnected systems.

To enable long-term success, the CBTS strategy boasts:

  • Outcome-based assessments.
  • Continuous cloud-native application development.
  • A secure application migration roadmap.
  • Ongoing, optimized operations support.

Future-proof your business with CBTS

Modern customers demand intuitive, responsive applications with up-to-the-second updated information. A company’s platforms must be highly secure—following data governance and risk assessment protocols, policies, and procedures—and scalable on demand to optimize operations fully.

CBTS is well-suited to help our clients meet these challenges—developing and deploying modern applications and secure, scalable platforms; and the ongoing management, monitoring, and optimization of their operations. CBTS application modernization services take a holistic approach to navigating your app modernization journey.

Schedule a discovery session with our experts, followed by an assessment of your current application environment.


The methods and motivations behind cloud application modernization efforts

Most business leaders understand the importance of updating their IT infrastructure. Still, many are grappling with how best to approach cloud application modernization efforts. The secret may lie in the growing abundance of cloud-based applications and networking solutions.

The Cloud isn’t merely an improvement upon existing database technology; it’s an entirely distinct networking environment that demands a new approach from organizations that hope to capitalize on it. According to a recent IDG survey, nearly 90% of responding IT executives expect IT modernization to significantly impact long-term growth. Another 90% report that digital transformation has accelerated over the past 18 months. As cloud computing becomes even more commonplace among businesses of all sizes, modernization will become crucial for readying your enterprise to tap into the Cloud. This post will explore why businesses seek to modernize their applications through the Cloud and the methodology behind various types of modernization.

What is cloud application modernization?

Application modernization refers to migrating legacy applications to the Cloud through various methods. The Cloud is constantly evolving, encompassing “multi-cloud architectures” that function differently from traditional data centers. For this reason, applications designed on legacy networking hardware must adapt to coexist with “the new Cloud.”

Revolutionary developments are also occurring in the virtual layers that bridge hardware and software, creating “microservices” that are leading to a new frontier of application management, integration, and portability. This signals a genuine change to the nature of IT across multiple industries, from research and manufacturing to commercial enterprises.

On top of being deployed in new ways, applications are now playing very different roles in daily life as the Cloud plays a more significant part in the modern world. With information constantly streaming through cyberspace, legacy networking infrastructures are struggling to keep up with the intensifying demands of application support. The lesson is that while applications grow in complexity, so must the systems that allow them to function. These myriad factors are adding up to a global data environment that is more connected and efficient than ever before. Developers can launch into production easily and with little delay, thanks to containerized microservices that enable smooth transitions between computing environments. However, these advances are only possible when an enterprise embraces cloud-native development systems and infrastructure. Teams must take care to migrate to these systems without compromising regular business operations.

Key results from application modernization

Another set of takeaways from the IDG survey revolves around the results gained from utilizing cloud application modernization. IT leaders report improvements in:
  • Quality of service.
  • User experience and satisfaction.
  • Improved business continuity.
  • Cost-efficiency and savings.
  • Resource optimization.
  • Business agility.
  • Increased uptime.

These, among other benefits, are some of the core reasons businesses seek modernization strategies.

Why modernize?

Initially, some elements of the IT industry assumed that cloud computing would be limited to smoothing out workload traffic that would bog down legacy infrastructure and speed up program deployment. However, the common understanding of the Cloud’s capabilities has evolved, and savvy enterprise leaders should be aware of the Cloud’s utility in various applications, including e-commerce, networked devices, and more.

In the IDG survey of IT professionals, 65% of respondents place high importance on accelerating application development and modernization to enable innovation, with 32% ranking it as “somewhat important.”

However, many respondents also reported difficulty in their modernization efforts, specifically regarding protecting their data and managing security risks.

Learn more: Supporting secure business solutions on the Cloud

Approaches to cloud application modernization

There are multiple avenues for organizations to approach modernization. DevOps, an organizational transformation practice that involves close coordination of teams and adopting automation wherever possible, is the most common method. In a nutshell, DevOps is a set of practices that merges software development and IT operations. Other technologies driving cloud application modernization include:

Containerization

Containers are highly portable development environments. Applications can be moved to or developed in containers and later ported to their final home in the Cloud or multiple clouds. Highly scalable, these continuously running environments are a good choice when significant processing power is needed.

Microservices

One-off functions are customized to run only when needed when utilizing a “serverless” approach. Microservices are a vital component in automation and software orchestration.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Creating more intelligent applications and processes is one way for businesses to future-proofing their offerings. Powered by AI and ML, applications can address gaps in automation, marketing, and security, just to name a few. According to the IDG survey, nearly half of respondents (48%) say optimizing data and analytics capabilities (AI, ML, IoT) for innovation is the top enterprise IT goal in 2022.

Common challenges in implementation

The struggle to modernize and keep up with the ever-changing world of cloud computing has more than its share of difficulties. Companies surveyed by IDG indicated that putting into action the many crucial improvements necessary to keep pace presents a significant challenge:

  • 44% reported gaps in tech skills and knowledge
  • 39% said that infrastructure is not optimized to support digital dexterity
  • 39% reported inadequate data analysis for decision making

The types of cloud application modernization

There are several ways to go about cloud application modernization. Including:
  • Lift and shift/Rehosting: This strategy moves an existing application from a legacy environment into a newer infrastructure. It is a low code approach.
  • Refactoring: Companies rewrite or restructure legacy code to work better in a cloud-native environment. It is a high code approach.
  • Replatforming: The middle ground between the above approaches, replatforming updates legacy applications backend without tampering with the core code. It is a medium code approach.

Learn More: Importance and benefits of app modernization

Future-proof your business with cloud application modernization

With these challenges in mind, today’s enterprises need to be aware of their options regarding technology partners who can empower application modernization efforts. The CBTS Application Services team has a proven track record of working closely with clients in many different verticals to modernize their applications for cloud environments.

The CBTS methodology aligns your business plan to your technology plan, nurtures constant feedback on functionality, and guides you through a customized roadmap that outlines each process step. Our agile development process shortens time to market and creates maximum visibility while managing applications in a cloud-first environment. And our fully hosted service options unburden IT teams, creating time and resources for you to focus on innovation. 

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can enable your application modernization strategies.

Meeting marketplace needs through application modernization

The ongoing pandemic has put unprecedented stress on the global business landscape as more people than ever choose to stay home to work and shop. Many organizations have responded by accelerating their plans for digital transformation, launching new business models and products to remain competitive in today’s unstable climate. Because of the challenges faced when using older software to apply modern business strategies, company leaders must consider plans for application modernization.

woman working on computer modernizing application

This solution improves app development, capability, and downtime by adapting existing software to enable newer computing approaches, frameworks, and platforms. Examples include migrating legacy apps to microservices or physical servers to cloud computing.

This blog will illustrate the impact of modernization on businesses and what it means for organizations envisioning growth in a time of uncertainty.

Evolving alongside a rapidly changing digital landscape

In response to the changing needs of industries and workforces, many companies are turning to remote work operations and the required infrastructure to ensure business continuity and success.

The widespread need for online operations has spurred on existing plans for digital transformations. According to data from Global Surveys, companies are executing their digitization strategies an average of 20 to 25 times faster than thought possible before the pandemic. Additionally, forward-thinking organizations are also migrating to modern networks, allowing them to meet evolving customer needs. System modernization is critical to keep up with these increasingly complex applications.

Download the e-book: Benefits of Application Modernization

Application modernization is the vehicle taking many organizations on this digital journey. Business developments driving enterprises to modernize include:

  • Cloud-native applications: Running applications through the Cloud, the standardization of operating systems, and cloud-ready application remediation.
  • Containerization: Improves hardware use by enhancing portability, improving computing capabilities, and reducing dependency on the underlying infrastructure.
  • Application integration: Lightweight API-first architecture combining upstream and downstream systems.
  • DevOps/SecOps: Automated processes across development and operations that accelerate time to market.
  • Data insights and AI/ML: Builds more intelligent applications and real-time insights to achieve operational efficiency.
Common patterns for modernizing applications include::
  • Lift and shift: Also called rehosting, lift and shift takes an existing application and moves it from a legacy environment to a newer infrastructure. By harnessing this pattern, organizations move the application with little to no changes to underlying code. .
  • Refactoring: In application modernization terms, refactoring is another way of saying “rewriting” or “restructuring.” This approach entails retooling legacy application code to better run in a supportive cloud infrastructure environment. Rewriting code and restructuring the existing codebase allows developers to break up a monolithic application into easy-to-access microservices. Development teams can use microservices to maximize cloud-native systems and tools, including containers and container orchestration.
  • Replatforming: This pattern stands as a middle ground between the refactoring and lift-and-shift approaches. While replatforming doesn’t require major code changes, it does entail updates that enable legacy apps to utilize a modern cloud platform—for instance, modifying or replacing the application’s backend database.

Learn more: Modernizing applications for cloud migration

Key technologies to get you started

As successful business operations become more and more competitive, cutting-edge organizations must be responsive, resilient, and reliable. Application modernization breaks the rigid integration between hardware and software in favor of a more flexible infrastructure.

There are several intersecting technologies fundamental to modernizing your applications:

  • Cloud computing: When people discuss the modernization process, they’re usually referring to the migration of traditional applications to cloud environments. These include cloud platforms, private clouds, and hybrid clouds. For example, cloud-based data recovery solutions like Microsoft Azure provide companies with a cost-effective fail-safe for their primary data storage systems.
  • Containers: Containers are a cloud-centric method for packaging, deploying, and operating various workloads and applications. This technology revolutionizes how enterprises manage business-critical applications by providing greater scalability, portability, and operational efficiency. These elements are well-suited for cloud infrastructure—especially multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.
  • Microservices: Instead of building an application as a single codebase, IT can decouple several components into independent web standards. With microservices, there are thousands of disparate components supported in web servers and the Cloud. Each of the pieces can be deployed, updated, and operated independently of one another.
  • Orchestration and automation: Software orchestration is the automation of tasks associated with containers, including deployment, scaling, and networking. Meanwhile, automation is needed to ensure that development, operations, and security teams can sustainably manage modern apps at scale.

Read more: Serverless vs. containers: complementary or competing technologies?

Why do organizations need application modernization?

Most organizations have large investments in their existing application portfolio from both a financial and operational standpoint. Although “legacy” has negative connotations in software, these systems are often among the most mission-critical applications. Few businesses are willing to retire these apps because the cost of replacing them, productivity losses, and other issues are simply too great. Therefore, application modernization is the most sensible way for enterprises to employ new software platforms, tools, libraries, and frameworks.

Modernizing legacy apps enables organizations of all sizes to provide customers with a unique digital experience while reducing overall costs and increasing application reliability and resiliency. CBTS Application Services specializes in bringing outdated systems into the modern age with future growth in mind.

Watch Chad Stansel, Director of Application Development, discuss how CBTS can support organizations ready to move their applications to the Cloud.

Task CBTS with your digital transition strategy

The experts at CBTS Application Services build client-centered partnerships that enable best-in-class business solutions.

Niche skills sets are needed to keep up with the complex, rapidly changing tech landscape. CBTS engineers have the experience and the knowledge to help future-proof your business. Because we understand your architecture and tooling needs, CBTS provides transformational solutions for scalability, automation, and cloud-readiness.

CBTS fully managed solutions enable clients to offload the burdens of risk, monitoring, maintenance, and more. By setting your apps up for future success, your company is free to focus on critical business goals.

Contact CBTS today to learn more about how application modernization can transform your business operations.


Read more about application modernization from CBTS:

Next step in application infrastructure modernization

Leverage the application modernization process to stay competitive

CBTS Expands Microsoft services portfolio to drive digital modernization to the cloud

Leverage the application modernization process to stay competitive

To compete in the digital age, enterprises need to modernize their IT ecosystems for agility, efficiency, and an improved customer experience. The application modernization process is a key component of digital transformation for business success. To continue adding value to a given industry, enterprises should plan to begin the process of modernizing legacy apps with the help of cloud-native development and deployment services.

If you’re confused about where to start or what the process entails, you’re not alone. You don’t need to modernize everything or do it all at once. By modernizing gradually, you’ll better understand how the process works and how it will benefit your company.

While application modernization may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. CBTS Application Services specializes in ensuring you have the tools that will help you succeed and developing an implementation strategy specific to your business needs.

Six steps to get started with the application modernization process

1. Assess applications for cloud-readiness

Start by identifying applications that have the most business relevance and applications that will benefit from better performance. In general, these apps are between 5-7 years old. Your application modernization candidates will require a detailed assessment to determine how best to meet your business needs.

Applications can be analyzed manually or using automation. Look for opportunities to update business logic into cloud frameworks such as microservices, serverless computing, and cloud-native services to help you meet performance and scalability needs. You also need to identify hard-coded connections to other systems and services, as these will need to be updated to conform to cloud standards.

By modernizing applications, you will harness the full benefits of the Cloud for:
  • Agility: Allows businesses to stay responsive to customer needs.
  • Flexibility: Makes innovating and scaling systems simpler than ever.
  • Speed to market: Establishes a competitive advantage.
  • Automation: Achieves more efficient business operations.

Also read: Supporting secure business solutions on the cloud

2. Focus on the user experience

Focusing on user experience is a key step in leveraging the application modernization process. Great user experience will result in greater loyalty to your company.

User experience is top of mind for employers and business owners. Along with modernizing the technical aspects of applications, organizations also need to consider modernizing the user experience.

Today, we expect efficient and reliable digital experiences that deliver what we want, when we want it. Cloud-native applications are not only more reliable, but they are often more cost-effective.

You may find it helpful to gather user data and input so you can modernize with improved user experience in mind. Not only will it result in a superior product, demonstrating that their experience matters will result in greater loyalty to your company.

3. Validate your work with a proof of concept

Before building out a fully modernized solution, it’s good to check your work to ensure you’re getting the expected results. Do this with a proof of concept (PoC) early in the application modernization process.

A PoC lets you start with a minimalist approach that’s quick and cost effective. Furthermore, it will help you validate technical decisions, demonstrate functionality to stakeholders, and prove the modernized application is delivering the intended value. You only need to test the features and functionality needed to make a decision to move forward with application modernization, and you only need to build out the infrastructure needed to run the PoC.

4. Define the minimum viable product

Modern application development is an iterative process of continuous improvement and enhancement. To take advantage of the benefits of iterative development, define a minimum viable product (MVP), which is the simplest version of your application that will provide value to the company and users. With user feedback, you can revise the MVP to perfect the application. Then, you can iteratively add features and functionality to enhance and extend the usefulness and profitability of the application.

By spending less time building, you can release your MVP into the market sooner, which results in early user feedback, more revenue, and maybe even more market share.

Also read: The methods and motivations behind application modernization efforts

5. Build or optimize cloud infrastructure

You’ll need to modify your existing infrastructure to support the application modernization process. Start by defining the development environment. Then, build out the test and production environments as development matures. When possible, use infrastructure as code to define the infrastructure. This will enable you to automate provisioning, saving your developers quality time for development work.

6. Automate as much as possible

Automation is a key part of application modernization. By automating applications, systems, and processes, companies can sustainably manage modernized applications at scale.

Employ automation wherever possible. Automate testing to ensure that modernized features are the same as before modernization, including application features, configuration, and infrastructure. If containers are part of your modernization strategy, consider automating tasks such as container deployment, scaling, and networking. And don’t forget to automate provisioning and backup.

Read more: Revamp your business with the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

Conclusion: Modernize your applications to gain a competitive edge

Modernizing applications creates new opportunities to streamline software development and implement continuous improvement throughout an application’s lifecycle, giving organizations the ability to respond to changes quickly.

You can speed up your time to success by drawing on outside expertise—a partner that has worked through and solved nearly every common misstep associated with application modernization.

By enlisting CBTS to guide you through the application modernization process, you can ensure technology isn’t holding you back from business success. CBTS has a proven track record for aligning business objectives with the right cloud technologies and can provide expert advice on which applications are the best candidates for modernization and migration to the Cloud.

For more information on how CBTS can assist your organization at critical points in the application modernization journey, contact us today.

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Building the best Microsoft Teams adoption strategy for your company

Organizations are adopting Microsoft Teams strategies to make collaborative processes more productive and efficient. Business connections are critical in today’s remote work era, making Microsoft Teams the ideal digital teamwork tool.

Microsoft Teams implementation can come with some difficulties. Read key Microsoft Teams adoption strategies to ensure adoption by end-users and leadership.

Microsoft Teams is a modern communications hub enabling channel- and team-based threaded conversations, along with support for live and streamed events, external application integration, file-sharing, and real-time networking. All are accomplished through a single user interface that operates consistently across devices.

However, as with any digital collaboration technology, implementation can come with some difficulties. For starters, enterprise leadership and IT personnel must develop a plan to ensure end-user buy-in and adopt security practices specific to Teams. This blog will explore key Microsoft Teams adoption strategies and how your company can best utilize this technology to its advantage in the changing communications landscape.

A host of business-critical features

Microsoft Teams is a persistent chat-based platform complete with document sharing, online meetings, and other essential communication features. Shared workspace software makes remote teamwork easy, especially for large companies with groups of remote employees.

Companies adopting strategies around Microsoft Teams can harness features including:

  • Teams and channels: Teams consist of people, content, and tools organized around different projects and objectives, open to anyone within the organization or made private to invited users. Channels are dedicated threads within a team created for specific subjects, disciplines, or project functions, with file-sharing and storage capabilities utilizing SharePoint.
  • Chat and channel messaging: Instantly communicate among teams, groups, and individuals with customized features and roles defined by the organization’s global or multiple messaging policies.
  • SharePoint document storage: Every Microsoft Teams member has access to SharePoint Online, where files specific to conversations are shared and stored.
  • Online meetings: Host groups of up to 10,000 users for department and project updates, training sessions, or even regional or company-wide meetings, with built-in scheduling aids, a note-taking app, and in-meeting chat messaging.
  • Power Apps Integration: This highly intuitive, low-code application development platform allows individuals to solve business problems with visual tools that don’t require code. When integrated with Microsoft Teams, it can be used for everything from customizing SharePoint forms to building end-to-end solutions that can reduce time-to-market, rapidly streamline processes, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance worker productivity.

Read more: The widespread benefits of Microsoft Teams

Companies adopting Microsoft Team strategies are challenged by:
  1. Sprawl: Any user can create a team and—without active supervision—the environment can become confusing. Additionally, teams that cluster storage space can remove silos and blur lines of demarcation between internal groups.
  2. Guest access: While inviting guest users to Teams can help employees make decisions, granting access to your enterprise’s internal documents has its pitfalls. The challenge here is collaborating with clients and partners without oversharing or compromising crucial data.
  3. File management: With information uploaded and shared in private chats and Microsoft Teams channels, it can be tricky to manage files effectively. Users may have to move files manually to the correct location, wasting time and potentially clogging up your document library with hundreds or thousands of files.

Solving common challenges in Microsoft Teams

Although Microsoft Teams adopters often face hurdles while developing their implementation strategy, these obstacles can be overcome with thoughtful planning.

For example, organizations can minimize teams sprawl by:

  • Preparing an adoption strategy: Before implementing Microsoft Teams, your IT staff will need to establish governance to guide the management of users’ access and data security in compliance with your business standards. With input from executives and department leads, establishing governance involves preparing use cases to set policies and organizing ongoing communications and training plans after deployment.
  • Crafting clear messaging: One of the primary reasons for teams sprawl is impatience. Before Microsoft Teams deployment, organizations must communicate to staff the difference between teams and channels, channel conversations versus chat messages, and common use cases. 
  • Guest access solutions include:
  • Admin center implementation: As a Global Administrator or Teams Administrator in the Microsoft Teams admin center, you can grant guests minimum privileges for their projects without exposing data or communications outside of project scope. For instance, if an executive is concerned about possible information leaks during a video meeting, the admin can disable the Microsoft Teams screen sharing capability.
  • Sensitivity labels:  During the team creation process, team leads can set up sensitivity labels that mark delicate data as “confidential.”

Organizations in need of better file management can:

  • Upload files to folders: Use the Files tab of your respective channel to create required folders. You can then copy shared links and paste them into private chat or channel conversations. This method will keep your Document library organized and avoid file loss or duplication.

Read more: How to train your organization to use Microsoft Teams

Accessing certified experts during integration

To guide Microsoft Teams integration, enterprises often need to augment their IT organizations with experts who have day-to-day experience with essential Microsoft Teams adoption strategies. CBTS, as a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner, has a large pool of experts who can assist IT teams with the challenges encountered during an integration, as well as provide 24×7 monitoring and support afterwards. 

Download the e-book: Build a modern workplace with Microsoft Teams and Power Apps 

Future thinking is critical

Microsoft Teams is a robust collaboration environment that will continue to grow as remote work expands. Your business has unique processes and technology needs, making planning ahead critical.  With decades of experience in delivering communications services, CBTS experts can help you leverage Microsoft Teams to meet your unique needs and prepare your business for the future of remote collaboration and hybrid work.

To learn more, watch our LinkedIn Live Tech Talk with expert engineers Justin Rice and Jon Lloyd. They answer the question, “Are you prepared for the revolution in tech communications?”

Contact CBTS for more information on adopting Microsoft Teams in your organizational strategy.

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Microsoft 365 Business Voice: Always Stay Connected


Top 5 issues facing today’s enterprises

It’s never easy for enterprises to keep pace with the latest technologies — but the rise of the digital workplace often gives them no choice.

It’s all about bring-your-own-device and chasing the latest cloud collaboration tools — all the while dealing with shrinking IT budgets and “do-more-with-less” demands from the corporate suite. These issues come to a head for companies that merge or experience rapid growth:

  • Executives must find common ground in competing styles and philosophies within a short time frame.
  • Large data sets need to be migrated into a unified platform and then mined for intelligence to drive innovation and increased revenue.
  • Multiple teams must work together to consolidate processes and data systems.
  • Leaders must choose optimum digital workplace tools to elevate employee experiences.

Successful enterprises hope to boost collaboration, document tracking, and remote and mobile accessibility while optimizing the efficiency of their IT infrastructure. If it works right, they get lower TCO and more engaged employees who are happier and increasingly productive.

A lot of organizations answer these demands with a blended solution that gives workers powerful tools for sharing files and collaborating with colleagues and suppliers around the world.

To pull everything together successfully, companies must work out five fundamental issues:

1. Reconciling employee/IT conflicts

Employees chafe against workplace technology that bogs down their collaborations with co-workers, vendors, managers, and everybody else. IT professionals chafe against constant pressure to accept new technologies that seem to arrive every week.

There’s a tendency in enterprises to assume these conflicts are the natural state of things — with each side insisting the other is oblivious to their needs. This divide is unnecessary: There are plenty of tools to streamline the productivity of today’s digital workforce without compromising the legitimate security, compliance, and governance concerns of the IT department.

Indeed, Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint have deep, rich toolsets that can help reconcile the demands of mobile workers and IT people responsible for keeping cybercriminals out of corporate networks. These tools can be integrated with powerful CRM and ERP software to help companies realize their visions of digital transformation.

All this can be accomplished while fulfilling regulatory and security requirements. And it can work on any infrastructure — cloud, on-premise, or hybrid.

Many of the most powerful capabilities of SharePoint and other enterprise apps are buried deep within the feature set and unknown to all but an elite cadre of power users and system integrators. That’s why enterprises adapting to the digital workplace often prefer to work with a seasoned partner who knows how to look at a company’s business challenges and IT infrastructure and tailor a custom solution.

2. Streamlining document management

Enterprises need robust document management systems that can inventory documents, eliminate duplication, and make everything searchable. Otherwise, workers waste time tracking down files they need or needlessly creating documents that already exist.

Fortunately, SharePoint has everything enterprises need to build sophisticated content management systems that are well organized, indexed, searchable, and fully capable of meeting the collaboration needs of today’s workforce.

As a Microsoft Partner and a veteran of more than 200 SharePoint integrations, OnX, a CBTS company, has the kind of expert-level knowledge and experience companies need to design and build a custom content management system that gives workers quick, easy access to the files they need to get their work done.

3. Empowering remote and mobile workers

Remote and mobile workers need access to more than documents. They must be able to use and approve schedules, forms, and applications on any device in any location with an internet connection.

Increasingly, companies see that allowing remote work and empowering mobile workers is good for recruiting, retention, morale, and productivity. And they acknowledge that encouraging employee productivity can ease the pressure to control costs.

But they may not have the tools in place to embrace these realities. One fix is to develop a project portfolio management (PPM) system that helps manage digital workers effectively, encourage collaboration, and enhance productivity. Microsoft Services have great tools for building an enterprise PPM system, but again, companies often need help designing, configuring, and implementing these systems.

4. Embracing the consumerization of IT

Mobile workers want to bring their favorite devices and apps with them everywhere — and they expect their employers to adapt. If they prefer iOS over Android or a tablet to a smartphone, it’s the IT department’s job to adapt.

This underscores why the consumerization of IT has become so pivotal for enterprises. It’s no longer an option to impose old-school enterprise applications on the digital workforce. People who get fed up with one company’s balky technologies will be easy prey for more adaptive competitors.

Fortunately, the rise of software-as-a-service and cloud consumption is making it easier for companies to be a leader in the workplace and market as a whole. Enterprises need to work with agile, adaptive cloud technologies and make sure their in-house networks have enough capacity to handle the traffic of mobile-ready users, especially with the rise of bandwidth-heavy video services.

5. Simplifying identity management

The complexities of logging into corporate networks annoy mobile and remote workers to no end. Most people prefer a strong identity-management program that enables a single sign-on for all their devices.

Microsoft Azure’s Active Directory technology includes single-sign-on in its identity management suite. Most enterprises worldwide already use Active Directory, so it’s not a huge challenge to implement some of its more advanced features. It’s just a matter of having an experienced partner to help implement it on your systems.

A partner for today’s digital workplace

We address these kinds of challenges every day. As a premier North American technology integrator and a veteran Microsoft partner, CBTS has the people and the tools enterprises need to evolve with each generation of new workers and technologies.

We have the certified Office 365 and SharePoint IT consultants you need to develop robust, secure architectures, design easy-to-use interfaces, and implement solutions that do just what your people need. And you can focus on your key business goals and keep your IT people doing what they do best.

 

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