Collaboration has long been the hallmark of innovation and led to many great inventions including the most important invention of the 20th century – Transistor, which paved the way for miniaturization of complex circuits and was the harbinger of the information age. Collaboration is exigent in an age where the innovation iteration cycles are waning and where the bottom line is hinged to the next cutting edge product or service a company can produce. Open innovation paradigm is being embraced by many companies to stay relevant in the digital economy and withstand the digital disruption and the ability to collaborate externally plays a significant role in devising a market differentiator. Effective business collaboration also provides tangential benefits such as higher employee engagement and growing into a learning organization.
Technology has eliminated the difficulties of collaborating in a global organization with geographically dispersed teams and mobile capabilities have liberated the users from their desk and office premises. Companies have relied on email alone for a long time and few have adopted real time communications technologies such as instant messaging and conferencing, but these technologies are inadequate for supporting digital natives joining the workforce and modern collaboration needs. To satisfy the collaboration demands of today, we need a collaboration solution that offers the choice of tool pertinent to the situation and audience, that accommodates both digital migrants and natives, enables external collaboration, and integrates with other platforms. Microsoft Office 365 Groups is that solution; it is a cross-application collaboration solution for people who want a place to share discussions, files, calendars, and notes in a unified and intuitive manner.
Office 365 Groups offers choice and flexibility; conversations can occur either in Outlook, Yammer, Teams, or Skype. Plurality of the tools is crucial to truly empower users and let users decide which tool is right for them, while ensuring the organization has ability to impose security, compliance, and administration controls. Groups provide the rich integrated Office 365 features and Microsoft Graph framework across entire set; instead of just a chat interface that mimics the social media and texting. Case and point – Microsoft Teams which is built upon Groups, a persistent chat interface which is seamlessly integrated into every app of Microsoft Office 365. This integration is what sets apart Microsoft solution, couple examples – the WhoBot surfaces data such as subject matter expert can be quickly found; share real-time compelling data visualization through Power BI. The universal set of tools provide granular controls that meet enterprise requirements, security, and industry compliance through the numerous certifications; groups can include internal or external users, support extensibility, and integration with wide app ecosystem such as Zendesk, Trello, SAP. There are native or third-party migration paths from distribution lists, public folders, files, PSTs, and shared mailboxes, which is imperative as majority of the companies are not greenfield deployments.
It has already been tried and proven that one-size-fits-all and siloed solutions such as email or knowledge management systems did not work. When users do not have options then the tool is either used beyond its intended purpose or forces the users to look for unsanctioned options; which ultimately hinders collaboration and business productivity. On other hand providing a collaboration tool that is drastically different and caters to only digital natives with jumble of social media features without enterprise capabilities will not suffice. Balance is the key; the collaboration tool set must still support existing methods that have been entrenched into every imaginable process and introduce modern collaboration technologies that are akin to consumer solutions. There is strong evidence from consumer services that we have come to expect the products and services to anticipate our preferences and interests to drive the experience and with the pervasive use of these services; these expectations are bleeding into work as well. Providing choice ensures that organizations and their users can select, migrate, adopt, and reap the benefits of tools that support their unique needs. Technology can provide the ammunition to harness the power of personalization and yield collaborative process through ideation, feedback, iteration, and approval.
Reach out to New Signature if you want to empower your users with Office 365 Groups and unleash the innovation within your organization through the power of modern collaboration.