Get in Touch
Get in Touch


Growing pains: collaboration tools and the rise in remote working

July 7, 2020

David Spears   

Director – Microsoft Cloud Solutions, Tata Communications

It may surprise you to learn that Email, the most widely used communications tool, is now nearly five decades old. In this blog post, Tata Communications’ David Spears, Director – Microsoft Cloud Solutions, explores why new tools may now offer more effective ways for workforces to collaborate. 

Shockingly, email is still one of the most preferred methods of official communication. Although there have been several upgrades and enhancements over the years, today and much like most humans on the verge of their fifties, it’s  starting to show its age. 

With many legacy tools not designed to work collaboratively, plus a whole range of new, more flexible communication platforms that often expose some of email’s more outdated abilities, for many occasions, it’s no longer the best option for enterprise communication. So why do we still spend so much time dealing with the demands of our inboxes?

“For starters, not all employees are keen to embrace new technology, preferring to stick with what they know than attempting to learn their way around any new software or service.”

Ripping it up and starting again can be a daunting prospect, but with the right training, unified communications platforms now offer far more effective and enjoyable ways for workforces to collaborate. So how do you get people onboard?

Outlining the benefits and making the transition to a new platform as easy as possible are key to encouraging adoption. However, it is also situations such as the times we are in, that actually push us to the edge. Organisations across the globe had to innovate their IT systems and look at not only how new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and IoT can be built in but also collaboration tools to keep the workforce engaged. This increased even more as businesses began to transition to a work from home mode. In fact, in the week of 23rd March, Microsoft announced that it had 12 million new users on Teams, adding that those users generated over 900 million meetings and calling minutes. This spike, has also led to further innovation by Teams too, where Microsoft recently announced that Teams video calls will support up to 250 participants!

Hence, platforms that offer so much more than just discrete back-and-forth messaging is really the need of the hour.

“While sprawling email chains can quickly become unwieldy and difficult to follow, Teams, structured chat threads with multiple contributors offer far clearer discussions while still allowing participants to share files or converse privately one-on-one when necessary.” 

To make all this possible, and for organisations to take advantage of a variety of add-on services, they need a well-established and networked Managed Services Provider (MSP). Today, a wealth of businesses can directly integrate their collaboration technologies with Microsoft Teams only with the support from a MSP, making it easier than ever to adopt a personalised end-to-end managed solution that can cover a network of regional or worldwide offices – technologies that simply wouldn’t be possible with email.

Video calling with customised backgrounds, cloud-based audio recording and transcription, in-line message translation, and interactions with Microsoft’s Cortana AI assistant are all possible with Teams, while hardware such as Polycom Studio, a USB camera bar for group video chats in huddle rooms, and the Elara 60 Series, an on-desk solution with a dedicated Teams button for enhanced smartphone collaboration, have the capability to change the way people work forever.

“Switching to IP calling and conferencing, not only saves money, it also gives businesses access to AI-powered fraud prevention and real-time performance monitoring – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what will be possible in the future.”

Artificial intelligence solutions and machine learning will drive interactions with both staff and customers, providing a seamless experience across multiple hardware platforms and in numerous different environments, from your desk at work to the comfort of your home via an autonomous, fully connected vehicle.

This expansion of accessibility will necessitate an increase in privacy and security measures. Advances in biometrics, and more sophisticated methods that use context, actions and behaviour as extra factors in the authentication process, could enable access to your devices just through the way you walk with the phone in your pocket and how you pull it out.

While email will still have a part to play for the foreseeable future, that’s likely to shrink as new unified communications platforms show their flexibility and value. As people who grew up with social media start to make up a larger percentage of the workforce, tools that look and behave more like the apps they’re used to communicating with, will be more in-demand. And, with so many benefits on offer, it shouldn’t be too difficult to convince people that they’re the future.

With the rise of the remote workforce today, discover and uncover more about the world of Teams.