4 Ways Collaboration in Microsoft Teams Generates Competitive Advantage

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Microsoft_Teams_logoIn an increasingly competitive business environment, it’s become absolutely vital to adopt modern tools and strategies in order to stay ahead of the game. Collaborative hubs, like Microsoft’s Teams, give businesses a distinct advantage due to their ability to boost productivity, enhance communication, and foster innovation. The defining features of modern collaboration tools, including mobility and ease of knowledge sharing, result in measurable benefits. Here are 4 reasons why organizations that embrace modern tools like Teams gain a competitive edge.

1. Increased Mobility Leads to Substantial Productivity Gains

The ability to securely access information from anywhere at any time is one of the key benefits of cloud-based collaboration tools. Increased mobility of work-related documents and information translates into more productive hours, as mobility empowers remote work, results in less absenteeism, and reduces downtime during business travel. When armed with the proper collaborative tools, remote workers are no less productive than on-site employees. In fact, a 2017 Gallup report found that the highest rate of engagement among workers occurs when employees spend between 60% and 80% of their workweek — or three to four days — working off-site.[1] Teams makes this all possible  – employees can remain engaged and collaborate with ease whether they’re sitting in cubicles right across from one another, in offices thousands of miles apart, or in their own homes.

Collaboration tools like Teams give global organizations a clear advantage because they allow employees to hand off work at the end of their day to others starting their day in another time zone. When these serial development or support chains are linked together, business functions can run more smoothly over 24 hours and render a complex product or solution in fewer days. Ultimately, all of the productivity gains that result from increased workplace mobility lead to faster service delivery times and product development cycles.

2. Organizations can Acquire the Best Talent Regardless of Location

A company’s greatest asset is its employees. High-performing, passionate, creative and intelligent employees are critical to business success. Traditionally, recruiting teams were limited by geography to a particular talent pool, cut off from ideal candidates outside those boundaries and subject to saturation within them. Luckily, this restrictive traditional model is being challenged by modern communication solutions. Teams provides employees the ability to work remotely and interact effectively within their network. Forward-thinking businesses and organizations that adopt the latest collaborative tools have access to a larger talent pool which gives them a distinct advantage over competitors. As a result of advancement in collaboration capabilities, 40% more US employers are offering remote work options today than five years ago.[2] This has led to an astounding 115% jump in the number of regular work-at-home employees since 2005, and we see this as only the beginning.[3] As collaborative tools become increasingly sophisticated, more and more employees will work virtually leading to the added benefit of cost-savings on office space and other related expenses.

3. More Effective Communication Leads to Less Workplace Failure

Eighty-six percent of employees cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as a leading contributor to workplace failure.[4] Poor collaboration often results in lost time and money, lack of transparency, low productivity, and high employee turnover – all of which are crippling to a company’s success. Collaborative tools don’t only make workplace communication easier, but they also enhance it. Teams has the ability to empower businesses because it goes beyond just facilitating communication – it also helps to create a culture that revolves around collaboration. According to a survey conducted by staffing agency Robert Half, improved communication was cited by 38% of HR managers as the most effective way to counter low employee morale.[5] Employees who feel connected, heard, and inspired are naturally more productive than employees who frequently encounter failures related to miscommunication. Ultimately, the improved communication that goes along with the use of collaborative tools like Teams results in employees who are more engaged. Organizations with higher employee engagement levels experience 21% more productivity, 22% more profitability, and 22% higher-than-average shareholder returns.[6]

4. Enhanced Collaboration Leads to More Efficient Relationships with Partners, Suppliers and First-Line Workers

Collaborative tools also help to nurture and enhance relationships with some of the most important people outside of the organization and on the frontline. Microsoft Teams has features that allow workers to invite external users, bring them into Teams meetings and chats, and collaborate on documents. These networks of people collectively contribute to the success of a company, so it’s important to ensure all parties are on the same page and can collaborate effectively. Ineffective external collaboration can have far-reaching consequences. For example, one study found that 43% of suppliers don’t feel fully empowered to collaborate with their partners and, as a result, 57% of the suppliers surveyed said they don’t feel encouraged to innovate or make suggestions for improvement for the customers that they supply.[7]

Tools like Microsoft Teams also help to empower first-line workers and aid them in solving problems faster. With Microsoft Remote Assist, frontline workers in need of assistance can use Teams to make video calls and share images with remote experts in a heads-up and hands-free environment. With modern collaboration tools in place, problems can be solved more efficiently, the pace of innovation can be increased, and product iteration cycles can be reduced.

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Collaborative Tools Have Transformed – and Continue to Transform – the Way We Work

The importance of tools that offer increasingly powerful means of collaboration cannot be overstated. Adopting collaborative tools in the workplace, such as Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, is no longer a mere option when it comes to staying competitive. In the past, a wait-and-see approach may have worked, but today, with society and culture shifting so rapidly, and information being processed so quickly, businesses and organizations that are slow to modernize get left behind.

[1] https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/206180/engaged-remote-workforce.aspx?g_source=link_newsv9&g_campaign=item_206033&g_medium=copy
[2] http://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/telecommuting-statistics
[3] https://go.forrester.com/blogs/remote-working-benefits/
[4] https://fierceinc.com/employees-cite-lack-of-collaboration-for-workplace-failures
[5] http://rh-us.mediaroom.com/2013-10-22-Survey-Human-Resources-Managers-Cite-Lack-of-Communication-as-Main-Source-of-Low-Employee-Morale
[6] https://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/~/media/Files/documents/executive-development/powering-your-bottom-line.pdf
[7] http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1397989O/supplier-survey-whitepaper.pdf

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Blog post by:
Jason Price | Practice Lead, Change Management and Organizational Effectiveness

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