The Teams & Zoom Coexistence Conundrum (And How to Solve It)
A lot of companies have recently adopted Zoom as a quick and easy collaboration platform to support remote workers and hybrid working. But a significant proportion of these are Office 365 users, and either use on-premise meeting spaces designed for Microsoft Teams (MTRs), or are planning to migrate to Teams when the pandemic restrictions subside and it’s safe to return to the office.
Zoom and Teams each boast different features and strengths as well as some drawbacks, but they share a common issue for users, namely a lack of interoperability with standards-based systems without additional services such as CVI and Room Connector.
The Interop Issue
Let’s look at a simple example. A remote working member of staff sets up a meeting using either Zoom or Teams. They will attend this meeting on their laptop. They invite colleagues on the same platform, and some key partners or clients who may be using different platforms. One of the attendees will be attending the meeting from their office, using a room equipped with standards-based endpoints. The meeting starts and this key attendee finds they cannot connect because their room equipment is not Zoom or Teams compatible. Cue frustration and embarrassment for the meeting organiser. If the person struggling to connect is an important client or investor, how will this affect the relationship or desired outcome?
Both Zoom and Microsoft have solutions for this issue. Zoom have a product called ‘Zoom Conference Room Connector’ that allows standards-based rooms to connect to Zoom meetings. Teams relies on a Microsoft qualified third party solution called Cloud Video Interop, or CVI.
Each is designed to give users a platform-native meeting experience and allow users using a standards-based room system to join the meeting.
The Pitfalls of Coexistence
So lets go back and look at one of the opening scenarios, enterprises that were either already using Teams, or plan to migrate to Teams in the future but for now are using Zoom. The IT budget is already supporting two services, and now has to potentially support a third or even fourth service with CVI or Room Connector, just to enable attendees in standards-based rooms to attend meetings.
And even with all this, further issues arise. Neither solution addresses the problem of how to connect to an meeting from a third party on a different platform.
Often overlooked is the fact that users familiar with one workflow or another may be forced onto an unfamiliar platform. This can start to breed a lack of adoption, disrupt productivity and even lead to shadow IT as users turn back to services, they are familiar with or find easier to use.
Then there is the issue of supporting this collaboration environment. Few IT departments have onsite collaboration, AV or videoconferencing specialists. So when something goes wrong, its up to the service desk to identify the issue, which isn’t always quick or straightforward and then chase different hardware suppliers, AV installers and platform support to find a solution. Most of these will pass the blame over to another. All too quickly the downtime can start impacting other business operations.
Solving the Puzzle
Firstly, there are services available that can equip enterprises using Zoom, Teams, both or any other platform to be fully interoperable with external systems and protect the users familiar workflows.
To decide which is the right solution for your organisation’s unique circumstances, it is important to partner with a single solution provider who can appraise your unique circumstances and challenges.
They need to be more than just an AV installation specialist, they should have the expertise and experience to take the time to understand your user’s requirements, your technical requirements and the organisation’s wider business objectives.
They should be vendor agnostic with no vested interest to push one platform or solution over another, but who are only focused on helping you to solve your challenges. Perhaps you have invested in meeting rooms that will not be Zoom or Teams compatible, but do not want to have to re-fit these entirely at this point. Again, there are solutions that will enable you to continue using these legacy endpoints and protect your investment.
And last, but certainly not least, they must be able to fully support your entire collaboration environment with a full range of SLA, support, monitoring and reporting options to give you a single point of contact to identify faults, and can provide remote assistance or same day engineer callout if required.
Luckily, we happen to know of one such solutions provider..
If your organisation is experiencing any of the challenges we’ve covered, come and have a chat with us now.