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How can Microsoft Teams help you navigate the new normal

In recent months, the shift to remote and hybrid work has catalyzed organisations of all sizes, and across every industry, to rethink how their people and teams communicate and collaborate. Many organisations are now navigating a new COVID-19 response phase, moving on from remote everything to a more sustainable, hybrid workplace, blending remote work and physical offices. They are investing in long-term resilience and strengthening their organisational agility, while proactively managing cost and risk of current economic uncertainty.

When it comes to communications, there is a broad spectrum of needs that are required to connect employees from the worksite to the main office to the home office across locations and time zones. The spectrum starts with the most basic 1:1 meetings and calls with colleagues, to larger group meetings, all the way to large events and conferences. During the crisis response to the pandemic, many organisations transformed rapidly in group meetings first, as evidenced by Microsoft Teams reaching 200 million participants in a single day. Organisations looking to create more sustained transformation are seeing that Teams serves communications needs well beyond group meetings, taking communications to the next level with broad-scale company-wide events. At the other end of the spectrum, Teams modernises 1:1 calling with a cloud-based phone system in the same Teams app that keeps you in the communications flow.

This month Microsoft Teams has announced some exciting new offerings and capabilities across all ends of the communications spectrum.

Scale with professionalism and control with Advanced Communications

Communication systems across the world are evolving to support customers changing needs.  As our customers are mastering using Teams for group meetings, they want to increase their reach, and use the same familiar tool to deliver online meetings and events at a much broader scale. Naturally, this scale requires both structure and admin control, to achieve a more professional, seamless, compliant experience. Today, we are excited to announce a new Advanced Communications set of capabilities to support these needs:

  • Scale your Teams meeting up to 20,000 participants. Reach larger audiences to stay connected with your employees, customers, and partners. When building this capability, we were focused on your meeting experience, making sure that even as the meeting scales it is still easy to manage and listen to the speakers.  Therefore, we limited the size of interactive meetings to 1,000 participants, with a seamless shift to a view only mode after the limit is met.
  • Enhanced admin control. Use new capabilities and insert more structure to meetings, by adding your company’s branding to meetings for a professional look and feel. Start out with branded meeting lobby, launching in the coming months, and extend your branding to the core meeting experience coming later. Connect with business applications to manage at scale and automate workflows. Work with Teams certified solution partners and help your organisation address business needs by setting up compliance recording policy or bringing in collaboration to your customer engagement workflows.

Each of these new capabilities will be enabled with the new Advanced Communications plan, which can be added to any Microsoft 365 or Office 365 paid subscription, and is available this week.

Give employees 1:1 connections with Teams Calling

Connecting 1:1 with colleagues, customers and partners are important, especially when meeting face-to-face can be challenging.  Employees in your organisation can easily call each other from Teams without a phone number. For your employees who use phone numbers to make and receive calls with customers, partners, and vendors, those numbers need to be with them, wherever they are. With Teams Calling, a cloud-based phone system, employees can continue to do this whether they are in the office, working from home, or some combination of the two.

When using Teams, you are getting best-in-class calling capabilities validated by Teams leader position in both the Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave reports. With all your communication tools in one place, Teams Calling makes it easy to call anyone, anywhere with any device. And, you can also move seamlessly between chat, calling, and meetings based on your needs. This saves IT time, reduces costs associated with multiple point solutions, and diminishes the need for employee training. Teams Calling is a secure, robust solution that is being used by both large call centres and individuals alike. It can be deployed quickly using your existing calling plan or a Microsoft calling plan in select markets.

As communication is being reimagined, so are the tools that we use to communicate. Instead of a desk phone and other peripherals, we’e taking a fresh perspective on what a phone could be with our newest device innovation, Microsoft Teams displays. This is a dedicated Teams device featuring an ambient touch screen, high-quality calling and video, and a hands-free experience powered by Cortana.

Not currently using Microsoft Teams, or want to understand how Teams could be used better across your organisation. Get in touch, we’d be happy to help

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