The Future of Collaboration: Working in a Hyper-connected World
The pace of business might arguably be said to evolve at near virtual quantum leaps. Most companies are a “hyper-connected” network of people and processes in different locations around the world, with work constantly happening. The 9-to-5 job is largely a relic of a bygone era, as employees tend to work throughout the day and much of the evening from the office, home, and on the road, further blurring the lines of what would be considered personal and business time.
This hyper-connectivity has also changed the nature of how work gets done:
- There are two times as many teams in companies compared to five years ago
- There’s a 50% increase in collaborative work in offices
- Workers that collaborate are 5 times more likely to be high-performing
Companies that want to succeed and remain competitive need to embrace this way of doing business, which includes having technology solutions that allow their employees to collaborate, regardless of day, time, location, or device. According to IDC research director Wayne Kurtzman, “Collaboration platforms embody the opportunity of digital disruption. They are people-powered, use new behavioral metrics and positively affect standard business KPIs. And that trend will continue.”
Companies often find themselves using a cafeteria-style method for selecting collaboration tools, not realizing the negative impact. Between the cost of multiple subscription fees, the security risk of shadow IT, and the frustration IT teams feel having to manage multiple systems, it is more practical (and makes greater business sense) to find a single, secure solution that includes all the tools teams need for open communication and collaboration.
Built for Collaboration
Microsoft Office 365 is a prime example of a platform that uses innovation and forward thinking to provide businesses with the technology tools they can use both today, and in the future. Office 365 has grown beyond just Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. From the original suite that included email and grew to include Lync, Microsoft has continued to add applications, tools, and technology to keep up with the collaboration needs of the modern workplace.
Lync was replaced with Skype for Business to provide a foundation for online meetings with audio conferencing, screen and application sharing, and video conferencing. OneDrive was created for easy and secure access to shared documents before, during, and after your meetings. And Yammer was added to connect people in meaningful discussions and move work along faster. Even SharePoint has evolved into a more user-friendly solution for collaboration and file sharing.
After several years of swift uptake by users, these tools have become an increasingly integral part of how we work. More meetings are online, large files need to be easily accessible, and project timelines and notes are better updated in real-time.
So, What’s New?
A recent addition to Office 365 is Teams, the hub for teamwork. Teams lets you build a collaborative environment dedicated to a project, campaign, or department, enabling the team to communicate in real-time, make fast decisions, and share content as a group.
Teams ensures that employees can have access to conversations, files, people, and apps in one workspace—ultimately spending less time searching and more time making decisions. Project conversations, files, and information are kept all in one location, making it a more organized way to keep projects moving forward. Employees can directly link to files, documents, and emails for instant discussions and co-authoring within the app. It’s also integrated with SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, and Power BI.
The Next Wave of Features
Microsoft is continually building in new features to keep up with evolving business needs. Group chat and video conferencing are some of the top trending new tools within the Teams platform today. Additional new features that are on the horizon include:
- cloud recording that provides automatic transcripts
- inline messaging translations, which helps global teams communicate more effectively
- mobile sharing in meetings, enabling the sharing of live videos, photos, and screens from mobile devices
Creating a Culture of Collaboration
Did you know companies and organizations that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to retain the best employees? Benjamin Franklin said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Ensuring employees have the training they need to effectively collaborate with new software is imperative for its adoption and success.
A good training program starts by understanding the current challenges your employees face when working together (and with clients), and then knowing which applications can solve these issues. While it may feel like a lot of work upfront, the long term results are well worth it.
Elite 5-Star Managed Services
The use of collaboration tools does more than just make life easier for employees. When properly used, collaboration tools allow businesses to act quickly and provide a seamless customer experience. With high customer expectations and fierce competition, businesses should take advantage of the applications that will give them a much-needed edge.
Navisite, a Microsoft Gold-Certified Partner, will collaborate with your IT team and help you successfully roll-out a Managed Office 365 solution. From implementation and training, to continued monitoring and secure management, our team of certified professionals will ensure your employees will get the most out of the latest collaboration tools.
Ready to increase collaboration with Office 365? Call one of our experts to learn how Navisite can help. 1.866.362.7871