A generational shift is gradually making its way across the corporate landscape. With it, new ways of working are fast becoming the norm. When it comes to workplace collaboration, the expectations of workers are changing to reflect the norms set by personal technology and platforms.
The challenge, according to Courtenay Snell, co-founder and head of technology at Vocus partner GenNet, is that modern workplaces need tools and platforms that work well for everybody, not just one subcategory or demographic of workers. Such platforms need to work as well for those with limited digital literacy as they do for digital natives.
“We're having to accommodate the people who are potentially technology laggards as well as people who have been born with technology, also people who began working pre-internet, and also people who have been born straight into an internet era where they never had anything that hasn't been turned off,” said Snell during the "Driving Value within the Microsoft Modern Workplace" round table event, hosted by GenNet in association with Vocus.
“And the aspect of collaboration is so vastly different to how they all expect to use technology for day-to-day business practices, so that really creates a melting pot,” Snell added.
It is a perfect storm for new collaboration tools.
Which tools to choose?
For Snell and the team at GenNet, the collaboration tool of choice has become Microsoft Teams. Indeed, Teams is a focus area within which GenNet, which became an exclusive Vocus partner in mid-2019, has been able to drive value for end customers.
How? According to Snell, understanding that the introduction of Teams will not necessarily deliver the same experience for everyone who uses it.
“Look at [Microsoft] Outlook, everyone looks at Outlook the same way, your folder structure might be different, but by and large, it's the same interface for everyone,” Snell said. “Similarly to SharePoint, if you have the same access as everyone else, you're going to see the same thing day in day out. Similarly with Skype Business in the Microsoft stack.
“[However], Teams starts to change that paradigm around. It's customisable, based upon the people, team or work group you're operating in. You can communicate with people how you choose, you can send the telephone call, you can send the VoIP call, you can send the chat...it gives you that flexibility of choice, plus also you can add yourself into groups.
“It's not just a one-size-fits-all design, there's a customisable element that I think adds to some of the tapestry of what Teams brings across to a modern workplace and certainly collaboration stack,” he added.
This customisable element means that, although it can be quick and easy to effect a basic Teams deployment, it is important to understand the full functionality available and set the platform up in the best way for the end customer’s particular requirements.
The ease of a basic Teams deployment can also result in longer term issues for end users if it is not introduced strategically, according to Snell.
“Teams is so easy to turn on, it is so easy to enable, it’s so easy to give it to people that they start using it, and then they say, 'what am I using it for? I can do everything I used to do in another way,’” Snell said. “So, you get this massive adoption pick up followed by these huge adoption drop offs, with people after the first week or two or three weeks realising they don't actually know how to use it.
“So there needs to be a structured approach in how you turn on some of those products and services,” he added.
Read more on the next page...