In a virtual press briefing tied to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and corporate vice president Jared Spataro discussed the impact of COVID-19 on their company and the broader world of work.
“COVID-19 is impacting everyone around the world, in every aspect of our daily lives,” Nadella said. “How we work, our social interactions, our family lives, as well as life in our communities. Our top priority right now is public health, including … the health and safety of our employees around the world. And we’re also mobilizing to address the broader societal impact as well as the economic impact of the virus.”
But thanks to its technology solutions, Microsoft is also positioned to help those who are mobilizing to diminish the impact of COVID-19, he said. Healthcare workers, of course, but also educational institutions that need to turn to virtual learning, and businesses of all kinds that suddenly face the need to allow employees to work remotely.
Mr. Nadella was joined in the virtual press briefing by Jared Spataro, who heads the software giant’s Microsoft 365 business and is thus “on the front lines of this,” in Nadella’s words. Mr. Spataro said that customers have been asking questions about how they can work remotely and how they can quickly mobilize their workforces.
“We have seen, and our customers have seen, that with Teams they’re still connecting, they’re still making a human connection, and still getting work done,” he said. “Teams is the tool that allows them to do that.”
He cited some interesting examples, including a professor from the University of Bologna in Italy whose school pushed 90 percent of its coursework online using Microsoft Teams in just over three days. And doctors from St. Luke’s Health Network in Pennsylvania, which is using Teams for video conferencing with its most vulnerable patients. “It’s a way to protect both the patients and the healthcare providers,” he said.
Naturally, Microsoft is using Teams internally too. But with much of the firm’s local workforce now working remotely—Spataro said that Microsoft “sent 50,000 employees in the Puget Sound area home”–that usage has increased dramatically.
“We’re using Teams [at Microsoft] every day,” Nadella said, “and it’s how I stay connected. It’s so easy to collaborate, stay focused on the documents you’re collaborating on, conduct calls and meetings. I’ve been living, pretty much, the past couple of weeks on Teams … It’s an amazing boon in a time like this.”
Nadella and Spataro spoke of the fundamental structural changes that COVID-19 would have on business going forward. Spataro called the COVID-19 pandemic an inflection point, noting that we would collectively look back on this time and remember that this is when it all changed. “We are never going to go back to working the way that we did,” he said.
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