With an unprecedented growth in demand for its cloud-based services as more people work from home in response to COVID-19, Microsoft has made some adjustments to ensure its services remain available.
In mid-March, the company already took the step of reducing the load caused by some non-essential features, such as lowering the resolution in video chats and reducing update frequencies for checks like user presence and activity.
The recent changes relate to the OneNote, Stream, and SharePoint components of Office 365. The latter two have had their video resolutions lowered, and some backend operations of SharePoint are being rescheduled to off-peak hours for the relevant region. This may cause some delays in file management after uploading a file according to the company. Editing in OneNote will also be limited to the online version for most customers.
When one user asked on about an inability to work on OneNote through a Teams browser session, an Office 365 customer service representative replied:
“We've made some temporary service changes to prioritize core service functionality. These changes are described in MC207439, which is available to service admins. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.”
In addition to existing Office 365 customers working more from home in recent weeks, the subscription-based service appears to be experiencing a large influx of new users. For example, the Microsoft Teams enterprise subscription service has seen the number of active users each day jump by a third to reach 44 million in just a week. At the start of March, the company made its Teams service free for six months to help organisations transition to homeworking models.
The company says in its announcement that it is monitoring its Office 365 services closely and may make further adjustments to reduce their load if needed to preserve the user experience.
In a blog post, Microsoft conveyed its position on meeting the growing demand:
“As demand continues to grow, if we are faced with any capacity constraints in any region during this time, we have established clear criteria for the priority of new cloud capacity. Top priority will be going to first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organizational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running with the core functionality of Teams. We will also consider adjusting free offers, as necessary, to ensure support of existing customers.”
Before the coronavirus outbreak, Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 service was already very popular thanks to its numerous benefits, such as being able to work from anywhere and easily collaborate with co-workers in a different location. If you have not already migrated to Office 365, you may want to consider making the move when the current crisis passes.
At Pro-Networks, we can ensure a pain-free migration as part of our Office IT support services, so you can quickly start enjoying the benefits of a modern, cloud-based productivity suite that can be tailored to your budget and requirements.