Is Microsoft the obvious solution to your collaboration

Collaboration has become a major strategical decision for companies of all sizes. The way we work is changing rapidly, and ensuring that employees have the ability to meet, communicate and work to the best of their abilities at all times is essential for the business. So, with employees connected anywhere and at any time, the requirement to hold virtual face-to-face meetings, share documents and annotate in real-time is now business critical.

But there are also now more choices than ever.

Execs and IT departments are now in a position where picking the right tools for collaboration has become more important than ever. As everyday users of technology, if we don’t like an application or service, we simply don’t use it and look for something else in its place. Ease of use, the right functionality, reliability and a good overall experience are essential aspects to get right. If one or more of these is not up to the expected level, it can be game over, and if adoption rates are not good on the technology, it can be harder to get ROI.

The obvious choice is to try and ‘play it safe’, pick a solution from one of the ‘leaders’ or multinational companies that have a large market share. They have the market share for a reason, right? Not just because everyone was simply thinking the same thing?

Microsoft have become the biggest player in the field of collaboration. Since buying Skype and combining it with Lync to create Skype for Business, their market share has risen at a phenomenal speed. And, for a lot of companies Microsoft is the obvious choice. Over 90% of businesses are running Microsoft Office, and therefore already have access to Skype for Business. Plus, if you are a business taking a step into the cloud with Microsoft and Office 365, then you will also have access to Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is the latest release from Microsoft, that combines persistent chat, with team’s spaces where colleagues can collaborate. Launched in November 2016, Teams will become the replacement for Skype for Business as the two merge to create the ultimate video, voice and chat collaboration service. In fact, Teams has recently reached functional parity with Skype for Business Online.

But is it right for you? Is it the obvious strategic next step to take?

Microsoft Teams is still very young and as such there are still many questions to be answered. It is a cloud-based service with each team space being created within the Microsoft Azure cloud. This has so far caused issues with companies with investment in traditional or legacy room systems. Will they still work? How will they connect? What extra service will I need? How does this impact on performance, workflow and usability? Despite many claims, there are no solutions at present that can connect a traditional endpoint to a Teams meeting, so by switching right now, you could end up having multiple separate collaboration ecosystems that cannot work together, or a lot of redundant technology.

There of course is the option to replace all traditional equipment for Skype for Business which should also become Teams enabled. However, many companies have discovered that the Skype for Business audio and video quality is not to the same standard as their previous equipment, and not suitable for their business needs. Let us of course state that may people use Skype for Business for audio and video and find it perfectly satisfactory to their requirements.     

Using Microsoft Teams through Office 365 will require companies to move to the cloud. Whilst the cloud seems like old news, something that has been around for at least a decade, many companies have still not taken the step to move to the cloud, or simply cannot due to restrictions and regulations. These companies can deploy Skype for Business on-premises (of which there will be a new version released in 2018), but Microsoft are pushing to get companies to move to the cloud, so what will happen in the future.

The simple fact with any of the larger collaboration companies is that they have their own strategy, and they want to force every company down that path whether it suits them or not. Videocall work with companies to help them work to their own strategy and deliver a service that is the solution that they want and need. We provide advice and guidance, but only after we have listened and learned.

There is no obvious solution to any company’s collaboration strategy. In fact, with each passing year we see the strategy becoming more and more complicated as the demands of the users also increases. So, don’t just assume that the market leaders have the answer. Spend a little time talking to the real experts in the video conferencing and collaboration space.

Call us today on +44 (0)1276 706706, email us at information@videocall.co.uk or use the contact form on our website to send us a message and someone will be in touch. Spend 30 minutes with one of our collaboration experts and see the much bigger collaboration picture. 

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