By Michael Coyle
The buzz around Microsoft Teams has been growing for a while in the IT industry – as remote and flexible working becomes more important to customers.
It’s a product that can save companies lots of time – once they understand how it can be used. And once firmly adopted, it can drive significant cultural change in how they currently operate.
Consider an end-user client of ours who holds a meeting in their City centre boardroom every Monday morning – a meeting that all of their key people are obliged to attend in person.
When I explained that they could save a lot of time, hassle, and travel pressure simply by holding this meeting via Teams – and record it so that anyone who missed it could catch up – they scratched their heads. While it was very different to how they currently operate, they could see there were clear benefits.
Built into Office 365 and Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams is a hub for teamwork: one that combines chat, video, calling, and collaboration in one place. It brings together multiple functionalities, including Skype for Business and Sharepoint, to create an ever-improving environment for people to work together wherever they are.
As more staff work remotely or at home, our end-user customers see an opportunity to reduce office space and introduce hotdesking – saving money while improving the lives of their staff.
It’s already driving a shift in how companies are able to treat their workforce. Businesses that are keen to retain staff can now offer them a better work-life balance. If people want to work from home more frequently, the technology is now there to support that.
For example: an executive with a key employee coming back from maternity leave was able to ensure that she could work at home two days a week and happily resettle back into the business.
In a similar way, sales people often use Friday as their “office” day to catch up with admin tasks. With Teams, this can now be done at home using either their PC or mobile.
We also see recruitment firms using Teams to meet people for introductory assessments – an ideal alternative to time-costly face-to-face meetings.
When we go through the features of Teams, end-user clients are impressed with where Microsoft is taking the product. Real-time transcription during presentations is excellent. The ability to jump ahead to your own slides during a presentation is good.
Microsoft 365 Business Voice now brings full end-to-end business calling. Teams sharing information through chat or shared documents are impressed. And it is all in one application.
Our advice to Managed Service Providers is always to “get ahead of Teams before Teams gets ahead of you”. It becomes so popular and prevalent within a company that security and training for staff is important. And as this is a cloud service, it will continue to improve as Microsoft builds more into it in the coming years.
With Teams, it seems Microsoft is truly committed to enabling people to communicate and collaborate much better across their organisations.
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