In April, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reported that Teams usage had increased by 70 per cent to more than 75 million daily active users during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a clear indication of the rush to adapt, with Microsoft’s free six-month offer undoubtedly fuelling this growth.
But what next? When the free trial comes to an end in August, will companies go back to their previous way of working? We don’t think so. In fact, we expect a further uptick as businesses on other free solutions reassess their long-term needs.
It’s clear that different ways of working will be the new norm for many companies.
As McKinsey & Company indicate in its The future is not what is used to be report: “Many businesses have learned how to operate remotely…finding better, simpler, less expensive, and faster ways to operate.” It says that within the most forward-thinking companies there could be “a burst of innovation and productivity”.
So, what does that tell us about the way businesses may reorganise and the technology they will need to achieve this?
Teams has already proved itself to be the platform of choice for many companies with a new dispersed workforce. Looking across the wider Office and Microsoft 365 landscape, MyAnalytics and Power BI can improve productivity and business decision-making. The list goes on.
Securely connect all remote workers to their company’s infrastructure with a virtual private network, and you have a robust solution for business continuity.
Then there’s the question of voice, which our customers have been asking for alongside Teams well before the word “coronavirus” became part of our everyday vocabulary.
With our Teams Voice solution, businesses can now combine Microsoft Teams with all the capabilities of our full Hosted Voice platform, operated in partnership with BT. Read more about our successful roll-outs at Penlon and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.
Our work with these companies has proved to us why training and design is so important for initial adoption, roll-out and growth of any communications platform, especially in response to Covid-19. With the right approach, widespread adoption can almost double.
The months ahead are unpredictable for everyone, but Gartner predicts that cloud-based telephony, messaging and conferencing will see spend grow by 8.9 per cent and 24.3 per cent respectively.
However the numbers play out, one thing is certain: the future of work is not what it used to be. But with the right technology and a new mindset in place, businesses could make changes that are good for their employees, good for their competitive edge, and good for the bottom line.
Danny Masters is the network and communications director at Claranet
This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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