Skip to main content
Microsoft Inspire
July 18, 2023

Is your IT team making trade-offs to support the new world of flexible work?

In the last few years, we’ve witnessed a significant shift in how IT decision makers support their organizations. With the rapid acceleration of distributed workforces, companies are dealing with a matrix of vendors and point solutions born out of necessity. But the need to improve security, provide employees with flexibility in device choice while keeping them productive, and get employees up and running more quickly to accelerate time to value is driving vendor consolidation with the goal of reducing costs and complexity.

Companies looking for integrated, flexible work solutions don’t need to make trade-offs: the right solution brings value to employees by giving them choice without sacrificing security and productivity. And IT teams can find value by focusing less on device management and more on strategic responsibilities that have been proven to boost employee satisfaction.

Chart showing how when IT is used strategically, NPS in enhanced
Gartner Inc., Gartner Digital Workplace Summit Presentation, “Four Viewpoints the Workplace Leader Must Take to Guarantee a Successful Future”, Stuart Downes, June 12-13, 2023. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

The new world: Flexible work without compromise

Today at Microsoft Inspire, we shared how companies and their IT leaders are adapting to the new world of flexible work while keeping devices secure, employees productive and IT efficiencies trending upward. We showcased how this demand is resulting in companies seeking the support of Microsoft and our partners in areas where they need additional expertise — including shifting their device management to the cloud and leveraging AI to improve workforce productivity.

Windows at Microsoft Inspire on-demand session: Hear how organizations like Krones and Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust dealt with the acceleration to more flexible work, becoming truly innovative in how they supported their employees and provided IT value.

One significant “leap forward” is Windows 365, which is designed to help companies better meet the needs of their flexible workforce. With the general availability of Windows 365 Frontline, companies can now extend the power of Windows in the cloud to shift and part-time workers. Secure by design and easy to deploy and manage, Windows 365 Frontline enables new ways to work, without compromising security, productivity or IT resources.

Frontline Cloud PC user interface, along with text headed "Get right to your work and leave when you're done"

“Remote work is today a key component in our work culture. We see high potential in Windows 365 as a service in our organization for our frontline workers. The recently announced licensing options for Windows 365 frontline workers is also a welcome addition which helps us to drive these services more cost efficiently for our organization.”

Roman Kleyn, head of Workplace Design at Krones (Customer Story)

Three steps to increase security, flexibility and improve time to value

At Microsoft Inspire, we highlighted three steps to help in this shift of empowering employees no matter where they work, and doing so while ensuring device and data protection through increased security without overwhelming IT.

Build a security foundation: With the increase in frequency and severity of cyberattacks that are stemming from the rise of flexible work, security is top of mind for all companies. Windows 11 Enterprise was designed from the start to be the most secure Windows operating system yet. Windows Autopatch helps enterprise subscribers secure endpoints by automating monthly quality updates. Digital workforces stay secure and productive with Windows 11 PCs, or in the cloud with Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop. And with Microsoft Intune, apps and endpoints stay protected against ever-evolving cybersecurity threats. Intune Enterprise App Management keeps users up to date for evergreen app security, while Endpoint Privilege Management empowers IT to control the elevation of Windows standard users, providing the right privileges at the right time.

Shift to the cloud: Companies require streamlined solutions purpose-built for how we work now and capable of powering productive experiences on any device, and optimized to simplify IT management. Since its launch two years ago, Windows 365 has delivered new ways for companies to meet the needs of their flexible workforce, providing a personal, secure and persistent Cloud PC experience to ALL employees. Frontline, shift and part-time workers don’t need 24/7 access to their personal Cloud PC the way full-time employees do. With Windows 365 Frontline, companies get the right number of Cloud PCs for the number of ACTIVE users they have at any given time. And with Windows 365 Boot, presently in preview, it’s even easier for these workers to log onto their Cloud PCs and switch seamlessly with the physical desktop experience. So, whether a healthcare, retail or call center worker, they can move between physical and the cloud, picking up right where they left off.

Improve efficiencies: Companies need to get their full-time and temporary workforces up and running more quickly to maintain business continuity within changing environments, making accelerated time to value critical to their success. With Windows 11 Enterprise and Intune, IT complexity and costs are reduced thanks to the familiar IT provisioning and management tools you use today with Windows 10. With device deployment time now measured in minutes and hours, not days, companies can improve efficiency, taking advantage of Intune and their endpoint management skills and tools.  Windows Autopatch can cut in half the effort needed to safely deploy updates and report on compliance, freeing up IT admins to do more and helping employees by reducing update-related disruptions. Customer feedback has driven continuous improvements that now include customizations, driver updates and upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

An integrated solution that supports secure, flexible workforce productivity

Microsoft’s end-user computing solutions cover all the elements required for secure, flexible work. We offer an integrated experience designed to work as one, providing device choice, a familiar Windows experience, Intune to secure and manage any endpoint, and Microsoft 365 Enterprise apps for access to rich collaborative apps that keep employees productive and connected. We also meet customers’ sustainability needs with features like carbon-aware updates for Windows 11 Enterprise and improved energy efficiency over on-prem solutions. And Windows 11 Enterprise delivers accessibility enhancements that benefit everyone.

Block diagram showing how Windows 11 is built for secure, flexible work, working seamlessly with Microsoft Cloud services

Partners expand customer knowledge with the Microsoft Cloud and AI support

Companies are turning to Microsoft and our partners to help meet increasing demand for more secure, flexible work. In the past year, Microsoft partners have helped:

  • over 90% of the Fortune 500 to trial and deploy Windows 11 Enterprise to help their employees do their best work while keeping content and apps safe with the most secure operating system we’ve ever built
  • deliver more flexible cloud computing solutions to over 60% of Fortune 500 companies and increase Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop deployment by two-thirds Year over Year.

Companies are seeking Microsoft partners to support them in shifting their device management to the cloud and leveraging AI to improve workforce and IT productivity. As we enter the era of AI, our partners will have even more critical roles to play. Just this past May we announced Windows Copilot making Windows 11 the first PC platform to announce centralized AI assistance.  We see it taking workforce productivity to a whole new level.

Windows Copilot user interface

Our partners have embraced AI and are already driving Copilot readiness with Microsoft 365. Copilot will deliver tremendous growth and create new opportunities for partners well into the future.

“We see AI as a big step forward and a new level to enable us to be even more efficient and deliver new technologies that help us achieve unbelievable use cases. We see partners as a key to not only enable technology adoption but also help us with use cases to take everyone in the organization on this new, exciting journey.”

– Roman Kleyn, head of Workplace Design at Krones (Customer Story)

Companies support more flexible work to remain innovative

The acceleration to support more flexible work was born out of necessity but today it is paying dividends to companies that embrace it. Employees get the flexibility they desire and the device choices they value. While at the same time organizations stay secure, without overwhelming IT or managing complexities that lead to increased costs.

“Intune and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint constantly have updates with new policies or controls we can utilize quickly. Plus, the new solutions rolling out in the Intune Suite will help us consolidate our endpoint management and security solutions, saving costs, making our lives easier and keeping the hospital data secure.”    

Ibrar Mahmood, IT cyber security manager at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Customer Story)

Tune into Windows at Inspire on-demand session to hear how companies are maximizing their IT investments and empowering employees through flexible work. Get the latest updates on Windows 11, Windows 365, Intune and Azure Virtual Desktop.