The Drivers Behind the Workplace Technology Revolution

In the last 18 months to 2 years there has been a rapid change taking place globally in businesses. This change is affecting multiple business functions and is being driven by the desire for employees to be able to communicate and collaborate from anywhere at any time, more easily and reliably.

Where just a few years ago, email, phones and video conferencing were adequate for businesses to conduct their day to day activities, mixed with office-based workers who would hold regular meetings in one of a handful of meeting rooms. Today, persistent chat, file sharing, live annotation, whiteboarding, apps, bots and AI are all seen to play an ever increasingly important role to being able to accomplish daily tasks. What’s more, it is expected that all of these things are found in just a single service or application.

In our first blog in this series we discussed the battle of the workstream Microsoft vs Cisco. If you missed it, you can click the link. We also have a whitepaper Microsoft Teams vs Cisco Webex Teams available for download. Use the second link if you want to find out more.

But, back to the question in hand. What are the drivers for the change in collaboration requirements? How have Microsoft and Cisco reacted to the change in the market, or are they responsible for driving it?

A number of very specific requirements have been identified by line of business managers and IT leaders. This has meant that when they are making strategic decisions about their collaboration services and applications they need to consider a number of key factors.

These include having the ability to:

Enhance face-to-face meeting activities with document and content sharing

Collaborate better on projects and increase productivity through online meetings, private chat and calling capability

Stay up-to-date on project milestones and new initiatives

Stay connected at the office, or while on the go

Increase employee engagement and team cohesiveness through the use of video

Scale training to participants in multiple locations

Save time and cost by minimising business travel

Eliminate geographical barriers for internal communications

Specific use cases - such as marketing webinars, and HR interviewing candidates

These factors are being driven by the requirement to get to market quicker, and by the change in demands from employees in the way they work. Being contactable anywhere, 24/7 is seemingly a choice that employees are making, to fit with a flexible working lifestyle that allows people to fit in more family time, hobbies or exercise. Being able to connect to a meeting from a tablet or smartphone and edit documents in real-time, or find important conversations within teams you are working alongside, wherever, whenever is achievable through modern collaboration applications.

So where do Microsoft and Cisco fit into the bigger picture?

They certainly were not first to market with an application that seemingly addressed the market requirements; that falls to Slack. However, Microsoft and Cisco were both quick to see the demand and launched their own solutions.

Cisco and Microsoft have long been competitors in the enterprise collaboration space, first in instant messaging and later in telephony and meeting platforms.

2015: Cisco introduced the Spark team collaboration app, promoting its ability to integrate Cisco’s voice and video offerings and enable customers to use an integrated platform for all their real-time communications needs. 

Early 2017: Microsoft responded by launching Teams within Office 365.

Autumn of 2017: Microsoft declared Teams would replace Skype for Business as its primary communications app. 

April 2018: Cisco rebrands Spark to Webex Teams to deliver further integration with its Webex Meetings service.

Now with options available it comes down to choice for the customer. Which is better? Which will suit the users needs? Could you have both Cisco and Microsoft? Does one offer something the other doesn’t? Should you go for something else completely?

Our whitepaper Enterprise Team Collaboration – The Battle of the Titans, Cisco Webex vs Microsoft Teams addresses many of those questions for you. You can read it by following the link.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to have a conversation with someone at Videocall about your strategy, and other companies we have supported through the same journey then contact us today on +44 (0)1276 706 706, email or use the contact form by following the link.