In our last blog, we shared how Microsoft Teams is helping enterprises empower high-value functions such as marketing, engineering, and finance with a single platform for digital communication and collaboration. Since many enterprises already use Office 365 and struggle with a proliferation of tools, it’s no surprise that they’re adopting Teams en masse.
In fact, Microsoft Teams has become the fastest-growing business app in Microsoft history, with more than 329,000 organizations worldwide using the platform, including 87 of the Fortune 500. Its growth is so explosive that 41% of all organizations expect to use it by 2020.
The strength of Teams is not only that it streamlines common communication and collaboration tasks, but also that it empowers users with automated provisioning. Instead of waiting hours or days for IT to set up collaboration sites, authorized functions and end-users can do it themselves. With these capabilities, it’s easy for everyone to adopt more agile processes.
But what comes next is even more exciting. Teams provides a familiar and common interface to easily access and consume the power of Microsoft’s Cognitive Services. These services include image and facial recognition that companies can use to develop AI-driven tools – and end users can drive this process themselves because they are so simple to use.
Previously, when companies wanted to develop cognitive services, they would develop them from scratch: developing a business vision, getting approval and a budget, and engaging with the IT team to write code. This process might take months – or even longer, making it difficult to innovate quickly.
Now end users can consume these services directly and modify them very simply, increasing speed to market and solving real business challenges faster.
So what are some other potential applications for cognitive services in Teams? Let’s take a closer look:
- Healthcare – Currently, patients ring buzzers, summoning nurses for tasks ranging from healthcare to low-level personal needs, such as getting a blanket or changing a TV channel. Healthcare organizations could provide patients with a tool with an integrated chatbot that asks, “How can I help you?”, automatically routing tasks to appropriate staff, such as housekeeping, maintenance, and nurses. Patients get better services and nurses can finally focus (and be rated) on true service delivery.
- Insurance – Many insurers want their claims process to be more customer-centric. Teams bots help their customers get standard answers to questions, such as how long it takes to get claims processed. Companies benefit by triaging and addressing the most complex claims first.
- Food or consumer packaged goods – Companies can evaluate social sentiment and feedback on new products, learning what’s a hit and what isn’t. With predictive analytics and machine learning, innovation can get faster and more focused.
- External communications – Leaders operating in challenging industries, such as those that are highly regulated or have contentious communications (even politics!) can use Teams and AI-driven sentiment analysis to make instant changes to presentations or speeches to connect more with listeners.
- Manufacturing – Global manufacturers run regional operations with multi-lingual staff. They want to ensure safety for all and meet common industry standards. Staff can use Teams and image recognition to review simple safety photos that show how to handle equipment safely – and what behaviors put them at risk.
These examples show the enormous range of applications for Microsoft Teams and cognitive services – today. Now just imagine what you could do for your business in the next six to 12 months, as your teams get more conversant with AI, your applications get more robust, and your launch cycles accelerate. Simultaneously, Microsoft will be evolving the Teams platform with agile releases every two weeks that incorporate user feedback. It’s easy to see how companies that adopt now will be able to create formidable competitive advantage in the years to come.
If you’re interested in Teams and run a process-intensive business, there really is no time to waste. We can help you get started with our Microsoft Teams Accelerator.
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.
Microsoft Teams will obviously be easier to deploy if your organization is already running Windows 10 and using Office 365 ProPlus. If you are among the many enterprises running older technology, never fear. There will be a heavier lift upfront, but you will reap significant value by leaping ahead with digital collaboration and communication capabilities.