By Scott Riley, Chief Strategy Officer at GCI.
Imagine getting your work done without looking at your email inbox. For me, that’s the real story underneath the announcements yesterday at Microsoft Ignite in Florida. So many of us were looking out for the message of “is Teams going to kill off Skype?!” (the answer to which is “no”!) that we may have missed the headline.
Microsoft introduced us to their new Unified Communications Vision and its pretty exciting stuff. But the thing I saw is a workplace where people aren’t using email and their inbox as a crutch to support their productivity. One where people are no longer hunting around for documents, instead documents are ‘surfaced’ to you in context to the conversation you’re having thanks to the power of the Microsoft Graph. It’s a more communicative workspace where engage with each other through chat, voice and video; not just fire and respond to emails all day. A workplace where you’re not hunting through various different apps, folders, inboxes or conversation streams to find the data you’re looking for; instead you just have one application and it becomes the hub of everything you need to achieve for the day. No inbox, no folders, integration with non-Microsoft apps and no feature loss whether you choose to use a Mac or a PC.
How many times have you been on a Skype conference call to talk about a document which needs completing? You have the meeting, everyone talks about the document, you assign actions and owners; at the end of the call the document is emailed around and hopefully by the end of the day you have multiple copies sat in your inbox ready to compile. It’s pretty frustrating. If you’re hosting a Teams meeting and there’s a document which everyone needs to contribute to, all attendees can edit the document simultaneously. You can actually have an online meeting which completes the activity required during the call. The document is automatically saved back into the workspace hub and everyone can see it immediately.
It’s a great vision but let’s be fair, we’re 100% hooked on email; in 2017 we sent over 132 Billion business related emails every day, so things aren’t going to change overnight. But we’re being offered a different way of working here, one where the power of the Microsoft Cloud is easing some of those productivity killers: “Which app? Where did I put that file? How do I get access to that system again?”
Teams is a great step on the road to a unified collaboration workspace and a world where we can finally escape the Inbox but you need to be all in on Microsoft 365 for this to work and we’re going to need all these pink fleshy human things to catch up with the technology and choose to adopt a different way of working.
Scott Riley is Chief Strategy Officer at GCI
Scott is an IT services professional with strong expertise in the mid-market service provider industry, leading technical teams to success across the UK in a number of areas. Working closely with GCI’s Pre-Sales, Project Management, Technical and Service Delivery teams, he ensures business processes and cost models are well aligned to a solution roadmap. As a champion for Cloud and Hosting services, Scott directs the design of innovative solutions to meet the challenges of GCIs valued customers and supports the successful integration of new acquisitions into the group.