It goes without saying that 2020 has been the most chaotic year of our lifetime, and changes we have experienced this year are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future—if not indefinitely. The way that we collaborate with each other at work, the way our children are educated at school, and even how we spend our personal time with clubs, family, and church have changed.
For many of these, the only way “things got done” were to meet in-person, or maybe host conference calls and share documents via email for remote users. However, with many businesses implementing remote/work-from-home protocols to help contain the spread of COVID-19, more efficient collaboration and productivity solutions were needed. This is why the global use of platforms like Microsoft Teams has grown exponentially this year, but this blog isn’t about how to best use Microsoft Teams in your organization, social club, or even in your personal life. This blog is about what we do to help ensure Microsoft Teams users have the experience that they want and 24x7 service that they expect.
This blog is about how Managed Services for Microsoft Teams can be a game changer for your organization or group.
I know, I know, “managed services” can sometimes be about as exciting as doing your taxes while getting a root canal—but if overlooked, it could mean the difference between your teams’ ability to be productive and your teams being completely down, or at least not being as efficient and effective at their jobs as they could be. Microsoft Teams is a chat, meetings, and collaboration platform hosted by Microsoft in Microsoft’s cloud. To many, this creates a false sense of security that Microsoft Teams will always be available.
While Microsoft’s uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA) for Microsoft Teams is 99.9%, this only applies to the infrastructure and services that they host, not every part of the solution that is required for your users to actually connect to and consume the service. The local networks your users connect to, the direct routing and/or PSTN carriers used to provide inbound and outbound dialing through Microsoft Teams, and the phones or other devices used to connect with Microsoft Teams to use the platform all fall outside of the Microsoft SLA and support agreement and are the responsibility of the Microsoft Teams customer to provide. However, partnering with a service provider that offers Managed Services for Microsoft Teams can help you mitigate these risks and minimize (if not eliminate) end-user downtime and poor user experience.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the areas outside of the hosted Microsoft Teams cloud that a Managed Services partner can help you maintain.
When employees were first sent to work from home, organizations scrambled to provide work-from-home software, devices, and infrastructure. As we transition to a new normal, it’s now important to reevaluate the initial infrastructure laid to support remote workers against a lasting, best-practice architecture. In the last entry, I shared the first three pillars for a thriving remote workforce. Let’s now explore the final three pillars.Read More
Operating a remote workforce is no longer just a remote possibility. A work-from-home war is being quietly waged across many organizations throughout the country, as workers who were forced to quickly establish home office environments now wish to remain in their home rather than return to commuting to an office. This tipping point has deep and wide ramifications for organizations attempting to return to pre-COVID-19 productivity levels.Read More
Zoom: Perception vs. Reality
We have undoubtedly all heard the many reports questioning the security readiness of Zoom as of late. Are there impactful vulnerabilities, and is Zoom safe? We have even seen negative fallout due to some of the reported concerns. For example, the New York City school system has banned the use of Zoom as a direct result of the perceived security flaws within the Zoom platform. The problem is, much of what we are hearing is more about perception than reality, and the challenge is to sift through the facts versus fiction.Read More
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to compel people to work from home, countless companies are now holding daily meetings using web, audio, and video conferencing services from a variety of well-known providers. Though not the sole focus of our attention here, one that has received a significant amount of press is Zoom.Read More
One of my best friends turned 40 a few of weeks ago. He lives in Colorado, I live in Illinois, and both of our states have been under shelter-in-place orders for a while now. Going to see him was not an option. The bigger problem, however, was that our local friends were not going to be able to join him, either. Instead, his wife put together a surprise Zoom meeting, and we all joined together in singing “Happy Birthday” and sharing a few minutes of conversation and well-wishes, along with the now-customary, “Stay safe.”Read More
Historically, I’ve worked in an office setting where I grew familiar interacting with people and co-workers face-to-face. Having spent the bulk of my adult life working in offices and among other people, I grew accustomed to the luxury of dropping in on co-workers, chatting at the coffee machine, and walking down the hall to ask a co-worker a quick question. The casual drop-ins became the norm for me and my co-workers, and it was a critical part of how we worked together and created a strong and positive work culture.Read More
Gone are the days when the IT department was relegated to the bottom floor of an office to perform tasks that few in the organization understood. IT professionals today are the innovators, troubleshooters, cybersecurity watchdogs, data masters, and business process experts of the organization. The role of IT has become more critical and complex even as budgets have become compressed.Read More
The stakes are high in engineering. You are tasked with driving innovation, but designs must also perform flawlessly in the real world. Collaboration is critical to the process. You must communicate design specifications, work across teams to identify and resolve potential failures, and test your design – all before you can begin product development. Further, you must do it all efficiently and cost effectively.Read More
Flexibility has become an integral part of Human Resources, or Human Capital Management (HCM). You must have flexible recruiting and hiring strategies that embrace traditional W2 employees and on-demand workers, while also offering flexible work options to attract and retain top talent. Flexibility also extends to your role, as the changing landscape requires HR or HCM professionals to adapt their methodologies and strategies to the modern workforce. Below are a few ways to improve flexibility through video collaboration.Read More