As remote working has become a business necessity over the last 9 months, many organisations have been forced to adopt communications and collaboration tools at an unprecedented pace. Microsoft Teams has been at the forefront of this adoption, with Microsoft responding quickly to ensure they understand the cultural changes that organisations are going through, and addressing the pain-points that arise - whether it’s prosaic changes such as ensuring the Teams cloud infrastructure can cope with the increased demand, to practical necessities such as increasing the number of video participants that can be displayed on a call, to subtle-but-powerful features such as Together Mode, which aims to break down some of the psychological barriers of online communication.
COVID-19 will eventually become a distant memory, but many organisations will continue to encourage a culture of remote working due to benefits such as employee wellbeing through a better work-life balance, and reduced office costs. Microsoft will undoubtedly continue to innovate and provide solutions to challenges that arise as organisations attempt to optimise their remote-working practices.
However - organisations, like people, are individual. Many face similar challenges, but will also have challenges that are unique to themselves. These can range from cultural (these are the people that work together), to operational (this is how we get work done), to technical (these are the tools we use). As fast as Microsoft innovate and enhance Teams, it’s just not possible for them (or anyone!) to create a single product that addresses every organisation’s collaboration and communication needs.
To help address this, Microsoft provide developer tools for their products that allow them to be tailored to the way organisations work. They have historically been very good at enabling partners and customers to do this, and the story is very much the same with Teams, which has a number of tools that allow applications to be integrated, and communication and collaboration features to be included in organisational workflows.
The possibilities that this opens up really are endless, so in the coming days and weeks I’m planning a series of articles that focus on the various toolsets, exploring the types of solutions that are enabled, and deep-diving into the tech. Like Microsoft, I can’t hope to outline every possibility, but I’m hoping to spark some ideas within organisations around how they could potentially optimise their remote working practices, and offer advice on how to go about it. These things always work best as conversations, so please reach out on twitter, or fire an email to [email protected] with any thoughts!