Digital Collaboration Has Arrived with Microsoft Teams

Digital Collaboration Has Arrived with Microsoft Teams

Technology has raced so far, so fast, that at many enterprises today, employees are struggling to stay afloat. They are able to collaborate with peers and teams across the globe, but most serve as a "human interface" to technology.

What does this look like in real life for you and your teams?

You arrive at work ready for a busy day of meetings with teams and clients and project work. You log in and begin work on Office 365, but then you break for a call. During the day you'll use Zoom, WebEx, and GoToMeeting to talk to customers, vendors, and business partners and start chat sessions and calls with your team using Skype for Business.

You use a variety of project management tools, such as Planner, Wrike, and Asana, depending on which project you're working on, relying on OneDrive, ShareFile, and Dropbox to securely share information. You collaborate via Outlook, OneNote, Google Docs, and Word to get input and feedback and chat on Yammer, text, and Slack.

Sounds exhausting, right? In addition to switching tools constantly, you must learn new solutions as they are deployed; search for information that is buried in different tools and emails, which may be out-of-date; and run calendar drills, rather than collaborating in real-time. Your work productivity suffers, and security risks grow as information is shared and stored in insecure ways.

It's clear that the explosion of tools is creating great capabilities, but it is also contributing to a significantly disjointed and challenging user experience at companies today.

Collaboration Fatigue Deepens with Too Many Tools

How many collaboration services does your company use? If you're like most, the answer is 95. In addition to making work more complex, it can create business and security risks because 81% aren't enterprise-ready. Source: Netskope Cloud Report 2018.

Let Microsoft Teams Provide a Simpler Way to Collaborate

If you've thought, "There has to be a better way," there is. Microsoft is helping solve the thorny challenge of "Too many tools: Too little time," with its newest offering, Microsoft Teams, a centralized hub for collaboration and communications.

Teams provides a single interface for all the Microsoft productivity and collaboration solutions you'd expect like Outlook, Office Apps, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Yammer, Planner, OneNote, OneDrive, and PowerBI, but it also enables easy integration of third-party apps. Want to add another file sharing option or a specialty app for your finance team? Consider it done.

So what does this mean for the way you and your team works?

Consolidating Digital Collaboration

Digital collaboration - Your company can set up Teams sites that provide you with easy access to all the colleagues, tools, and information you need to get work done. Instead of switching tasks and channels to communicate and collaborate with their teams, you can do project work within a single interface.

Imagine you're working on a demanding project that involves constant collaboration among your team. Since you can see who's online and review their calendars, scheduling meetings, even on the fly, is easy. You can reach out and chat to get instant feedback from a team member, and that chat is available in other formats for future review. You can start work in one channel and easily continue it in another format.

It's easy to ideate and whiteboard in online meetings. Since information is in a central repository, you can seamlessly enable access and work on files at the same time, capturing insights and accelerating work processes. You also avoid "shadow IT" issues where information is siloed and outside of IT's ability to manage.

Collaborating in real-time could shave minutes off daily meetings and add hours to your team's work week. What could that mean to your business?

Imagine that you are in a race with a competitor to develop and launch a similar product. You have Teams: Your competitor doesn't. By working more efficiently, you can edge ahead and get to market first. Speed to market also matters with strategy development, customer communication, and mergers and acquisitions to name just a few important responsibilities.

Ending Death by Email

Digital communication - Today, employees get drowned by emails. One study finds that the average worker receives 90 emails and sends 40 emails each business day. Many of these emails are "information only," where employees are often copied on emails that provide negligible value, but increase work stress.

In addition, email is an asynchronous, one-way data dump, and employees often spend time searching Outlook for documents, material reviews, and other input.

With Teams, communication becomes more modern: It's real-time, contextual, and targeted to only those who "need to know." You can alert project members who need to contribute to a review, versus emailing the whole group. You can loop in new contributors at any time. And you can report out to the larger group only when appropriate.

Teams also provides information management, allowing users to dial up or dial down activity. For example, an employee could set alerts on strategic and time-sensitive work and dial back communications on less important work.

Using Analytics to Fine-tune Processes

Intelligent communications - Teams enables your business to consolidate all its communications in a single ecosystem that creates immersive experiences for your team and work more efficiently. With integrated voice, video, chat, and email you can drive employee engagement and productivity. It's easier to retain workers, because they have tools that enable a great work life experience and they can spend time delivering work, not troubleshooting IT.

Businesses value the ability to scale Teams easily. And IT teams benefit with a simpler platform to manage that's automatically updated, has fewer integrations, and is less costly to operate. In addition, they can consolidate vendors and licensing agreements and use analytics to improve processes.

Microsoft Teams Is Growing By Solving Enterprise Challenges

Microsoft Teams has a world of potential applications. So it may seem surprising that we offer a word of caution. While Teams can do all the things we've shared, it should not be deployed without proper planning. The reason is that Teams is so adoptable that it will grow like wildfire, leading to unmanaged IT, site overlap, and potentially, project failures.

Deploy Teams for High-Value Use Cases First

You'll likely want to set up Teams sites for high-value functions like marketing, sales, finance, engineering, operations and project management, HR, and customer service to name a few. These functions require close collaboration but are typically process-intensive. Enabling teams for one of more of these groups enables you to gain visibility into Teams capabilities and governance, before extending your deployment.

Intellinet offers a Microsoft Teams Accelerator service to help you adopt Teams swiftly, while ensuring its success. With this service, we'll:

  • Cast Your Vision - Hold a whiteboarding session to learn your business and technology needs and help you articulate your digital collaboration session. We'll help you develop a strategy and roadmap for Teams to gain fast benefits while minimizing possible disruption.
  • Solve Key Challenges - Collaborate to identify and evaluate use cases provide maximal ROI, launch a pilot, learn and scale. While Teams will be easier to deploy if you're already running Office 365, we can help enterprises running older Microsoft services to deploy Teams strategically to empower key functions.
  • Plan for Repeatability - Develop repeatable Teams launches, with pre-defined automated processes, templates, and governance to empower internal functions but maintain controls, such as security, access controls, storage, resource allocations, site life, and archiving. Once this is set up, teams can automatically provision sites and start working.

In our next blog, we'll chart the path forward, which is creating and using AI-enabled bots and services to automate time-consuming tasks, such as customer queries, image recognition, and more.

Contact Intellinet to get started today with Microsoft Teams.

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