Microsoft Teams: The Evolution of Collaboration

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2018
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By Michaela Nankin
Microsoft Cloud Business Specialist


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In today’s modern workplace and diverse workforce, it’s important for organisations to provide a flexible way for their people to work. On the Microsoft team at Softcat, we help organisations get that flexibility and security to power a modern way of working with solutions like Teams.

Skype for Business is now part of Teams

With the migration of Skype for Business into Teams and the recent announcement that Microsoft is releasing this free for up to 300 users, many organisations are now looking to this platform and single pane of glass as their collaboration and communication solution. But how does Teams impact various areas of an organisation? In this article I look at where and why the product has been successful with customers and its genuine ability to address and solve key business and collaboration problems.

When I meet with different stakeholders of an organisation their requirements and drivers may sound different, even conflicting, but the output they want is the same: happy and engaged people who are working as efficiently as possible to either drive revenue or efficiencies.

One organisation I worked with said their sales teams felt that too much of their time was being taken up with non-selling activities. In fact, when they looked at the numbers, less than half of their time was spent selling. Though you’ll never be able to remove all administrative tasks, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for teams to achieve their goals whether it’s directly impacting their target or not. Microsoft Teams allows you to cut through the noise of information, allowing your users to easily decipher what is and isn’t important. It does this through specific ‘channels’ to organise content. Teams also now has a command box; using words like ‘Who’, ‘Call’ and ‘mentions’ followed by the query allows your users to be more efficient when navigating Teams to get vital information.

How can Teams improve HR recruitment and retention?

Another business concern that Teams address revolves around HR recruitment and retention. With a growing Millennial and Gen Z workforce customers now more than ever need to find ways of attracting young talent. HR needs to consider the growing mobile workforce and how the organisations choice of technology will facilitate them. The functionality of Teams is so diverse that you could spend most of your digital day in that workspace. With Skype for Business online capabilities being rolled into Teams, HR can save money by conducting virtual interviews where video capabilities are key as much of communication is non-verbal. Additionally, to attract and retain talent it’s important to engage them in a way that’s effective, efficient, and secure. By using Broadcast Meeting to disseminate information to all your users at one time via video, organisations can reach 1000s of employees at any one time.

Another issue that often comes up when I meet with our customers is how to keep disparate teams feeling engaged even though they may be located across different sites, work remotely or travel a lot. Digital social interaction is key to building and retaining that ‘team’ culture. Whilst meeting face to face is hard to replace, Teams facilitates a conversational digital engagement with persistent chat that evolves organically and helps keep all employees connected.

The latest additions to Teams

Finally, as announced at the Ignite conference this year, Microsoft are ‘extending the power of Teams with new experiences tailored to industry-specific and role-based workflows.’ There will be new scheduling features and management tools to allow Frontline Workers to request time off, swap shifts and view important announcements. This will be pivotal in keeping the Firstline Workforce moving and engaged.

Teams gives organisations the ability to work together through instant messaging, co-authoring, video calls and broadcast, where traditionally an organisation would use lots of tools and technologies often operating in siloes. Different departments deploying all sorts of unmonitored technology to meet their needs is not only expensive but may put an organisation at data leakage risk. Teams brings all these functions together in one secure and safe solution, giving you employee engagement, improved talent acquisition and even cost savings through one collaboration tool.  

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