Digital services are pivotal to business – there's no room for debate and this has been known for some time. From massive corporations to sole traders, phasing out old ways of working for new systems is part and parcel of adapting your venture to the demands of the modern era. This may involve simply swapping an older smartphone for a newer one, or leveraging a significant investment in a software solution to help workers stay better connected with one another. But the pace of change has been remarkable.
In the wake of COVID-19, 77% of businesses were forced to re-examine the employee experience, according to research by Avaya published in November 2020. This is an important piece of context, as it led to significant growth in the collaboration software market, with revenues climbing sharply by 11% between 2019 and 2020 from $11.01 billion to $12.26 billion. This trend continued into 2021, with revenues rising by 9% to $13.39 billion, according to data from Statista. By contrast, year-on-year revenue increases between 2019 and 2020 in comparable categories such as administrative or creative software collapsed.
Growth in the collaboration software market is expected to slow down in the coming years. This reflects the fact many businesses, by now, have already made significant investments in tools like Microsoft Teams and its array of productivity services. But does that mean they're making the most of these investments?
Connecting with colleagues and customers
Now the dust has settled and hybrid work patterns have begun to solidify, organizations are finding the various technologies they've bought into may not be as connected as they can be. The result is massive untapped potential, especially when it comes to integrating Microsoft's services with the wider technology stack. There is, after all, lots of scope to better connect existing systems with one another without necessarily needing to make fresh rounds of investments – which is where BT could step in to help.
Ensuring your organization has the right infrastructure in place doesn't just involve patching together the various networks and tools to run applications, but it's also about learning how to make all these components work in harmony. Much like an ensemble orchestra, the various components need to be in tune and in sync in order for your business to really be in a position to enjoy the music.
BT's 20-year partnership with Microsoft has gone from strength to strength, especially as the need to deliver joined-up collaboration and communication software became a key priority following the Covid-19 pandemic. Microsoft Teams Voice, for example, powers high-quality calling between Teams users in the workplace, with BT able to build a unique solution using Direct Routing, Operator Connect or a combination of the two systems.
Dealing with customers, too, can be tricky – especially for colleagues who may not adhere to the conventional desk or office-based functions. There are segments of the workforce in need of a strategy for technology-based communications that may have been somewhat forgotten in the drive to invest in systems to support a new wave of hybrid and remote working practices.
Delivery drivers, for example, could well do with systems like Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile, which lets them transform their own smartphone or tablet (or perhaps another device) into a business endpoint securely. This means, if they need to call customers they're delivering to, they're more likely to pick up the phone, it won't be an unrecognized number. BT is the first Microsoft partner capable of delivering such a service for customers in the UK, allowing them to make and receive external calls to both landlines and smartphones.
Priming your digital infrastructure for the future
When a business makes a serious investment, it pays to investigate how to make the most of that commitment. Building a coherent strategy for the future also demands that all known possibilities and configurations have been explored, as well as whether there may be any crucial tools or features missing from the current set-up.
While things may be ticking over fine, there is likely more that can be done to connect digital services in the best possible way. To explore this possibility, BT and Microsoft experts have produced a free webinar to guide businesses through the process. Hosted by technology journalist and presenter David McClelland, 'Evolve your digital services, starting with Microsoft' will be a fantastic opportunity to hear how best to empower staff, maintain control by doubling down on security, and reconfigure systems as and when needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The webinar will also feature unique insight from BT's principal innovation partner Nicola Millard, director of digital work Andrew Small, as well as Microsoft's modern work lead Gareth Bleasdale.
Although many businesses have made serious investments in collaboration software like Microsoft Teams, they may not be primed to tap into the full potential that such technologies can offer. Together, these four experts will walk businesses through the need-to-knows when it comes to giving their workforce and your customers the best tools to communicate and collaborate now and in the future.
To learn more about how you can prepare for the digital future, click here to register now for the upcoming webinar 'Evolve your digital services, starting with Microsoft'.
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