Stop Collaborate and Listen - Microsoft Teams in and out of a Pandemic

Rob Evanson, Professional Services Manager | Date: July 1, 2020

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With the entire world seemingly in lock down, businesses have reached out to Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) to help with enabling their infrastructure with current technology to allow staff to continue their day to day as much as they can from home. 

With a whole host of options throwing their hat into the ring, many are just video and voice enabled conferencing solutions.  Businesses are however, screaming out for a more collaborative solution, and as lockdown eases, a solution that will allow the adopted product to become part of their fabric, regardless of the user’s geographic location…..this is where Microsoft Teams steps in.

microsoft teams collaboration tool

In The Beginning

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that when I started in IT, over 20 years ago, the “internet” connection was maintained by a screeching whistling box that dialled up on demand and was measured in kilobits per second rather than megabits. 3G and 4G wasn’t a thing and the closest you got to instant messaging was a SMS text. How far things have come in that time, and how advances in our communications networks have enabled many companies to maintain a certain level of “business as usual”.  I have no idea how we would have coped with a pandemic in the late 90’s early 00’s.

supported communications modem

Global Pandemic

With the COVID-19 outbreak impacting companies across the globe, we’ve all experienced a world of remote everything. Overnight, the outbreak forced organisations large and small to shut their doors and navigate a whiplash digital transformation while working to keep employees safe, connect with customers, and move work forward. Businesses have quickly adopted to whatever solution has been available to them in a knee jerk reaction to the government lockdown. This has meant that the usual care, planning and thought around the decision making process, training, security and choosing the the right solution, has been lost in a hurry to keep the business running.

Some of these solutions have been accepted as a “make do” but at what cost?

Today, as some organisations begin to reopen and others remain fully remote, small and medium-sized businesses face a unique set of challenges. Businesses are starting to look back at their experience over the last 15 weeks, and ask questions of their current technology solutions.  At Concise we get it, and we are working hard to help enable your employees to stay connected and productive, through COVID-19 and beyond. This is where we introduce Microsoft Teams.

mobile desktop teams solution

 

The futures bright, the future’s…Teams.

Unlike many other standalone products on the marketplace, Microsoft Teams integrates seamlessly with your current Microsoft Office suite. In fact, if you are on Office 365, you have more than likely already got it , but are just not using it. Microsoft have reported it has 258 million paid seats for Office 365, which includes access to Microsoft Teams. As a product it also doesn’t discriminate business size either, meaning there isn’t a small, medium or large business plan, everyone gets the same (with some caveats around storage and usage quotas).

At its most basic install, Teams allows the use of instant messaging, voice and video chat, conferencing and document sharing either in a one to one basis or as a specific team of people. But looking closer under the hood, it is much more, and understanding its supported collaboration software and how that aligns with the business goals will allow companies to unlock its full potential. It seamlessly uses document storage like OneDrive to store and share documents, Planner to schedule and track tasks and SharePoint for content management. But it doesn’t end there, Microsoft understand businesses have already invested in other products and have enabled support (and continue to expand this list) to third parties like Trello, Survey Monkey, YouTube and GitHub.

Teams is constantly being developed and improved, not just by Microsoft, but by third parties who are learning to integrate their own products into the platform.

The next level is telephony integration, which Microsoft offer, but there are only two call plan options which frankly are not cost effective for the businesses we support. However, Concise are working with another cloud telephony provider to deliver standard calls to a desktop, tablet, smartphone logged into Teams, and our initial research and testing is promising.

telephony systems using teams

So what, now what?

Have you considered how your business will function post COVID? Concise can help with planning not just from a Teams perspective, but all areas of your remote working policy.

As Teams continues to grow and mature as a product, so does our knowledge. Concise have committed to invest time and resource in Microsoft Learning to ensure we stay up to date, not just Teams, but other products in the Microsoft service suite.

Engaging with Concise and Professional Services for consultancy, will allow us to understand your business and how Teams can work for you, your business and your staff.

If you’re wondering what everyone else is doing, here are some stats around Teams usage in May 2020.

In April, The Verge article, Microsoft Teams jumps 70 percent to 75 million daily active users wrote, 

“Microsoft said last month that Teams usage had grown to 44 million daily active users during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s now jumped another 70 percent. During an investor call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that Teams usage has increased to more than 75 million daily active users.

Nadella also provided a new statistic for Teams usage: Microsoft saw 200 million meeting participants in a single day this month.”

“Nadella also noted that two-thirds of Teams users are also interacting with or collaborating with files inside the app and that Microsoft has seen triple the amount of organizations integrating apps with Teams.”

Remote working has been inevitable for a company to survive and many businesses have been using Microsoft Teams to enable their users to continue to meet and collaborate with their colleagues, just as they would in the workplace.  

Statista, also in April, provided this chart of the daily active users of Microsoft Teams over the course of the pandemic. Teams was launched in March 2017 in Microsoft’s Office 365.

teams-daily-active-users-graph

 

Takeaways

 

Rob-EvansonRob Evanson is Professional Services Manager for Concise Technologies.

 

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