The Future of Microsoft Teams

2 December 2020

It was recently announced that Microsoft Teams had reached an incredible 115 million daily active users (DAU). It won’t surprise you to hear that much of this growth has come from organisations adopting Teams as the perfect solution for remote and hybrid working during the pandemic.

New working practices

As soon as we entered the first lockdown in March, we saw a rapid shift across the world to remote working with many employees stuck at home. Video conferencing became the obvious, immediate and, to be the honest, only solution to the logistical challenges we were all facing.

Now, with a number of successful vaccines on the horizon, Microsoft Teams still has an important, ongoing role to play as many organisations look to establish new durable and hybrid models for work and education. This shift is likely to continue for the next 10 years, even when Covid is long behind us.

Rising expectations

As the technology continues to improve and our expectations continue to rise, most businesses are looking for a collaboration experience that goes well beyond just video conferencing and chat.

Forward-thinking organisations are already using Teams to manage their overall flow of work. After all, people don’t just use Teams for a video meeting and then sign off. They’re starting to spend more and more time on the platform. It’s a place to exchange ideas and share information throughout the working day.

The only limiting factor with Microsoft Teams is that it is currently unable to meet all the voice needs of global businesses. If this has proved a problem with your organisation, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Resonate voice product successfully overcomes these issues.

Introducing Voice for Teams

Resonate’s Voice for Teams gives you internal and external voice capability within the Teams environment. So, if you are using Teams for Chat, VoIP Calls and Meetings but you need to call a landline or mobile then that can be seamlessly achieved with the help of our product. Among other things, it can turn Teams into an all-singing, all-dancing contact centre solution.

In collaboration with best-of-breed partnerships, Resonate have developed this cloud-based solution as a secure, compliant and manageable service that can be quickly and easily deployed.

With Voice for Teams, you can record, monitor and store interactions to mitigate risk, protect data and limit liability. All business interactions are managed on a user-friendly web interface that is accessible wherever you happen to be, any time you like.

In terms of specific benefits for contact centres, Voice for Teams provides insight into your centre’s performance, protects your quality standards, boosts your training initiatives and helps develop agent performance.

Better still, by enabling you to get the most out of your investment in Teams, it can either complement your existing phone system or provide you with the perfect opportunity to upgrade and eliminate your existing phone system so that you can reduce costs.

Teams in action

Resonate’s Voice for Teams is helping to add to the mix of inspiring stories that emerged during the COVID-19 global crisis. The 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou in China, for example, used Teams to enable staff in the quarantined section to communicate with staff outside this zone to enhance patient care and ensure the health and safety of a workforce under extreme pressure.

Resourceful groups all over the world are finding interesting new ways of using video to connect. Imaginative leaders are creating virtual town halls to connect employees on a large-scale basis, and this is another area where Resonate’s Voice for Teams adds value.

While Microsoft Business Voice is restricted to a maximum of 300 users and is only available in the UK, US and Canada, Resonate’s Voice for Teams comes with no user limits and can be used right the way across the globe.

Recording Teams meetings

There’s also been a sharp increase in the number of people recording Teams meetings, and when you consider some of the ways people are now using the platform, it’s easy to understand why.

This function is proving particularly useful for business managers who record meetings so that they can be viewed later by non-attendees.

Teachers, too, can easily record lessons, which can be viewed again and again by different students in their own time. In fact, many colleges and universities have been moving tutorials, classes and lectures online to enable remote learning. Durham University, for example, scaled up its use of Microsoft Teams to make it possible for academics, lecturers and students to collaborate remotely and securely on the device that works best for each individual student and member of staff.

The only drawback that came from so many businesses rushing headlong into the use of Microsoft Teams to meet their immediate needs is that they simply didn’t have time to ‘read the instructions’ properly. Even though they might have been using Microsoft Teams for some time now, many organisations are still not taking advantage of its full potential.

Change and adoption services

Resonate can help with that too. We offer a full range of change and adoption services that advise you on the best way to set Teams up across your business, giving you as much or as little support as you want.

Our two Accelerator Packs - ‘Getting started with Teams’ and ‘Embedding Teams into the Business’ - are designed to enable small and medium-sized businesses to quickly realise the full benefits of the platform.

Our wealth of experience in enabling businesses to full adopt Teams to help drive efficiency and manage workload migration will ensure you achieve the best possible ROI from the platform. It should also provide you with all the encouragement you need to retire legacy systems like Skype for Business Online and embrace new cutting-edge solutions like Teams.

What next?

So, what lies ahead for the business community? As we try to predict to how things might settle down when the pandemic is behind us, the first clues are already beginning to emerge from China. Despite most employees having returned to work, there are still more than twice the number of new Teams users in China continues to grow week-on-week.

But we believe the changes will extend further than just increased usage. People are beginning to discover a new connection through video on Teams which is likely to change the way many of us will communicate going forward.

The power of video

Researcher, Dr Kerr, found that eye contact and physical connection between humans increases dopamine and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Her work revealed that you can even physically calm someone down simply by looking them in the eye. This is powerful stuff and could well explain why video is being used in Teams meetings twice more often now than it was before we were faced with the lockdown.

New collaboration metric

We talked about Teams reaching 115 million daily active users at the beginning of this blog, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. We also need a measurement that shows the many varied ways that people are using this platform to collaborate in the new hybrid work environments.

That’s why Microsoft 365 are introducing a ‘daily collaboration minutes’ (DCM) metric. This is the total number of minutes people are spending in apps like Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, SharePoint and OneDrive.

This quarter, together across the globe, we generated over 30 billion collaboration minutes in a single day. That really does highlight how, with Teams as a hub, Microsoft 365 is bringing the power of the cloud to us all, providing the perfect integrated platform for the future.

Working life, it seems, will never be the same again.

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