In today’s blog, we explore why intelligent communications applications are critical for long-term organizational growth and stability.
Organizations require the intersection of many different components in order to thrive, but effective communication may be the most important factor in achieving successful results. Products can’t get built, employees can’t be hired, and sales deals can’t be closed unless different stakeholders can communicate within a system that supports a collaborative, integrated experience.
Employees and their external stakeholders need solutions that can deliver messages reliably, in context, and with the inclusion of the participants needed to make decisions. Especially in environments that move fast and demand the involvement of stakeholders from many different locations, the right communications platform to enable teamwork and collaboration among co-workers is a critical business investment.
It is built on the premise that today’s users are tech-savvy, but don’t want to add any complexity to how they communicate. What they do want, however, is the ability to seamlessly collaborate and connect from any location, at any time, on any device, and be able to embed data and assets that provide context and color to their conversations. A communications solution has to give them more than just teleconferencing and mobile capabilities; it has to provide functionality that enables co-workers and other stakeholders to optimize the time they spend together and operate with existing applications and tools in an integrated environment.
Last year, Microsoft launched Teams as part of Office 365. Teams is an enterprise solution that moves beyond unified communications and into a new way of meeting and connecting that integrates data and functionality as organizational and individual needs change. The driving idea behind it is that communication and collaboration capabilities are built directly into applications so users can share information and include more people in an always-on environment. Microsoft is helping users shift from the old style of constantly moving around to different apps, to a new chat-style format that reduces communication and information overload and creates a more personable and actionable experience.
The offerings from Microsoft Teams are a perfect example of how an integrated communications platform needs to work. The various components are integrated and there is an integration roadmap that enables other applications to take advantage of these capabilities.
Specifically, Teams provides these tools to help organizations improve their ability to work:
Chat: Speed is critical in today’s work environment, and chat has proven to be among the most effective ways to combine speed with inclusion. Text-based messaging among relevant participants saves time and reduces complexities around decision-making.
Calling and phone systems: Increasingly, communication happens among and between teams of employees, rather than just 1:1. Multiple people need to be involved, and organizations require a phone system that can handle the needs of many users who are often geographically distributed.
Online meetings: Tools like Skype for Business have changed everything, and Microsoft is very attuned to the advantages of online meetings. While creating more efficient meeting forums, online meeting technology enabled by intelligent communications is also a way to reduce travel costs and give meeting participants access to necessary data and tools during meeting times.
Device ubiquity: Teams delivers meeting, communication, and collaboration services on laptops, smartphones, and other devices because people no longer want to be tied to a physical office.
Customizability: Users can customize their individual experiences and make Teams work for their specific needs.
Integration with other Microsoft apps: Teams users have built-in access to Office 365 applications and functionality, and across other Microsoft enterprise capabilities.
Organizational structures are less rigid and teams work in an agile format to provide rapid innovation and responses to issues. Information has to travel faster, and there’s more information to be shared. There’s the effect on productivity, but there’s also the issue of employee happiness and the ability to hire the best people. Among the advantages delivered by intelligent communications is the impact on internal legacy knowledge. By enabling a broader reach for communications, more people can benefit from the knowledge and data that’s held within the domains of different teams and individuals.
Intelligent communications solutions address the changes happening in the modern workplace, which is one that encourages more collaboration. While this creates a more supportive work environment, it’s also becoming a critical need for businesses. A Unum Study² indicates that more than 65% of employees think workshops and discussions among all team members, and across different teams, has a positive effect on stress levels. Additionally, more employees demand flexibility with working remotely; 43% of U.S. employees³ indicate that they work remotely at least part of the time. Companies also benefit with the ability to hire without the need to adhere to a specific geography. It delivers a broader candidate pool and means they can have exposure to a larger, more qualified set of candidates.
The impact of using intelligent communications is felt across every aspect of the business because it’s systemic and addresses the very foundation of the business. It addresses these fundamental issues:
Productivity: Employees and other stakeholders can be more productive with more communication vehicles at their disposal. Team chats and topic-specific chats, easy-to-manage conference calling, video conferencing, historical logs of communication activities, and other types of functionality provided by Microsoft Teams all emphasize getting work done with better information so it can be accomplished faster. Providing pre-meeting relevant data and resources enables conference calls to be more focused and actionable. At the same time, because so much information transpires in the course of meetings, the ability to reference it post-meeting gives users the opportunity to build a larger set of data they can put to use while pursuing team-specific goals.
Teamwork: Microsoft Teams was built specifically to encourage more efficient human interaction. This is no small feat, as there has never been a broader set of different work styles among today’s workers. Employees are able to use chat, calling, and conference functionality to keep each other in the know, solicit feedback and generate momentum as a team works towards achieving goals.
Decision-making: Microsoft Teams is about access — access to people, data, and conversations. With this access, employees can reduce time spent looking for information and can dedicate that to making informed decisions. They are able to link directly to files, emails, documents, and historical records of previous conversations in order to be better equipped to move forward with decisions and business activities. There is a very distinct connection between the decision making that comes from intelligent communications and the impact on business outcomes; successful adoption of intelligent communications tools results in a 19.2% increase4 in operating revenue.
Collaboration and communication in the workplace can be complex and layered, and as companies continue to grow globally and embrace different work styles. Technology can deliver innovative solutions to address these issues, but they must first take into account the needs of actual people and the realities of how they collaborate. Intelligent communications platforms like Microsoft Teams continues to look for ways to address real needs within organizations so they can tap into the organization’s collective energy, intelligence, and desire to deliver successful results
Interested in learning more about how to implement or optimize current Intelligent Communications tools at your organization? Click on the button below to learn more. Or, reach out to us here and we’ll put you in touch with one of our solutions experts.