How the coronavirus pandemic is impacting Microsoft partners and ISVs

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Since it appeared in Wuhan, China, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has dominated headlines as cases have expanded across the globe. In recent weeks, the outbreak worsened outside of China with growing numbers of cases in Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Germany, the US, UK and other countries.

With continued uncertainty about the virus’s impact and progression, organizations around the world have taken measures to reduce in-person gatherings. Among them, a growing number of technology and professional service firms have announced a switch to fully remote operations for their workers.

With so many dramatic changes, how are Microsoft partners and ISVs coping and helping other industries to adapt? MSDW reached out to professionals to get their perspectives on the impact of coronavirus on the IT services industry.

Microsoft’s response

On March 5, even before the spate of travel restrictions and school closures, Microsoft 365 corporate vice president Jared Spataro issued a blog about what the company is doing to support its customers during the pandemic. Drawing on the experience of the Microsoft team in Shanghai, all company employees in the Seattle area were advised to work from home and rely on Teams for collaboration. He reminded customers that Teams is already a part of the package for all those licensed for Office 365 and included links to sign up for a freemium version of the service with other school, work or Gmail accounts.

For businesses that aren’t currently licensed for Teams, Microsoft is providing Office 365 E1 for six months or the A1 version for schools and universities. By adopting an active/active design, setting up fault isolation and reducing the scope of incidents, Microsoft hopes to keep Teams up and running even during sudden surges of demand or cases where sickness might reduce the effectiveness of its operational teams.

A Crisis Communication Power Platform Template is available based on a rapid response app originally developed by Schlumberger, which combines Power Automates, Teams, SharePoint and Power Apps. It includes key features, such as the ability for employees to make requests and report their work status, options to provide emergency contacts and push notifications or RSS feeds to authorities such as the WHO and CDC.

According to a Microsoft statement:

As part of this effort, we are also giving all Power Apps users temporary access to a premium feature, Power Apps Push Notifications, so you won’t need any premium licenses to use Power Apps to push information to users. We have reclassified Push Notifications as a standard connector for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

Making the remote work transition

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